World no. 8 Jonatan Christie of Indonesia escaped with a hard-fought win against reigning World Champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore, 22-20, 23-21, to book his place in the semifinals of the men’s singles at the SMART Badminton Asia Championships 2022, Friday at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex in Muntinlupa City.
The 2018 Asian Games champion in the event played catch up in both frames, before finally finishing the match that lasted for 47 minutes, and booked an all-Indonesian semifinal against Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo.
“First, I would like to thank God, because without him I’m nothing,” Christie said. “And yeah, Loh Kean Yew is playing very well in the World Championship last year, so it was not easy playing against him. But, I kept him under pressure from the start.”
The 24-year-old badminton star, though, knew he has a lot to work on in order to win his first-ever Asian title. “If we talk about results, I am very happy. But if we talk about performance, I think I can improve on one or two things for the next match,” he said.
On the other side of the draw, world no. 7 Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia and Weng Hong Yang of China will battle for the other finals berth. Lee cruised past Tsuneyama Kanta of Japan, 21-13, 21-11, while Weng fashioned an upset against world no. 5 Anthony Sinusuka Ginting of Indonesia, 21-13, 16-21, 21-11.
In the women’s singles, world no. 4 An Seyoung of Korea completed the semifinalists after a clinical win over Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi, 21-15, 21-5. An will go up against Wang Zhi Yi of China for a place in the final.
Japan, though, got through the mixed doubles last four as Watanabe Yuta and Higashino Arisa took down Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing of Malaysia, 21-18, 21-5. The Japanese pair drew China’s Wang Yi Lyu and Huang Dong Ping, winners over Rinov Rivaldy and Plitha Haningtyas Mentari of Indonesia, 21-13, 21-11.
Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik secured a berth for a Malaysian pair in the final as they advanced into the semifinals of men’s doubles, scoring a three-setter against India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, 12-21, 21-14, 21-16. Meanwhile, world no. 8 Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto of Indonesia set up another all-Indonesian semifinal after defeating Man Wei Chiong and Kai Wun Tee of Malaysia, 21-16, 21-16.
Iwanaga Rin and Nakanishi Kie scored a huge upset in the women’s doubles past world no. 2 Lee Soheeand Shin Seungchan of Korea, 21-23, 21-15, 21-15. The Japanese will face compatriots Fukushima Yuki and Hirota Sayaka, who won over Malaysia’s Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan, 14-21, 21-19, 21-16, in the last four.
The top of the women’s doubles draw see an all-Chinese semifinal affair as Du Yue and Li Wen Mei dominated Indonesia’s Siti Fadia Silva Ramadanthi and Ribka Sugiarto, 21-10, 21-12, to make the semifinals against defending world champions Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan.
The semifinal matches are scheduled on Saturday starting at 1 p.m.
The tournament is made possible by SMART, MVP Sports Foundation, Li-Ning, Cignal, TV5, One Sports, Robinson’s Land, Premium Megastructure Inc., Philippine Badminton Association, Badminton Asia, the Philippine Olympic Committee, the Philippine Sports Commission, and Muntinlupa Mayor Fresnedi and the City of Muntinlupa.