(Photo: BWF/ Badmintonphoto/ Tan En En
Pumped up Axelsen into final
Date: 11/18/2023 12:24 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
A vocal and animated Viktor Axelsen sets up his sixth World Tour final of the year at the Kumamoto Masters Japan 2023. 

The Japan Open and Tokyo Olympics champion has fond memories of playing in the country and is now one step away from another title, this time in Kumamoto City. 

While all eyes were on the former world number one, Kento Momota, on his comeback run earlier this week, Japan’s Takuma Obayashi silently made his way through qualifiers and into a semifinal following a surprise win over Anders Antonsen. 

Today, against another top Dane, it was mostly one-way traffic. Axelsen, who had to circumnavigate a couple of three-game matches in the week, was in control of this one. However, on several occasions he emphasised his celebrations and gave himself extra encouragement, perhaps making sure to get the job done in two games, as he did so 21-7, 21-13. 

Shi Yu Qi awaits in the final following his own two-game win, against Chou Tien Chen, 21-15, 21-16. The two met earlier in the year at the India Open, with Axelsen pulling away in the third game. 

So close for Watanabe/ Higashino
The crowd cheered on Yuta Watanabe/ Arisa Higashino as they managed to save a match point to then generate two of their own! However, they were unable to prevent an all-Chinese mixed doubles final. Feng Yan Zhe/ Huang Dong Ping held their nerve to win 18-21, 21-15, 24-22.

The all-action pair of Zheng Si Wei/ Huang Ya Qiong also saved a match point against world champions Seo Seung Jae/ Chae Yu Jung but found a way, 20-22, 23-21, 21-13.

Tunjung has her second chance at Super 500 title
Malaysia Masters finalist, Gregoria Mariska Tunjung, did the business in two straight games against Beiwen Zhang, 21-12, 21-13, giving herself another shot at winning a title at this level.

Her opponent will be Chen Yu Fei, who kept her composure to eventually pull away from An Se Young 21-18, 20-22, 21-8.

All-Chinese doubles finals
Liu Yu Chen/ Ou Xuan Yi came from a game and 18-13 down against Ong Yew Sin/ Teo Ee Yi to swing the match in their favour, 16-21, 22-20, 21-17. While He Ji Ting/ Ren Xiang Yu defeated Tan Qiang/ Zhou Hao Dong 21-13, 21-16.

In the women’s doubles, we have another all-Chinese final, with two defeated Japanese pairs today. Zhang Shu Xian/ Zheng Yu got the better of Rena Miyaura/ Ayako Sakuramoto, 21-12, 21-15. While Liu Sheng Shu/ Tan Ning took down the former two-time world champions, Mayu Matsumoto/ Wakana Nagahara, 21-16, 23-21. 

Finals start Sunday 19 November at 11AM (local time)

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