World No. 1 badminton women’s singles player Ahn Se-young (Samsung Life) cruised to the quarterfinals of the World Individual Championships after defeating former No. 1 Nozomi Okuhara (JPN). Ahn, who is bidding for South Korea’s first-ever World Championship singles gold medal, will face tough opponent Chen Yufei (CHN) in the final.
Ahn Seyoung came from behind to defeat 36th-ranked Okuhara 2-1 (16-21 21-10 21-11) in the women’s singles quarterfinals at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Individual Championships 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark on Saturday (June 26). Ahn has now reached the semifinals in all 13 tournaments she has played this year, including the Sudirman Cup and the Asian Individual Championships. The only previous time she failed to reach the final was at the Indonesia Open in June. Ahn has reached the final of 11 tournaments this year, winning seven times.
Ahn will face world No. 3 Chen Yufei in the semifinals. Chen Yufei booked her place in the last four with a 2-0 (21-17 21-12) win over Chinese teammate Wang Zhiyi.
Ahn struggled to adjust to the court against Okuhara, dropping the first game. Okuhara is a former ace before Akane Yamaguchi (No. 2), who now represents Japan. She won the top singles spot at the 2017 World Championships, a silver medal at the 2019 event, and was once ranked No. 1 in the world. This was Ahn’s first time facing Okuhara.
However, Ahn struggled to judge the in and out lines, and her well-taken coxes often went off the line. Her hairpins were also frequently caught in the net. With the score at 3-10, Ahn became impatient and made mistakes in her attack.
After regaining her footing at the end of game one, Ahn eased to a comfortable victory in game two, displaying the skills of the current world number one.
Ahn is looking to add to her eight wins this year and become the first Korean badminton player to win a World Championship singles gold medal. South Korean badminton has won five mixed doubles golds, four men’s doubles golds and one women’s doubles gold at the World Championships, but silver medals are its best results in men’s and women’s singles. Ahn won a bronze medal at last year’s World Championships.
Ahn trails her quarterfinal opponent, Chen Yufei, 5-10 in their all-time head-to-head, but has taken a 4-2 lead this year, including her most recent win at the Korea Open.
Women’s doubles world No. 3 Kim So-young (Incheon International Airport) and Gong Hee-yong (Jeonbuk Bank) advanced to the quarterfinals with a close 2-0 (21-19 21-19) victory over No. 8 Jongkolpan Kittitarakul and Rawinda Prajongjai (Thailand). In the quarterfinals, they will face world No. 12 Afriyani Rahayu-City Padia Silva Ramadanti (Indonesia) for a spot in the final. Rahayu and Ramadanti previously defeated the world No. 2 pair of Baek Hana (MG Sae Village Bank) and Lee Sohee (Incheon International Airport) in the Round of 16.
Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong are looking to become the first women’s doubles team to win the title in 28 years since Gil Young-ah and Jang Hye-ok in 1995. Kim and Gong are in good form, having won four tournaments this year, including the All-England Open. They recently won the Japan Open and the Australian Open and are looking to win three consecutive titles.
World No. 5 Seo Seung-jae (Samsung Life) and Chae Yoo-jung (Incheon International Airport) also joined the quarterfinals with a 2-0 (21-12 21-16) victory over No. 4 Dechapol Puavaranukro and Sapsiri Taerathanachai (Thailand). Seo Seung-jae-Chae Yoo-jung will face world No. 2 Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino (JPN) in the final.
Men’s doubles No. 6 Kang Min-hyuk (Samsung Life) and Seo Seung-jae also advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-0 (21-19 21-17) victory over No. 9 Mohammad Asan-Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia). They will face No. 4 Aaron Chia-Sowiwick (Malaysia) in the quarterfinals.
In mixed doubles, No. 6 Kim Won-ho (Samsung Life Insurance)-Jung Nae-eun (Hwasun County Government) fell to No. 1 Zheng Tse-wei-Huang Ya-chung (China) 0-2 (10-21 6-21) and were eliminated in the quarterfinals. 바카라