Japan's Kazumasa Sakai denies Prannoy an all-India final in Indonesia Open
Yet another top seed was shown the exit in the BCA Indonesia Open Superseries Premier and this time it was second seeded South Korean Son Wan-ho who fell to unseeded K. Srikanth of India in the men's singles semi-finals at the Jakarta Convention Center on Saturday.
The Rio Olympics quarter-finalist triumphed 21-15, 14-21, 24-22 in a 72-minute thriller to reach his second superseries final this year. Srikanth was beaten in this year's Singapore Open final by his teammate B. Sai Praneeth in three sets.
India would have created history again in Jakarta but Japan's Kazumasa Sakai, who had to come through the qualifiers, spoiled the Indian party when he refused to kowtow to Srikanth's compatriot H.S. Prannoy and survived a 76 minute battle for a 17-21, 28-26, 21-18 win.
Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand who upset world number one and top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the quarter-finals came unstuck in the semi-finals. The Thai could not sustain her momentum after winning the first set 21-13 and lost the next two 18-21 14-21 to Japan's Sayaka Sato in a marathon 78 minutes.
Sato faces Korea's fifth seed Sung Ji-hyun in the final. The Korean ace, who played a key role in Korea's triumph in the Sudirman Cup mixed team championships in Gold Coast, Australia was also involved in a three-set battle before prevailing 21-10, 8-21, 21-10 against China-born Zhang Beiwen of the United States.
Korea also reached the women's doubles final with All England champions Chang Ye-na-Lee So-hee staking a strong claim for the title in Jakarta. The third seeds defeated Japan's Shiho Tanaka-Koharu Yonemoto 21-14, 12-21, 21-11.
In the final they play China's fifth seeds Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan who broke the hearts of the home supporters with a straight sets 21-12, 21-17 win over Anggie Shitta Awanda-Ni Ketut Mahadewi Istarani in 37 minutes.
Indonesia will have something to cheer in Sunday's finals when Rio Olympics champions Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir romped to an easy 21-13, 21-14 win over Malaysia's scratch pair of Chan Peng Soon-Peck Yen Wei to earn a crack at the title against top seeds Zheng Siwei-Chen Qingchen of China. The Chinese beat compatriots Liu Yuchen-Tang Jinhua 21-10, 21-23, 21-16.
Kazumasa Sakai (Jpn) beat H. S. Prannoy (Ind) 17-21, 28-26, 21-18
K. Srikanth (Ind) beat Son Wan-ho (Kor) 21-15, 14-21, 24-22
Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Den) beat Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto (Ina) 21-17, 18-21, 21-12
Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (Chn) beat Liu Cheng-Zhang Nan (Chn) 21-17, 18-21, 21-18
Sung Ji-hyun (Kor) beat Zhang Beiwen (US) 21-10, 8-21, 21-10
Sayaka Sato (Jpn) beat Nitchaon Jindapol (Tha) 13-21, 21-18, 21-14
Chang Ye-na-Lee So-hee (Kor) beat Shiho Tanaka-Koharu Yonemoto (Jpn) 21-14, 12-21, 21-11
Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan (Chn) beat Anggia Shitta Awanda-Ni Ketut Mahadewi Istarani (Ina) 21-12, 21-17
Zheng Siwei-Chen Qingchen (Chn) beat Liu Yuchen-Tang Jinhua (Chn) 21-10, 21-23, 21-16
Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir (Ina) beat Chan Peng Soon-Peck Yen Wei (Mas) 21-13, 21-14