Se Young stuns Olympic champ Yu Fei at favourite venue - Axiata Arena

14/01/2023 08:57 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 (Bernama) -- Malaysia continues to be a happy hunting ground for South Korean women’s singles player An Se Young, who is one step away from clinching her second Super 1000 title.

World number four Se Young stunned world number two Chen Yu Fei 21-12, 19-21, 21-9 in the 2023 Malaysia Open semi-finals at the Axiata Arena, today.

After both shuttlers won a game each, the 20-year-old Se Young got the deciding game off to a cracker as she shot into an 8-0 lead, leaving last year’s runner-up Yu Fei shell-shocked, en route to her fourth Super 1000 tournament final.

It was only Se Young’s second win over the Tokyo Olympic champion in 10 meetings, with her last win also coming at the same venue during the women’s singles final of the 2022 Malaysia Masters, a Super 500 tournament, last July.

The buoyant Se Young aims to emulate the feat achieved by her idol, Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, who won the title last year but skipped this year’s tournament due to an injury.

“I like to play in this hall and this is my favourite stadium... that’s why I could beat Yu Fei again here. In the first and second games, I focused on long rallies. So, I was prepared for the third game and I had the stamina to fight till the end.

“In the final, I will give my 100 per cent. My main target this year is to enjoy the game without getting injured,” said Se Young, whose only Super 1000 win, so far, came at the 2021 Indonesia Open where she beat Ratchanok in the showdown.

Se Young will take on world number one Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the final tomorrow.

Yamaguchi, who suffered a first-round setback against unseeded Indonesian Gregoria Mariska Tunjung last year, ousted three-time champion Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan 21-18, 21-16 in the other semi-final tonight.

“I managed to win because I played aggressively against Tzu Ying. Facing Se Young will be challenging, she is a very skillful and consistent player, but I will give my best,” Yamaguchi said through an interpreter. 

For the record, Yamaguchi has won nine out of 14 matches against Se Young.