The semi-finals of the BWF World Tour Super 300 Korea Masters 2019 would see a very interesting contest between top seed Akane Yamaguchi and future superstar An Se Young. Yamaguchi, who went through a torrid time before last week's Hong Kong Open, seems to be back in rhythm. But she would have her task cut out against her Korean adversary.
In the men's singles category, the only big name remaining is 5-time World and 2-time Olympic Champion Lin Dan. Unseeded in this event, he has made it to the final-4 and will be the favourite on Saturday when he takes on his compatriot Zhao Jun Peng.
The biggest hurdle in the way of the legendary Chinese shuttler is likely to be Japan's Kanta Tsuneyama. He would be facing another Chinese, Lu Guang Zu in his semi and would be the favourite. Having been an also-ran for a long time, Tsuneyama has a rare opportunity to become an individual champion in a World Tour event. He may have to face the legendary Lin Dan but the latter is a mere shadow of his former self.
The match between Yamaguchi and Young is likely to be the best of the day. While the Japanese girl is known for her retrieving skills along with good shot-making prowess, her Korean opponent too has some wonderful abilities like a good drop shot and net play.
An Se Young has already enjoyed great success this season by winning matches against the reigning World Champion Pusarla Venkata Sindhu and reigning Olympic Champion Carolina Marin. She won the French Open to announce her arrival in the big league. She now needs another title to confirm her ascension towards the top.
Yamaguchi, on the other hand, also needs a title badly. Since the World Championships, she has struggled with form and only last week began to show her quality once again.
The other semi-final of the draw would see another Korean – Sung Ji Hyun – taking on Saena Kawakami of Japan. The former is the favourite but the drought of success would prevent her from taking any opponent lightly. So, it could be an all-Korean affair in the women's final and all-Chinese one in men's. But then, stranger things have happened. Let's wait and watch.