Men's and women's singles champions suffer shock defeats in Dubai World Superseries Finals
(*Credit image : Badminton Xpress)
China's rising star Shi Yuqi - making his debut in the season ending Dubai Superseries Finals - pulled off a stunning upset at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Thursday.
The 23-year-old kept his cool and nerves as he came back from a game down to upset defending champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark with 13-21, 21-18, 21-17 in a 73-minute thriller in his Group B match.
The lanky Dane, the world number one and the reigning world champion was highly touted to win but Shi Yuqi put his opponent's reputation aside to notch his second win in as many matches in his group, having beaten Chou Tien-chen of Chinese Taipei in the first match.
"This is fantastic...and to reach the semi-finals is beyond words for me. This is my first match against Axelsen and this is my first Finals but I was undaunted by the hard smashing opponent," Shi Yuqi was quoted on the BWF website.
Tien-chen is back in the running in Group B when he upset India's K. Srikanth 21-18, 21-18.
The Indian, who won four superseries titles this year, is recovering from injury and is a pale shadow of his badminton prowess in Dubai.
In the women's singles defending champion Tai Tzu Ying, who needed three-games to beat China's Chen Yufei in the first game, could not stop Ratchanok from advancing to the last four from Group B with a 21-18, 21-17 win.
Chen Yufei hauled herself back into contention when she handed Korea's Sung Ji-hyun a second defeat. The former world junior champion won 21-16, 21-13.
In Group A India's P.V. Sindhu made the last four with an unbeaten record.
After her win over Bingjiao in the first match the Indian lass, who won a silver in the Rio Olympics last year and the silver in this year's World Championships in Glasgow in August, made short work of Japan's Sayako Sato in the second match for a 21-13, 21-12 win.
There were more upsets on Thursday when Japan's Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda brushed aside Indonesia's Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 21-17, 21-17 in 39 minutes.
The Indonesians are winners of six Superseries titles this year and were duly crowned Player of the Year before the Dubai Superseries Finals got underway.
Angus Ng Ka Long (HKG) beat Son Won-ho (KOR) 21-15, 13-21, 21-16
Shi Yuqi (CHN) beat Viktor Axelsen (DEN) 13-21, 21-18, 21-17
Chou Tien-chen (TPE) K. Srikanth (IND) 21-18, 21-18
Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (JPN) beat Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (IND) 21-17, 21-17
P.V. Sindhu (IND) beat Sayaka Sato (JPN) 21-13, 21-12
Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) beat He Bingjiao (CHN) 21-14, 13-21, 21-8
Ratchanok Intanon (THA) beat Tai Tzu Ying (TPE) 21-18, 21-17
Chen Yufei (CHN) beat Sung Ji-hyun (KOR) 21-16, 21-13
Shiho Tanaka-Koharu Yonemoto (JPN) beat Huang Yaqiong-Huang Dongping (CHN) 21-16, 21-16
Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (CHN) beat Chris Adcock-Gabrielle Adcock (ENG) 21-14, 21-17
Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir (IND) beat Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (MAS) 21-17, 21-19