Two Chinese-speaking players have made it to the final of BWF World Tour Finals women's singles event. Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying would take on China's Chen Yu Fei for the title on Sunday in Guangzhou. Tai won her match against Okuhara 21-15, 21-18 while Chen got the better of the other Japanese, Akane Yamaguchi, by 21-18, 21-9.
In the first semi-final, Nozomi Okuhara raced off to a good start as Tai showed her characteristic looseness at the beginning of a match. But soon, the Taiwanese player tightened up her game and started to get back level. Surprisingly, there weren't too many of those magical shots which the Asian Games champion is known for. Instead, there were precise and calculated shots which led to her establishing a big lead.
Tai wrapped up the first game and went into the second with momentum behind her. Once again, the initiative was taken by Okuhara. But once again, Tai came back with a bang and established a lead. However, Okuhara, known to be a doughty fighter, kept herself in the game through her good retrieving skills and had a one-point lead going into the mid-game interval.
After the interval, Tai immediately pressed the accelerator and got ahead. Her shots were starting to find the lines and there was the occasional sublime flourish as well. Despite the Japanese player's fighting spirit, Tai completed the game without much fuss to make the final.
The other semi-final saw home favourite Chen Yu Fei take on Japan's Akane Yamaguchi. The All England Champion has been in good rhythm and her form was sustained in this match also. Playing in a seamless manner she made Yamaguchi run around the court and played enough good winners to keep herself ahead.
Yamaguchi was trying hard in the first game. Her ability to nullify some of the winners and play decently at the net did cause the Chinese lady to stretch herself even more. But she was aided by some unforced errors and her own perseverance to get ahead and clinch the first game.
After this, the second game was fully dominated by Chen. Moving with ease around the court and playing very well-placed smashes, she left her opponent far behind and wrapped up an easy win.
The match between Chen Yu Fei and Tai Tzu Ying promises to be a thrilling contest. While Tai's quality is well known to everyone, Chen's superb form makes her tough to beat. It is impossible to predict a winner. The contest should be engrossing.