Photo credit: Badmintonthaitoday.com

The USD 1,500,000 in prize money at the season finals is impatiently waiting to be paid out to the players who are competing these days in Guangzhou. The group stage is over and we have reached the semifinals now.

The two men’s single semifinals are between Shi Yuqi (2) and Sameer Verma (14) in the first and Son Wan Ho (6) and Kento Momota (1) in the second. Shi Yuqi and Kento Momota must take on the roles as favorites but at this stage anything can happen.

It’s just under a month ago that Son Wan Ho equalized to 5-5 in the overall statistic against Kento Momota when he defeated the Japanese in Hong Kong Open. Shi Yuqi has a 2-1 lead against his Indian opponent.

The four semifinalists qualified from their respective groups with the following results:

Group A:
Shi Yuqi vs. Son Wan Ho 16-21 21-19 21-8
Shi Yuqi vs. Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 21-8 21-19
Shi Yuqi vs. Chou Tien Chen 21-17 21-19
Son Wan Ho vs. Chou Tien Chen 18-21 21-11 21-14
Son Wan Ho vs. Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 21-11 21-10

Group B:
Kento Momota vs. Sameer Verma 21-18 21-6
Kento Momota vs. Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-15 21-7
Kento Momota vs. Tommy Sugiarto 21-14 21-8
Sameer Verma vs. Tommy Sugiarto 21-16 21-7
Sameer Verma vs. Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-9 21-18

Japan sure to be in women’s single final

Japan is already sure to have a finalist in the women’s single category; one of the semifinals is between the two Japanese women’s singles in Guangzhou, Akane Yamaguchi (2) and Nozomi Okuhara (5). The two know each other very well, firstly from their national training and secondly from the 16 encounters between the two so far. Here it is Okuhara who is in the lead with 10-6.

The opponent in the final will be either Indian or Thai; Pusarla V. Sindhu (6) or Ratchanok Intanon (8). Sindhu has won the two latest encounters between her and Intanon but it is the Thai who is up 4-3 head-to-head. Both are looking strong this week so it looks like an open match.

The women’s single group matches turned out like this:

Group A:
Pusarla V. Sindhuvs. Akane Yamaguchi 24-22 21-15
Pusarla V. Sindhu vs. Tai Tzu Ying 14-21 21-16 21-18
Pusarla V. Sindhu vs. Beiwen Zhang 21-9 21-15
Akane Yamaguchi vs. Beiwen Zhang 21-10 21-10
Akane Yamaguchi vs. Tai Tzu Ying 21-17 12-11 (retired)

Group B:
Nozomi Okuhara vs. MichelleLi 21-18 23-21
Nozomi Okuhara vs. Ratchanok Intanon 14-21 21-11 21-14
Nozomi Okuhara vs. Chen Yufei 5-4 (retired)
Ratchanok Intanon vs. Chen Yufei 21-18 20-22 21-17
Ratchanok Intanon vs. Michelle Li 21-13 21-12

World number 1 out due to injury

The men’s double will see a new title holder as last year’s winners of the season finals (Superseries Finals), Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, had to pull out from the group stage due to injury. The results involving the Indonesians have been deleted from the group standing.

Instead the two semifinals will be battles with the World Champions Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen (2) against Chen Hung Ling and Wang Chi-Lin (4) in the first while the European Champions Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (7) are facing Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe (8) in the second.

The men’s double pairs qualified to the semifinals with these results:

Group A:
Li Junhui/LiuYuchen vs. Han Chengkai/Zhou Haodong 21-17 26-28 21-13
Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen vs. Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen 18-21 21-15 21-17
Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen vs. Han Chengkai/Zhou Haodong 21-17 21-19

Group B:
Hiroyuki Endo/YutaWatanabe vs. Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan 21-4 21-18
Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe vs. Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin 21-19 21-19
Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe vs. Liao Min Chun/Su Ching Heng 21-11 17-21 17-21
Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin vs. Liao Min Chun/Su Ching Heng 21-17 21-16
Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin vs. Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan 13-21 21-18 21-14

It smells like Japanese dominance – again

It is no secret that Japan has been dominating the women’s double category for a long time. The scenario seems to be quite the same in Guangzhou as both Japanese pairs at the World Tour Finals have reached the semifinals. Both semifinals are re-matches from the group stage as number one and two in both groups were paired with each other again in the semifinal draw.

The world number 2 and Olympic Champions, Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi, will have the whole arena against them as they face the local pair Du Yue and Li Yinhui (11). In the other semifinal we will see world number 3 and World Champions, Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara, against Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan (7). The Koreans have won all three previous encounters against the World Champions – all three times in straight games. Will the season finals be the place where Matsumoto and Nagahara get their first win over the two Koreans?

The women’s double pairs went through these matches to qualify for the semifinals:

Group A:
MisakiMatsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi vs. Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu 21-11 21-16
Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi vs. Du Yue/Li Yinhui 21-9 21-19
Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi vs. Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan 19-21 21-19 21-14
Du Yue/Li Yinhui vs. Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan 21-19 21-15
Du Yue/Li Yinhui vs. Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu 21-18 21-7

Group B:
Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara vs. Gabriela Stoeva/Stefani Stoeva 21-10 21-16
Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara vs. Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan 21-18 20-22 21-17
Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara vs. Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai 21-5 21-12
Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan vs. Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai 21-14 21-8
Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan vs. Gabriela Stoeva/Stefani Stoeva 21-14 14-21 21-9

Hosts rule the mixed category

Host nation China is on top of the mixed double ranking and seem to also be on top of the mixed double category at the World Tour Finals in Guangzhou. Both groups finished with Chinese pairs on top, and the semifinal draws made it so they can meet each other in the final.

The by far best mixed double pair this season, Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong (1), won their group fairly easily with three straight games wins. The average duration of their group matches was just 32 minutes. Number 2 on the world ranking, Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping, did just as their compatriots; won all three matches in straight games. Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping are facing Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino (3) in their semifinal while Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong are up against Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai (7). So yes, once again re-matches of the group matches.

The four mixed double pairs qualified to the semifinals with these results:

Group A:
Zheng Siwei/HuangYaqiong vs. Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith 21-16 21-17
Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong vs. Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai 21-16 21-12
Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong vs. Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai 21-19 21-8
Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai vs. Goh Soon Huat/Shevon JemieLai 21-19 21-10
Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai vs. Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith 21-16 21-19

Group B:
Wang Yilyu/HuangDongping vs. Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying 22-20 21-13
Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping vs. Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino 21-12 21-14
Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping vs. Hafiz Faizal/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja 21-16 21-13
Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino vs. Hafiz Faizal/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja 18-2121-16 18-21
Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino vs. Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying 21-9 21-18

Japan takes the lead

Japan has seven players or pairs in the semifinals making them the country, which is represented the most. China comes right after with five, while India, Korea and Thailand each have two. Chinese Taipei and Denmark conclude the semifinals with one pair each.

To get the full overview of the semifinals, which are played in just few hours from now (11:00 AM local time in Guangzhou), here you go:

Match 1: Akane Yamaguchi, JPN vs. Nozomi Okuhara, JPN
Match 2: Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino, JPN vs. Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping, CHN
Match 3: Pusarla V. Sindhu, IND vs. Ratchanok Intanon, THA
Match 4: Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong, CHN vs. Dechapol Puavaranukroh/SapsireeTaerattanachai
Match 5: Shi Yuqi, CHN vs. Sameer Verma, IND
Match 6: Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan, KOR vs. Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara, JPN
Match 7: Son Wan Ho, KOR vs. Kento Momota, JPN
Match 8: Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, DEN vs. Hiroyuki Endo/YutaWatanabe, JPN
Match 9: Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen, CHN vs. Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin, TPE
Match 10: Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi, JPN vs. Du Yue/Li Yinhui, CHN

You can follow livescore from the World Tour Finals right here

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