The ongoing BWF World Tour Super 750 French Open has produced some high-quality badminton and many surprising results. On the penultimate day of the tournament, there were further surprises in the semis across divisions.
In the women's singles, 17-years old South Korean AN Se Young continued her incredible journey in the tournament by defeating second-seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan. What is even more impressive is the fact that she won the match in just two games and saw off a tense situation in the second game where extra points were needed for victory.
Coming on the back of her win over India's former World no. 1 Saina Nehwal in the quarter-finals, this performance is yet another proof of her massive talent. She now faces a red-hot Carolina Marin who followed up her hard-earned win over Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the quarters with a decimation of world no. 1 Tai Tzu Ying in the semi-final.
Tai earned an impressive win over World Champion Pusarla Venkata Sindhu in the last-8 stage but she had suffered from back pain and also looked highly error-prone through the match. The match between the Taiwanese wizard and the Olympic champion promised to be a thriller but was anything but. Marin won the contest 21-16, 21-9 in an anti-climax.
On the men's side, the title match on Sunday would be a delicious contest between the reigning Olympic champion and the current Asian Games champion. Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, who seems to be the only player in the world capable of stopping Kento Momota of Japan, couldn't overcome the challenge of Chen Long of China. The latter won their match 21-19, 21-18.
On the other side, Jonatan Christie of Indonesia came back after losing the opening game easily to win his match against former World Champion Viktor Axelsen 7-21, 22-20, 21-19. Interestingly, in the Asian Games last year also, it was Ginting who had knocked out Momota, the favourite, but Christie walked away with the gold. History could well repeat itself.
At the same time, Chen Long, who had been out of sorts in the last couple of years, seems to be getting back his touch as the countdown to Olympics continues. A victory for Christie, on the other hand, would prove that his Asian Games gold was no fluke.