Akane Yamaguchi
In-form Yamaguchi faces Intanon today Reuters

Fifth seed Ratchanok Intanon takes on seventh seed Akane Yamaguchi in the Women's singles semi-final of 2017 All England Championships at Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Saturday.

The former finalist was tested in the quarter-final match yesterday by reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin. Intanon battled hard to take the opening game 22-20 but slipped in the second 13-21. The fiercely-fought decider though went in favour of the Thai shuttler, who made a remarkable comeback, winning 10 straight points after being 11-18 down.

On the other hand, Yamaguchi had to save a match point to outclass China's Sun Yu in another hard-fought battle, that extended to an hour and 27 minutes.

Intanon has score to settle with the Japanese teenager, who has been the former's biggest hurdle in recent times. After having won three tiles on the trot (India, Malaysia and Singapore Open) last year, a lot was expected of the Thai shuttler at the Rio Games but she suffered a Round of 16 defeat to Yamaguchi and a first-round defeat at China Open against the same opponent.

Intanon has been title-less since her win in Singapore but she seems to have found her form back in the ongoing tournament. The hard-earned victory over the top-ranked Marin should have given the 22-year-old the necessary confidence to take on the in-form Yamaguchi, who has a 6-5 head-to-head advantage.

Yamaguchi is also fresh from last week's German Open success. Having won back-to-back titles in 2016 (Korea and Denmark Open) and consistently reaching the final stages in the recent past, the world number four will be a tough nut to crack and Intanon has to be at her best if she has to make the progress.

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