Gao Fangjie - the lone Chinese in a bid to stop a clean sweep by the Koreans in Gwangju
(*Credit image : Djarum Badminton)
Two weeks ago in the Tahoe China Open Superseries Premier in Fuzhou 19-year-old Gao Fangjie sent ripples to reach the women's singles final as a qualifier and take her game to a new level.
In the China Open, Fangjie fell at the final hurdle to Japan's experienced Akane Yamaguchi 21-13, 21-15, but she left a mark in the shuttle sport.
Come Sunday (Dec 3) the Chinese lass is the lone "foreigner" left in the USD120,000 Gwangju Victor Korea Masters to stop the Koreans from making a clean sweep of all the five titles at stake.
Apart from the women's singles final which is between the unseeded Fangjie and the fifth seeded Korean hope Lee Jang-mi, all the other finals are all-Korean affairs.
In the semi-finals played at the Yeomju Gymnasium in Gwangju City it was day of the Koreans.
In the women's singles Fangjie outplayed compatriot Wang Zhiyi 21-17, 21-8, while Jang-mi upset second seeded Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand 21-19, 21-19.
In the men's singles fourth seed Jeon Hyeok-jin stopped Thai hope and seventh seeded Khosit Phetpradap 21-16, 21-14 while Kin Min-ki upset compatriot and 11th seed Lee Dong-keun 21-19, 21-15.
Kim Won-ho-Seo Seung-jae made it an all-Korean final in the men's doubles with a 23-25, 21-12, 21-15 win over third seeds Liao Min-chun-Su Cheng-heng of Chinese Taipei.
The combo will face compatriots Jung Jae-wook-Kim Gi-jung who edged former world number one Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seong 16-21, 21-11, 21-19.
In the women's doubles Malaysia's hopes Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Hean's hopes of winning their first Grand Prix Gold ended with a 21-14, 7-21, 12-21 defeat at the hands of Korea's Kim So-yeong-Kong Hee-yong.
It was an all-Korean affair in the other semi-final with Lee So-hee-Shin Seung-chan registering a crushing 21-5, 21-9 win over Lee Eun-ah-Yoon Min-ah in only 20 minutes.
Indonesia's hopes of a place in the mixed doubles final disappeared with the defeat of Hafiz Faizal-Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja who lost 15-21, 11-21 to fourth seeds Seo Seung-jae-Kim Ha-na.
Top seeds Choi Solgyu-Chae Yoo-jung defeated compatriots and number seven seeds Kim Won-ho-Shin Seung-chan 21-17, 21-12.
Kim Min-ki (Kor) beat Lee Dong-keun (Kor) 21-19, 21-15
Jeon Hyeok-jin (Kor) beat Khosit Phetpradab (Tha) 21-16, 21-14
Kim Won-ho-Seo Seung-jae (Kor) beat Liao Min-Chun-Su Cheng-heng (Tpe) 23-25, 21-12, 21-15
Jung Jae-wook-Kim Gi-jung (Kor) beat Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seong (Kor) 16-21, 21-11, 21-19
Gao Fangjie (Chn) beat Wang Zhiyi (Chn) 21-17, 21-18
Lee Jang-mi (Kor) beat Nitchaon Jindapol (Tha) 21-19, 21-19
Lee So-hee-Shin Seung-chan (Kor) beat Lee Eun-ah-Yoon Min-ah (Kor) 21-5, 21-9
Kim So-yeong-Kong Hee-yong (Kor) beat Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean beat 14-21, 21-7, 21-12
Seo Seung-jae-Kim Ha-na (Kor) beat Hafiz Faizal-Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja (Ina) 21-15, 21-11
Choi Solgyu-Chae Yoo-jung (Kor) beat Kim Won-ho-Shin Seung-chan (Kor) 21-17, 21-12