The stage is all set for an exciting final in the women's singles division of BWF World Tour Super 500 Hong Kong Open. China's in-form player Chen Yu Fei would take on Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon. Both players had to go through three-game matches to reach the title contest on Sunday.
In the first semi-final of the day, Chen Yu Fei, who won the Fuzhou China Open last Sunday, took on USA's Beiwen Zhang. The latter hasn't been very successful in recent times but looked good in this tournament. The match started on an even note as both players played some good shots.
Towards the end of the first game though, Yu Fei took charge and went 1-0 up. Zhang fought back vigorously and took the second game easily. This proved only a temporary setback as the Chinese girl re-established her supremacy in the third game. She wrapped up the match with a 21-18, 14-21, 21-15 scoreline.
What was evident in this match was the fact that Yu Fei is back to her best. After suffering a couple of injuries this year, she has regained her touch and is combining her alacrity with very effective shots.
In the next semi-final, the diminutive and very tenacious Akane Yamaguchi took on the swift and sublime shot-maker Ratchanok Intanon.
Ratchanok has played the sort of game that made her a top player in international circuit at the beginning of this match. Thanks to some brilliant smashes and drop shots, she reached a position of being two points away from winning the first game with a big lead. However, the Thai suddenly became impatient and played some rash shots.
Soon, the scores were level and, though, she did get a game point, it was the Japanese girl who went 1-0 up. But the former World Champion got her composure back and raced to a 7-0 lead in the second game. But once again, she allowed her opponent to make a comeback. But this comeback was only temporary as Ratchanok regained a big lead and took the match into a deciding game.
Though it's the Japanese players who are known for their stamina, in this match it was the Thai lady who seemed to get better as the game went longer. She became more precise with her shot-making and her quick movements around the court made her match the retrieving powers of Yamaguchi.
There were bound to be some great rallies in this match and they did come at regular intervals. While the Japanese shuttler did show the kind of solid defence she is known for, Ratchanok's brilliant shot-making was too much even for her.
Intanon combined her brilliant net play by some great follow-ups after pushing her opponent back. She also unleashed her drop shots to great effect. The final scoreline read 21-23, 21-15, 21-12.
The final promises to be an absolute thriller. With both the players – Intanon and Chen – looking really solid, it's hard to say who will come out on top.