A couple of unseeded players have taken the SKYCITY New Zealand Badminton Open by storm, winning through to the final and showing plenty of promise for the future.
Fifteen-year-old Akane Yamaguchi (Japan) and Xue Song, 18 from China upset higher ranked opponents in their respective women’s and men’s semifinals and in turn generated huge support at the US$50,000 tournament held at the North Shore Events Centre.
For Yamaguchi it is her first senior tournament outside of Japan and she proved that her inexperience counted for little as she won over the sixth seed Xue Yao (China) 21-16 14-21 21-18. She now faces the third seed Deng Xuan also from China in the final. Xuan had earlier defeated Korean, Hae Won Kang in just over an hour.
Meanwhile Song continued his good form of late having made the final of last week’s US$120,000 Australian Open. This week in New Zealand he has won through qualifying and beaten the seventh and third seeds along the way to the semis before defeating Dong Keun Lee from Korea 21-16 16-21 21-15 in a match which took one hour and 14 minutes.
Meanwhile the top seeds in the men’s doubles and winners of the Australian Open, Angga Pratama and Ryan Saputra (Indonesia) have won through to the final and look to have a tough task ahead of them as they take on a Chinese combination Junhui Li and Yuchen Liu who have also proved to be one of the finds of the tournament with their aggressive play.
In the mixed doubles, tops seeds and world No12 pair Riky Widianto and Puspita Dili took just over an hour to defeat the sixth seeded Koreans, Dae Eun Kim and So Young Kim in three games. They play the fifth seeded Indonesian pair Praveen Jordan and Vita Marissa to start the finals day.
The women’s doubles final features the top seeds and world No19 ranked team from Malaysia, Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Khe Wei Woon playing the Chinese pair of Dongni Ou and Yuanting Tang.