(Photo: BWF / Badmintonphoto)
Marin overcomes all odds
Date: 12/16/2023 5:22 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Semifinals day of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2023 concluded with success for two of Europe’s most decorated players. 

The list of things Carolina Marin is yet to achieve in badminton is not a long one, however, winning the end of season finale is on there. The Spaniard faced a tough challenge in her semifinal today. An opponent who has defeated her the last five times they have played before this week and who had the home crowd behind her. The tight win in the group stage yesterday, made her believe she can overcome the odds. 

Chen Yu Fei felt the pressure when Marin got off to the better start, winning the opening game, however, the reigning Olympic champion found a way to force a decider. It seemed that this would be the point at which she would make her move, but it was Marin who struck. 

Tied a 6-6, Marin shot away to a 14-6 lead. This proved to be the killer blow, winning the match 21-17, 19-21, 21-13. 

Marin was in the 2020 final where she lost out to Tai Tzu Ying. The two will meet again after Tai pulled off a huge comeback from 19-10 down in the decider against the tournament favourite, An Se Young.

Four in-a-row for Axelsen
Viktor Axelson became the only man to feature in four consecutive finals and is now hunting a third victory on the bounce. The world number one had an interesting challenge in his Danish compatriot Anders Antonsen. 

The two have gone from playing each other daily, to becoming independent players, meeting only at competitions. Antonsen, having defeated him in that 2020 final, would have been eyeing up this opportunity to topple the man who admitted this week that he was not feeling 100 per cent. 

Despite this, and some long tactical exchanges, Axelsen was unmoveable, winning in straight games, 21-9, 21-14. 

Shi Yu Qi awaits in the final, the player who defeated Axelsen in his opening group stage match earlier this week. Axelsen will need to reverse that result to win again.

Other finals
Men’s doubles world champions, Kang Min Hyuk/ Seo Seung Jae, took down reigning champions Liu Yu Chen/ Ou Xuan Yi to set up a clash with China’s Liang Wei Keng/ Wang Chang after they defeated Indonesians, Fajar Alfian/ Muhammad Rian Ardianto. 

Home favourites Chen Qing Chen/ Jia Yi Fan did not disappoint and will feature in tomorrow’s final after a straight game win over teammates Liu Sheng Shu/ Tan Ning. They will face Korea’s Baek Ha Na/ Lee So Hee who came through a grueling two-hour match against Nami Matsuyama/ Chiharu Shida.

In the mixed doubles, the fans in Hangzhou were treated to another matchup between Zheng Si Wei/ Huang Ya Xiong and Seo Seung Jae/ Chae Yu Jung. It was the same high tempo spectacle and the same result, a win for Zheng/ Huang. 

An all-Chinese final was secured when Feng Yan Zhe/ Huang Dong Ping held on against a determined Yuta Watanabe/ Arisa Higashino.

Finals start at 2PM (local time) on Sunday 17 December.

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