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Fanetri Does a Houdini – TOTAL BWF World Championships: Quarter-finals

Lindaweni Fanetri pulled off an extraordinary, back-from-the-dead performance to ensure a Women’s Singles medal for Indonesia at the TOTAL BWF World Championships today.

Fanetri appeared down and out at a game and 14-20 down to Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying in their Women’s Singles quarter-final, but conjured up a win that threw spectators into a tizzy. Tai controlled the match from the start, and with six match points, appeared to have sewn it up quickly. However, she had reckoned without the fighting abilities of Fanetri, who had fought so long and hard in her previous match against Ratchanok Intanon that the Thai had to be stretchered off with cramps.

With the Indonesian showing great resilience and refusing to let the shuttle hit the court, it was Tai who began to feel the pressure and let the occasion get to her. Once the second game was lost, Tai looked more and more forlorn; Fanetri continued to power on to clinch a 14-21 22-20 21-12 victory for Indonesia’s first Women’s Singles medal in over a decade.

“The key was to focus, because one mistake would have been enough to finish the match,” said an emotional Fanetri (BWF home page).

“Once I won the second game, my coaches told me that I have a chance; this is destiny. It was a matter of being brave on the court.”

Defending champion Carolina Marin (above) was authoritative in her quarter-final against China’s Wang Shixian. Showing no sign of a recent foot injury that threatened to derail her title defence, Marin was fast and sharp, keeping Wang constantly under pressure. The Chinese was rather erratic at crucial moments, helping the Spaniard progress with a 21-17 21-19 result.

Another player who might have shared Tai’s thoughts at not capitalising on opportunity would be Viktor Axelsen.

The Dane had his chances to take top seed Chen Long (left) into a third game of their Men’s Singles quarter-final, but failed to make it count. Axelsen matched the defending champion shot for shot; the second game was poised on the edge all through. From 13-all, the two weren’t separated by more than a point. Chen had four match points while Axelsen had six game points. Somewhat surprisingly, Axelsen chose to flick serve at the death; Chen smashed the last of these to make it 29-all and then used his only flick serve of the game to win the match 21-18 30-29.

“I was too tense to do the low serve,” Axelsen admitted. “Chen was standing up, so I felt a bit insecure.”

The defending champion will play Kento Momota, who continued to make history for his country as he became the first Men’s Singles Japanese player to win a medal at the World Championships. Momota was never threatened in his quarter-final by Hong Kong’s Nan Wei (21-6 21-14).

Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir (above) cruised past Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na 21-8 21-15 and will take on defending champions Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei (China), who were equally comfortable in dismantling the challenge of local hopefuls Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto, 21-13 21-14.

The second semi-final will be an all-China affair. Second seeds Xu Chen/Ma Jin held off a late challenge from Jacco Arends/Selena Piek (Netherlands), 21-9 21-18, and will face compatriots Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin, who received a walkover from England’s Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock.

In Women’s Doubles, Japan’s Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao (below) and Indonesia’s Nitya Krishinda Maheswari/Greysia Polii made the last four, beating India’s Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa and Malaysia’s Soong Fie Cho/Amelia Alicia Anscelly respectively.

Click here for the day's results.

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