Singapore badminton
Representational image Reuters

On the penultimate day of BWF World Tour Super 300 2019 Macau Open, the top seeds in men's and women's singles, Shi Yu Qi of China and Michelle Li of Canada respectively, won their semi-final matches to proceed to the title match, to be played on Sunday.

The Canadian Li, took on South Korea's Kim Ga Eun. A skillful player with impactful, steep smashes and strong net play, Michelle took the first game without breaking a sweat. But in the second game, her opponent improved her defence and tried to put Li on the defensive by increasing the pace.

Unfortunately for the Korean, she committed a bucket load of errors which eventually led to the Canadian shuttler winning the second game by a small margin and sealing her spot in the final. The score was 21-9, 21-19.

Li would now face the third seed Han Yue of China. She defeated Japan's Natsuki Nidaira 21-14, 21-11 in the other semi-final of women's singles draw. Going by the semis, it seems that the Canadian likes to finish rallies early. Han would have to show good retrieving skills as well as inject some pace in the game to trouble her more fancied opponent.

Shi Yu Qi
Shi Yu Qi during his semi-final in Macau Open Hotstar screengrab

In men's singles draw, 2018 All England champion Shi Yu Qi had to do battle in three games to put away Thailand's Kantaphon Wangcharoen. Yu Qi, who possesses a deadly cross-court smash from round the head position, took the first game relatively easily.

But then, his opponent fought back with all his ability. Being a left hander, the Chinese shuttler has to use his backhand much more than other players. This, when combined to his possession of a strong smash, meant that the Thai player was continually pushing the ball to his opponent's backhand side. Yu Qi didn't help the matter by committing errors of his own.

The third and deciding game seemed to be heading the way of the Chinese at mid-game interval with a lead of 11-3 in his favour. But Kantaphon kept up his fight and made Shi run around the court. In the end, the good retrieving skills of Yu Qi gave him a 21-15, 16-21, 21-16 victory.

In the final, the former All England champion would face another Thai – Sitthikom Thammasin. The latter won his semi-final against China's Sun Fei Xiang 21-16, 14-21, 21-7.

At the end of last year, Yu Qi had emerged as the most likely player to challenge Kento Momota's superiority in men's singles badminton and also China's biggest hope for major success in the division. Due to an injury sustained earlier this year, Shi has been out of action and, after coming back, out of form. Winning this title would be of great importance to him.