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Day Four Review: Magical Antonsen too good for Ginting

Anders Antonsen is finally back to his magical best as a see-saw win over Anthony Ginting booked his men’s singles semi-final berth.

The Danish star has been through the mill with injuries in the past year and exited at the second-round stage of four tournaments already this year.

Here he was irresistible – winning the first game and then the rubber, staving off a Ginting fightback to ensure there will be European representation on Saturday and an unseeded player in the men’s singles final.

Antonsen said: “I have always been quite confident in my own abilities but I’ve also doubted myself more than ever in the last year or so. This is my third semi-final and I’m happy to be back.”

Meanwhile, Lee Zii Jia restored a semblance of order among the chaos by progressing to his fourth successive All England semi-final.

The Malaysian star’s attacking force was met with stout defence from Japan’s Kodai Naraoka but it was enough to run out 21-9 10-21 21-13 victor.

Lee Zii Jia said: “I’m maybe 70% of my best at the moment. I’m still trying to find the best version of me.”

2018 All England winner Shi Yu Qi is unseeded here and coming up on the rails, backing up an impressive win over Kunlavut Vitidsarn by beating compatriot Weng Hong Yang.

Perhaps the game of the day came in men’s doubles as Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan staged a stunning comeback, fighting back from 14-8 down in the rubber to raise the roof at Utilita Arena Birmingham.

The ‘Daddies’ are through to their fourth All England semi-final but that doesn’t tell half the tale of their thrilling win over China’s Liu Yu Chen and Ou Xuan Yi.

With Ahsan seemingly hampered by a finger injury, the fifth seeds won the first game 21-19 but the Indonesian icons came roaring back with Ou exposed and forced into several errors.

Still, they were staring down the barrel at 14-8 down in the decider but drew on reserves of strength and experience, as well as rampant support, to take it 21-19.

“We just did our best in the last game because they played well today, it was not easy,” said Setiawan. “We still believed, right until the end of the game.”

Ahsan: “I feel fine physically. I hope I will feel fine tomorrow! I hope tonight I can recover.”

On the other side of the draw, top seeds Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto blew away reigning champions Bagas Maulana and Muhammad Shohibul Fikri 21-18 21-13.

The stars have aligned in women’s singles with both Akane Yamaguchi and Chen Yufei securing spots in the final four with quarter-final victories in two games.

The untouchable Yamaguchi cruised past Wang Zhi Yi 21-19 21-12 but the Olympic champion was made to work for her 24-22 23-21 triumph over Gregoria Tunjung.

Chen said: “There have been no easy games this week, but it’s helped me believe in myself.”

Sadly Spaniard Carolina Marin, who has been assailed by flu all the week, was advised to withdraw by the tournament doctor and second seed An Se-young received a bye.

Women’s doubles top seeds Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan were dumped out by South Korea’s Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong in a three-game thriller.

The three-time world champions saved two match points in the rubber but were outbattled by the sixth seeds to continue a lean run of All England form.

Having won the tournament in 2019, they fell at the quarter-final stage in 2020 and the first hurdle last year before another disappointment on their return.

Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand overcame Li Wen Mei and Liu Xuan Xuan to keep the Indian flag flying and they feature in the semi-finals for the second straight year.

Also returning are China’s Zhang Shuxian and Zheng Yu, who beat the Indians in last year’s semi-final, progressing with a mightily impressive 21-13 22-20 win over Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara.

Tenacious South Koreans Baek Ha Na and Lee So Hee, also unseeded, dumped out eighth seeds Apriyani Rahayu and Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti in a 93-minute epic.

World champions Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong still look the pair to beat in mixed doubles, the top seeds advancing in two games after their tricky second-round test.

Tickets for the 2023 YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships are on sale now. Click here to find out more.


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