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Viktor Axelsen, An Se-young in last four of BWF World Tour Finals; Anthony Ginting out

HANGZHOU – With two wins after two matches, Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting was in the driver’s seat as he headed into the final day of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Finals’ group matches on Dec 15.

At the end of the day, however, the 2022 runner-up found himself bundled out of the US$2.5 million (S$3.3 million) season-ending tournament on a tiebreak after losing 16-21, 21-7, 21-13 to defending champion Viktor Axelsen.

Dane Axelsen, Ginting and China’s Shi Yuqi finished tied on two wins and a loss each in Group A. Shi topped the group with his games difference of +2.

Both Axelsen and Ginting had a game difference of +1, which meant Axelsen’s better point difference (+29) across the group matches sent him into the semi-finals at the expense of Ginting (-6).

World No. 1 Axelsen said: “I feel really happy. It was a really intense battle. I knew that I had to win. The pressure was huge.

“Having said that, Ginting also played a very good match. In the third game, we showed what kind of players we are.

“It was a great game. Unfortunately, there can’t be two winners, but today with the level, we both deserved to come out winners.”

Shi, who had lost to Ginting the previous day, had also been on the brink of elimination but rallied to beat Kodai Naraoka 18-21, 23-21, 21-13 to avoid an embarrassing early exit in front of the home fans at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium. 

No wonder one of the first things he did after the dramatic win was to pat himself on the back.

“First of all, congratulations to myself. It’s a difficult group and I’m glad I made it.

“I have learnt a lot after the two wins and one loss,” said the world No. 7, who was drawn to meet Indonesian Jonatan Christie in the semi-finals, while Axelsen will face his compatriot Anders Antonsen.

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Antonsen and Christie had also emerged from another three-way tie in Group B.

The Dane sealed a 21-16, 21-11 victory over world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn, while Christie lost 21-13, 21-18 to China’s Li Shifeng, who found himself eliminated on points difference.

In the women’s draw, world No. 1 An Se-young had to dig deep for a 21-17, 21-15 win over Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu-ying to top Group A and secure a spot in Dec 16’s semi-finals.

“It’s not an easy win today. I found my form and got fully prepared so I could get the victory,” said the 21-year-old South Korean, who was drawn to meet Tai again in the last four.

Tai, meanwhile, had to endure a nervy one-hour wait for confirmation of her semi-final spot.

Fourth-ranked Tai’s loss had meant that her last-four hopes were taken out of her hands.

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Kim Ga-eun could pip her on games won and clinch the other semi-final spot with victory over Gregoria Tunjung in the following match. The South Korean world No. 15, however, lost 21-14, 20-22, 21-17 to the seventh-ranked Indonesian.

In Group B, Chen Yufei, the 2020 Olympic champion and Hangzhou native, lost 25-23, 24-22 to 2016 Olympic winner Carolina Marin. Both players will meet each other again for a place in the final.

More On This Topic

South Korea’s An Se-young and Seo Seung-jae win big at badminton awards

‘Tired’ Axelsen celebrates first badminton title since September

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