China Masters: Young Chinese Make a Mark

World No.31 pair Chen Bo Yang and Liu Yi struck big on home turf, reaching their first Super 750 semifinal at the LI-NING China Masters 2023.

The Chinese duo, relative unknowns as they started playing the HSBC BWF World Tour only this year, edged out No.16 pair Pramudya Kusumawardana/Yeremia Rambitan 21-19 21-19 to set up an all-Chinese semifinal against Liang Wei Keng/Wang Chang.  Chen/Liu’s previous biggest achievement on the World Tour was a title win at the Orleans Masters (Super 300) in April.

The other semifinal will see Kumamoto Masters Japan champions He Ji Ting/Ren Xiang Yu take on Asian Games winners Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty

“After the Asian Games we haven’t played up to the mark, there were a few disappointments,” said Rankireddy.

“At the French Open we weren’t fit enough. For this tournament, we wanted to end the year on a good note. We wanted to go all-in. After this we have a vacation.”

”It’s always tough to play Indonesians,” added Shetty. “They’re born badminton players, they are really good with the racket. So the way we played tactically, that really worked for us.”

Three Japanese in Semis

Tsuneyama jokes about a lucky shot from Popov

After the upsets over the last few days, the quarterfinals followed the seedings. Upset-makers Lin Chun-Yi and Christo Popov in men’s singles and Nguyen Thuy Linh in women’s singles couldn’t make further headway.

Lin fell to home hope Zhao Jun Peng in three games in a battle of left-handers, while Popov fell in two well-contested games to Kanta Tsuneyama. Nguyen, who upset Carolina Marin in the first round, couldn’t offer much of a challenge to Kim Ga Eun, winner of the recent Korea Masters.

Popov said he was satisfied despite the loss.

“I’m very happy with my tournament. Today a bit disappointed because Tsuneyama played two solid games and I made some easy mistakes in the beginning of both games. He made it difficult for me physically, it was a big fight and he just was more solid than me today. It was the first time I’m playing him. I think he adapted better to the hall than me.”

Tsuneyama faces Kodai Naraoka in an all-Japanese semifinal, while their compatriot Kenta Nishimoto takes on Zhao Jun Peng. Naraoka, who had played a 110-minute quarterfinal on Thursday, showed no ill-effect of that long match and it was instead his opponent HS Prannoy who was more error-ridden in a straight-games defeat.


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