Former women’s singles world no. 1 Akane Yamaguchi and the rest of the Japanese badminton team dominated Indonesia, 3-0, to book their place in the semifinals of the 2020 SMART Badminton Asia Manila Team Championships, Friday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Yamaguchi just needed 34 minutes to stamp her class over Gregoria Tunjung, 21-9, 21-15, to open up the day for the top-seeded squad in this tournament backed by SMART Communications, Inc., MVP Sports Foundation, Leisure and Resorts World Corporation, Cignal, and TV5.
Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota then put the reigning champs up 2-0 with a marathon two-setter, 21-19, 21-15, that lasted for 53 minutes. Sayaka Takahashi then wrapped the tie with a sweep of Ruselli Hartawan, 21-13, 21-14.
Japan will take on Malaysia after the latter sent Chinese Taipei packing with a 3-1 victory.
Pearly Tan and Muralitharan Thinaah clinched the tie for the Southeast Asians after coming back against Cheng Chi Ya and Liu Chao-Yun at 18-21, 21-17, 21-18, in the second doubles match.
Soniia Cheah emerged from that deciding frame at 22-20 to take the first singles match after she split the first two frames with Pai Yu Po, 21-14, 17-21. Hsu Ya Ching and Hu Ling Fang then swept Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean to level the tie for the Taiwanese, 21-14, 21-14.
Goh Jin Wei restored Malaysia’s lead with the second singles win, 21-23, 21-8, 21-12 against Chiang Ying Li.
Meanwhile, Thailand and Korea booked their places in the other semifinal tie with similar 3-0 sweeps of Kazakhstan and Singapore.
Thailand needed little more than an hour to dislodge Kazakhstan, with Phittayaporn Chaiwan again clinching the win in the third singles match with 21-6, 21-5, against Oxsana Shtelle.
Busanan Ongbamrungphan and Pornpawee Chochuwong then waylaid Kamila Smagulova and Arina Sazanova in the first two singles match for the 2-0 advantage. Ongbamrungphan got the first, 21-3, 21-4, while Chochuwong followed with 21-1, 21-7.
Korea also advanced with Kim Ga Eun taking the tie against Singapore in the third singles match, walloping Hui Grace Chua, 21-10, 21-10.
An Se Young and Sung Ji Hyun carved out contrasting victories for the 2-0 advantage. Young needed to shake off Yeo Jia Min to put the Koreans on board, 15-21, 21-13, 21-16. On the other hand, Sung made short work of Yue Jaslyn Hooi, 21-15, 21-12.
Japan and Malaysia will battle each other for a place in the final, while Korea and Thailand do the same. Semifinal ties will happen on Saturday, February 15 at 10 a.m.