The incredible journey of South Korean teenager An Se Young this season continued as she got the scalp of another top player in Akane Yamaguchi to enter the final of BWF World Tour Super 300 Korea Masters. The 17-year old, who has victories over World Champion PV Sindhu and Olympic Champion Carolina Marin this season, defeated the Japanese lady 21-16, 21-16.
Her opponent in the final would be another South Korean, her senior compatriot and former World no. 1 Sung Ji Hyun. She too, like An, needed just two games to put away her opponent, Japan's Saena Kawakami 21-12, 21-10.
While Sunday's final will be a great opportunity for Young to get her second World Tour title this season, after winning the French Open some weeks ago, it would also give Sung a chance to make a mark. 2019 has been a tough year for the latter. After having some success a couple of years ago, which led her to the top of the rankings, she has been completely overshadowed by other players.
The likes of Tai Tzu Ying, Akane Yamaguchi, Nozomi Okuhara have been capturing the headlines. Sung's decline has also left South Korea largely unrepresented at the top of women's game at a time when a good number of nationalities are represented there. Young's arrival has certainly brought the country back in focus.
It will be interesting to see how Sung deals with her junior colleague. While other top players have struggled against her in recent times, it's possible that she would know some tricks to counter the great retrieving skills and the deadly cross-court smash of An.
Coming towards the end of the season, all players are looking for a good end to the year. While most top players will take part in the BWF World Tour Finals, for the likes of An Se Young and Sung Ji Hyun, this tournament still holds great value.