Crowd favourites Loh Kean Yew and Tai Tzu Ying mesmerised the Al Nasr Club audience with their extraordinary skills on their way to the finals of the KhiladiX.com Dubai 2023 Badminton Asia Championships here on Saturday.


While Kean Yew will play his first-ever Badminton Asia Championship final, Tzu Ying will be contesting for her third continental crown after the 2017 and 2018 titles in Wuhan, China.

The Singaporean seventh seed Loh Kean Yew relied on his jumping smashes to beat China’s Lu Guang Zu in straight games 21-19, 21-15 in the first men’s singles match of the day.


“Overall, it was a good game. He is an all-rounder; it was not easy to play him. But I would like to say that the atmosphere here is superb, amazing. Yes, (happy with the performance today). But I still need to focus on tomorrow’s match, said the 2021 world champion Kean Yew, who had started on a slow pace before raising in confidence in the second game. 


Later, Indonesian second seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting took just 37 minutes to get the better of Kanta Tsuneyama 21-13, 21-16, and book a summit clash with Loh Kean Yew.


“I am happy with the way I played today; I stayed calm and could execute my strategy. I am excited for tomorrow; it will be a tough game, but I am not thinking too much about it. I just want to focus on my game and strategy,” said Ginting, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallist.


“The most important thing was that I didn’t make mistakes today. I will go all out with confidence tomorrow,” added the 26-year-old from West Java, Indonesia.


Tai Tzu Ying vs. An Se Young


In yet another brilliant display of her skills and exceptional talent, Tai Tzu surprised the world no. 1 and last year’s runners-up Akane Yamaguchi 12-21, 21-16, 21-15 in one of the thrilling matches of the day. Tai Tzu Ying surprised Yamaguchi at times with her deceptive drops, even as the Japanese came out with her attacking best but that wasn’t enough.


“No special feeling yet. It was a good match. Though I think Akane (Yamaguchi) wasn’t at her best. I am looking ahead to the final tomorrow. It will be a tough match,” said Tzu Ying, the 28-year-old who has won the BWF World Tour Finals twice held in Dubai in 2014 and 2016.

Meanwhile, it was a heartbreak for Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei as she went down fighting to promising player An Se Young after winning the first game 21-16.


An Se Young was ready for all sorts of attacking tactics from Chen Yu Fei and made the third seed toil as she went on to win the next two games 21-11, 21-19.


“Absolutely happy to be in the finals. I just tried to stay focused and play offensive. But then I had to be ready with my defensive strategy to retrieve Chen Yu Fei’s smashes,” said Young, the All-England champion who had a 3-8 head-to-head record against Chen before this match.

It will be interesting to watch if Tai Tzu will be able to defeat the Korean An Se Young as her head-to-head record stands at 1-4.


Rankireddy-Shetty in Line to Make History


Later, the Indian promising duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty booked a spot in the final after their opponent Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin retired midway in the second game 21-18, 13-14.


The Indian sixth seeds, who have already made history by becoming the first doubles pair from the nation to win a medal at the prestigious event, will next meet Malaysian Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi. The Malaysians had overcome Japan’s Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi 21-16, 26-24 in the other men’s doubles encounter that captivated the attention of the roaring crowd.


“It's unfortunate. Not the way we wanted it to end,” said Rankireddy. “Nevertheless, we won the first game; we played well compared to the last two-three matches. We were there. We were not giving them any chances. “Our strategy was on point. Happy to play finals tomorrow in front of a huge crowd like we are playing in India.”


“It's always a close against the Malaysians. They are defenders and we are attackers. It's going to be a good game,” added Shetty on their final on Saturday.


Zhang/ Huang in Line to Defend Title


In mixed doubles, the defending champions and top-seeded pair of Zhang Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong cruised into the finals with a 21-11, 21-13 win over Malaysian eight seeds Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie.

The Chinese top seed will play their compatriots Jiang Zhen Bang and Wei Ya Xin, who triumphed in their semi-finals with a 21-17, 21-15 win over Indonesia's Dejan Ferdinansyah and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja.


Meanwhile, in women’s doubles, Korea's Baek Ha Na and Lee So Hee rallied to defeat the Japanese duo of Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara 16-21, 21-8, 21-13, in the fourth loss for Japan in the day.


In the final on Sunday, Ha Na and So Hee will meet another Japanese pair, the seventh seeds Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota who defeated Thailand's Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai 21-18, 21-15.


The KhiladiX.com Dubai 2023 Badminton Asia Championships, powered by Floxi and sponsored by Sobha Realty, are competed by around 300 shuttlers from 28 nations with the finals to be played on Sunday. 



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