The women's singles division in BWF World Tour Super 500 Hong Kong Open saw some sublime action in the quarter-final stage. Chen Yu Fei, carrying her form from last week's victory in Fuzhou China Open defeated her compatriot He Bing Jiao to secure her place in the semis while Akane Yamaguchi of Japan seemed to be getting her form back by entering the last-4 stage.
Beiwen Zhang of USA also continued her good run in this tournament by defeating Ruselli Hartwan of Indonesia and Ratchanok Intanon looked close to her best in a convincing victory over Japan's Nozomi Okuhara.
Zhang, the perennial dark horse, did not have a very fancied opponent. Still, she made a point by triumphing easily 21-17, 21-17 in just over half-an-hour. She hasn't won a major title since India Open last year. This is her opportunity.
Yamaguchi has endured a very difficult season. In the last four tournaments she played before this one, she was knocked out in the very first round. In the quarter-final, she was up against Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan who was coming off a victory over World Champion Pusarla Venkata Sindhu a day before.
Yamaguchi started badly and lost the first game easily. But then, the tenacity that Japanese players are known for came to the fore as she won the next two games to clinch the match 9-21, 21-17, 21-15.
The two best Chinese players in the circuit fought each other for a place in the last-4. Chen Yu Fei, who removed any lingering doubts about her fitness with a brilliant victory last week in Fuzhou, was up against Bing Jiao who has been rather underwhelming since her Korea Open triumph.
But in this match, it was Bing Jiao who took the lead by claiming the first game. Yu Fei responded emphatically to clinch the second game and force a decider. Eventually, the All England champion wrapped up the game 16-21, 21-9, 21-15.
Probably the most impressive performance of the day came from Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon. Known for being inconsistent, the lady who won the India Open earlier this year showed what a skillful player she is with a brilliant 21-14, 21-19 win over Japan's Nozomi Okuhara.
Right from the beginning of the game, Intanon seemed to be in great touch. She was playing some delightful drop shots as well as enchanting cross-court net shots. She realised that in the slow conditions that existed in the stadium, overhead shots won't be easy to deal with.
Hence, the 2013 World Champion adopted a clever strategy of using overhead clears to push the 2017 World Champion to the back and then follow up with steep drop shots, tight-spinning net shots or kills at the net. This allowed her to win the first game easily.
Okuhara fought back in the second game and played some brilliant shots of her own. She too tried to use the strategy of playing overhead clears which were difficult to deal with. But she committed too many errors and also couldn't put Ratchanok off her game completely. Despite a closer contest in the second game, Ratchanok's swift movement across the court and brilliant skills saw her through to a victory. She will now take on another Japanese Akane Yamaguchi who has a similar style to Okuhara. That match should be good to watch.