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Korea Open 2014 - Day 3: Han Li Beats Yamaguchi in Thriller

Prospective future stars of Women’s Singles badminton faced off today, lighting up the Victor Korea Open 2014 in an explosive second-round contest.

China’s Han Li (BWF home page) emerged victorious after a bruising, 74-minute battle versus Japanese qualifier, Akane Yamaguchi. The match swung like a pendulum, with Han taking the first game, Yamaguchi climbing out of a hole (9-15) in the second, and Han keeping her composure despite a late resurgence from her opponent to finally close it out 21-17 19-21 23-21. The most electric phase of the match was in the final stages, when Yamaguchi closed out deficits of 11-18 and 14-20 to hold match point, but Han scrambled through in the end to earn a quarter-final against BWF World champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand.

Second seed Intanon survived a three-game encounter against Spain’s Carolina Marin, 21-16 13-21 21-15. Other seeds, including Wang Shixian (China, 1), Wang Yihan (China, 3) and defending champion Sung Ji Hyun (Korea, 4) progressed with a measure of ease. Two-time champion Wang Shixian, who dropped a game but finished strongly against Korean qualifier Lee Jang Mi (18-21 21-14 21-10), will have an opportunity to avenge her thrilling loss to Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying at the BWF World Superseries Finals in December. Tai had escaped three match points in the semi-final to prevent Wang from making her fourth straight final.

Another past champion, Wang Yihan, strode into the quarter-finals decimating her Korean opponent Ko Eun Byul, 21-4 21-9; fifth seed Bae Yeon Ju of Korea (above) is up next.

In Women’s Doubles, the newly-paired seventh seeds Ma Jin/Tang Yuanting held off a feisty challenge from Indonesia’s Suci Rizky Andini/Tiara Rosalia Nuraidah. The Chinese were outwitted in the second game but had enough in reserve to prevail 21-17 11-21 21-13. Awaiting them in the quarter-finals will be yet another Indonesian pair, Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari. In the bottom half of the draw, second seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi of Japan (right) overcame initial trouble against Korea’s Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan, 24-22 21-14, and face Chinese twins Luo Ying/Luo Yu. The third Chinese pair left in the fray are fifth seeds Bao Yixin/Tang Jinhua; comfortable winners (21-15 21-13) over Savitree Amitrapai/Narissapat Lam (Thailand).

In Men’s Singles, China’s Du Pengyu will have an opportunity to better his 1-9 career record against top-seeded Malaysian Lee Chong Wei as they meet in the quarter-finals. Both cantered to easy wins. Other impressive performances came from French Open champion Jan O Jorgensen (Denmark), 21-19 21-18 over young Japanese Kazumasa Sakai, and fifth seed Kenichi Tago (Japan), 21-19 21-12 over Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov.

Du’s compatriot and second seed Chen Long was pushed to three games by Takuma Ueda. Chen Long dropped the first game but recovered to post a 19-21 21-9 21-14 result. Gao Huan is the other Chinese left in the last eight; Gao had no problems against compatriot Tian Houwei (21-17 21-11).

HIGHLIGHTS:

* In Men’s Doubles, Malaysia’s Lim Khim Wah/Goh V Shem notched up their best Superseries performance in close to a year, edging past eighth seeds Lee Sheng Mu/Tsai Chia Hsin (Chinese Taipei), 16-21 21-14 21-19. They will hope to surprise top seeds Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen, a pair they’ve never played.

* England’s Chris Adcock (left) had a satisfying day, posting victories in both his events. Adcock teamed up with his wife Gabrielle in an early match, taking just 33 minutes to breeze past Nipitphon Puangpuapech/Puttita Supajirakul (Thailand) 21-13 21-12 in Mixed Doubles. Adcock returned later in the day with Andrew Ellis; the two were taken the distance by Choi Sol Kyu/Kang Ji Wook (Korea), before they scraped through, 21-16 15-21 21-18. All England champions Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan await them in the quarter-finals.

* Quarter-finalists in Mixed Doubles included a pair each from Hong Kong and Germany. Chan Yun Lung/Tse Ying Suet survived a close first game against Kang Ji Wook/Choi Hye In (Korea), 26-24 21-11, while seventh seeds Michael Fuchs/Birgit Michels of Germany (below) had an easier time over Tarun Kona/Ashwini Ponnappa (India) 21-10 21-15.

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