New Zealand Open: Lin Dan, Akane Yamaguchi Lose in a Day of Semi-finals Upsets
New Zealand Open: NG Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong and Li Xuerui knocked out the defending champion Lin Dan and top seed Akane Yamaguchi, respectively, to enter final.
Lin Dan failed to counter the speed and accuracy with which NG Ka Long Angus played. (Photo Credit: Reuters)
Auckland: Akane Yamaguchi and Lin Dan were both unexpectedly shown the door in the semi-finals of New Zealand on Saturday as a day of upsets unfolded in Auckland to make way for finals day.
Women's singles top seed Yamaguchi lost to sixth seed and Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China 21-13, 19-21, 13-21 in 50 minutes while Lin Dan was simply outplayed by Hong Kong's NG Ka Long Angus 13-21, 11-21 in just 34 minutes.
In other upsets, 7th seed Aya Ohori of Japan lost to South Korea's Se Young An 17-21, 21-19, 13-21 in an hour and 15 minutes in the other women's singles match.
Women's doubles top seed Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota fell to South Korean pair of Kim So Yeong-Kong Hee Yong 21-18, 22-24, 18-21 in an hour and 42 minutes - the longest match of the day.
Men's doubles No.1 seed Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda lost to their compatriots and third seed Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe 12-21, 21-23 in 50 minutes.
XD: Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (Malaysia)  beat Hafiz Faizal-Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja (Indonesia)  21-14, 21-18 in 40 minutes
MS: Jonatan Christie (Indonesia)  beat Kanta Tsuneyama (Japan)  21-12, 21-15 in 39 minutes
MD: Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia)  beat Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (Malaysia)  21-19, 18-21, 21-14 in 52 minutes
XD: Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva Oktavianti (Indonesia)  beat Wang Chi-Lin-Cheng Chi Ya (Taiwan) 21-12, 23-21 in 38 minutes
WD: Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (Japan)  beat Dong Wenjing-Feng Xueying (China) 23-21, 21-19 in 50 minutes
YAMAGUCHI, LIN DAN LOSSES
Yamaguchi's loss to Xuerui was unexpected. Li Xuerui is still forging her comeback on the circuit after suffering anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and lateral meniscus injuries during Rio Olympics 2016.
So far Xuerui has looked a shadow of the amazing player she used to be. Yet on Saturday, she uppped her game and perhaps the rigorous schedule finally took a toll on Yamaguchi.
That Xuerui managed to stretch Yamaguchi to three games perhaps contributed to her win.
Lin Dan on the other hand was just a victim of the perfectly executed plan by Angus. It was a brilliant badminton display from the Hong Kong player.
Lin Dan showed his own wizardry from time to time, trying to defend his title but it was not to be. Angus, who was playing a speedy, high risk game boasted of absolute accuracy as he stormed into the final.
FINALS DAY MATCHES (in order):
XD: Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva Oktavianti (Indonesia)  vs Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (Malaysia) 
WD: Kim So Yeong-Kong Hee Yong (South Korea) vs Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (Japan) 
MS: NG Ka Long Angus (Hong Kong)  vs Jonatan Christie (Indonesia) 
WS: Li Xuerui (China)  vs Se Young An (South Korea)
MD: Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe (Japan)  vs Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) 
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