The rise of Gao Fangjie - packs off Olympic champion Marin in Tahoe China Open
( *Credit image : Juara.net)
It has been a fairy-tale run so far for 19-year-old Chinese qualifier Gao Fanjie in the USD700,000 Tahoe China Open Superseries Premier in Fuzhou - scalping two of the biggest names in badminton in the women's singles.
On Friday the Chinese rookie wrapped up a 21-11, 21-10 win in 38 minutes over defending champion P.V. Sindhu of Indian in the quarter-finals.
A big achievement for Fangjie, knowing that she never got past the first round in a superseries event.
However, more shocks were to come from the lanky Fangjie, who is likened to former Chinese ace Li Xuerui - both in looks and style of play.
With her confidence boosted by her win over Sindhu, who also won the silver at the Rio Olympics last year and this year's World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland in August, Fangjie added another big scalp to her list of casualties in Fuzhou - Olympics gold medallist.
Fangjie rode on her momentum to dump the Spaniard in straight games - 21-19, 21-19 in a 61-minute battle at the Haixia Olympic Sports Center - a great run for a qualifier and plum tie against fifth seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.
The Japanese was also in her element to advance to the final with a 21-14, 21-18 win over former world number one and world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand, who had knocked out top seed and world number one Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the quarter-finals.
In the men's singles singles former champion Chen Long, the sixth seed, needed three games to subdue second seed Son Wan-ho of South Korea - notching a 21-17, 10-21, 21-7 win 71 minutes.
Reigning world champion and top seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark was too strong for Hong Kong China's Angus Ng Ka Long in his 21-12, 21-17.
Defending champions Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanajaya Sukamuljo of Indonesians showed that they are not ready to surrender their men's doubles title with an impressive 21-14, 21-18 win over China's number four seeds Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen.
In the final the Indonesians - ranked number one - will face Denmark's Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen.
The Danes denied an all-Indonesian final with a 22-20, 21-12 win over Mohammad Ahsan-Rian Agung Saputro.
SEMI-FINAL RESULTS (SELECTED)
Viktor Axelsen (DEN) beat Angus Ka Long (HKG) 21-12, 21-17
Chen Long (CHN) beat Shi Yuqi (CHN) Son Wan-ho (KOR) 21-17, 10-21, 21-7
Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) beat Ratchanok Intanon (THA) 21-14, 21-18
Gao Fangjie (CHN) beat Carolina Marin (SPN) 21-19, 21-19
Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) beat Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (CHN) 21-14, 21-18
Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (DEN) beat Mohammad Ahsan-Rian Agung Saputro (INA) 22-20, 21-12