April 23, 2024

An entertaining Yamaguchi semi-final on day 5 of the YONEX All England

An Se Young is the women's singles champion (Johan Nonot/Badminton Image)

An Se Young enjoys taking on Akane Yamaguchi in the women's singles semi-final on day five of the YONEX All England Badminton Championships 2024, Millie McEvoy writes in Birmingham.

Defending champion Ahn of Korea beat Yoo Han to advance while Yamaguchi of Japan ousted Gregoria Mariska Tonjung.

The two will finish fourth on Saturday as Utilita's field drops to one field.

“After every win, I always look forward to the next one, to be able to play against Akane tomorrow, and that makes me very happy and happy,” Ahn said.

“With Akane, we are very friendly in our competitive relationship. She always helps me improve and see my weaknesses.

“There are areas where I excel as well, but it allows me to know my weaknesses.”

The other match in the last four women's singles matches sees Carolina Marin take on Tai Tzu Ying.

The pair have met 23 times, with Tai winning 12 of them, and the duo share only two places in the world rankings.

Marin beat Tai in the 2015 finals to go on to win the title while the Chinese Taipei shuttler did the same in 2020.

The women's doubles will witness a meeting between the citizens in the semi-finals, where the second seeds, Baek Ha Na and Lee Soo Hee from Korea, will face the defending champions, Kim Soo Young and Kong Hee Young.

“Watching Kim and Kong against the Chinese duo, they are on the rise and in great shape,” Paik said.

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“As long as we show what we know from Korea, it will be a close game tomorrow.”

Rina Miyaura and Ayako Sakuramoto will face fellow Japanese players Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida.

Miyaura and Sakuramoto played three matches in each stage in Birmingham while their opponents played just five matches after their quarter-final rivals Binyappa and Nontakarn Aimsard were forced to retire.

Defending mixed doubles champions Cheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong will face teammates Feng Yanzhi and Huang Dongping.

China's top seed is happy to face an opponent he knows well.

“We are very happy and excited,” Cheng said. Tomorrow we will play against our teammates, we played two years ago and I hope it will be the same this year.”

“It's different when you play with your teammates because you know them, and you know how to play against each other.

“They have been strong recently so it should be a great game to watch.”

In the other mixed doubles semifinal, the King and Queen Selena Beck and Robin Tabling will face three-time winners Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino of Japan.

Two unseeded players will meet in the men's singles, with Lakshya Sen, who reached the 2022 finals, taking on Jonathan Christie.

The Indonesian has qualified for the All England semi-finals for the first time, as does Frenchman Christo Popov, who will face Anthony Sinisuka Genting in the semi-finals.

“I can't wait to be on court tomorrow. I don't know how it feels to play an All England semi-final, so I want to know how you feel,” Popov said.

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Defending men's doubles champions Fajr Alfian and Mohamed Rayyan Ardianto will face Japan's Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi.

Malaysia's Aaron Chia and Soh and Wei Yik will face unseeded duo Lee Jihee-hui and Yang Po-hsuen.

Be part of All The Action at the All England. Tickets are still available at allenglandbadminton.com. Can't be in Birmingham this week? You can still watch the most prestigious badminton tournaments being played on BBC Sport and TNT Sports. Don't miss a minute!