Seeded Women Take Control at SKYCITY New Zealand Badminton Open

Seeded Women Take Control at SKYCITY New Zealand Badminton Open

The cream has risen to the top in the women’s singles at the SKYCITY New Zealand Badminton Open at the North Shore Events Centre in Auckland.

The top four ranked players are through to the semifinals, led by title favourite Ratchanok Intanon from Thailand. The world number nine bounced back from a slow start to beat sixth seeded Indonesian Dinar Dyah Ayustine 19-21 21-10 21-11. Likewise, second seed Fitriani was on the back foot early, dropping her opening game against Malaysian Yen Mei Ho. However, the 18-year-old Indonesian rattled off the next two games to win 9-21 21-10 21-13.

Fitriani’s relieved to come away with the win.

“I was a bit nervous in the first set but started to enjoy the game more in the second,” she said.

“Now I can focus on tomorrow’s game and get mentally prepared.”

The win moves her a step closer to a showdown with Intanon, but that’s not something she’s contemplating just yet.

“I just want to focus on my semifinal first. If I get through that then I can think about getting the chance to face the number nine in the world.”

Fitriani will face Japan’s Saena Kawakami in the last four, after the fifth seed downed China’s Yaxin Wei 22-20 21-15, while fourth seeded Indonesian Hanna Ramadini earned the right to face Intanon in the semis, with a 21-12 21-19 victory over Chinese Taipei’s Pai Yu Po.

In the men’s singles, Chinese Taipei’s Tzu Wei Wang sounded a warning to his title rivals with a 21-7 21-7 demolition of Australian Anthony Joe. The top seed will play compatriot Lin Yu Hsien in the last four, after he prevailed in a nail-biting match against fourth seeded Indian HS Prannoy, scraping home 21-10, 20-22 23-21. There was also guaranteed to be a player from Chinese Taipei in the other half of the draw, Hsu Jen Hao and Chia Hung Lu squaring off. In the end Jen Hao prevailed 22-20 23-21. His opponent in the last four is China’s Lee Cheuk Yiu, who downed seventh seeded Indian Sourabh Verma 21-19 21-16.

Sawan Serasinghe and Setyana Mapasa. Photo by Blackstar Sports

Meanwhile, as the seeds dominated the women’s singles, the mixed doubles proved a far different story. Australia’s Sawan Serasinghe and Setyana Mapasa are now the leading title contenders, having started the week seeded eighth. The Aussie duo moved confidently into the last four with a 21-15, 21-16 win over Tan Qiang and Shijun Qiao, and will now face another unseeded Chinese pair in the semis, after Zhou Haodong and Xu Ya beat Indonesia’s Riky Widianto and Richi Puspita Dili 21-18, 9-21, 22-20. Serasinghe and Mapasa are the only seeded pairing remaining in the draw, after sixth seeds Edi Subaktiar and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja lost to fellow Indonesians Ronald and Annisa Saufika 18-21, 21-17, 23-21. Chinese Taipei’s Chi-Lin and Australian Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen had earlier thumped Chinese seventh seeds He Jiting and Du Yue 21-13, 21-4.