Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei achieved a career-high moment, reaching the semifinals at his very first season finale, the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2019 on Friday.
He now faces world No.1 Kento Momota in the semifinals, while Chen Long takes on Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the other men’s singles final four showdown.
The semifinal draw was conducted this evening after the completion of the group stage.
The winners of both groups were separated and their semifinal opponents – those second-placed in the respective groups – were picked by draw of lots.
Kento Momota (Japan) vs. Wang Tzu Wei (Chinese Taipei)
Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (Indonesia) vs. Chen Long (China)
Chen Yu Fei (China) vs. Akane Yamaguchi (Japan)
Nozomi Okuhara (Japan) vs. Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei)
Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe (Japan) vs. Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Indonesia)
Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin (Chinese Taipei) vs. Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia)
Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota (Japan) vs. Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara (Japan)
Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan (Korea) vs. Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan (China)
Wang Yi Lyu/Huang Dong Ping (China) vs. Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Thailand)
Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino (Japan) vs. Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong (China)
World No.19 Wang, who had qualified to the Finals in the very last qualifying event of the season, needed to secure just one game against Anders Antonsen in the last match of Group A to progress.
Although Wang lost 23-21 12-21 21-12 to the Dane, he qualified in second place from the group behind Momota.
“It is my career’s biggest moment,” said Wang. “I was focussed on winning the match and wasn’t sure of the equation, because the other match (Kento Momota vs. Jonatan Christie) in the group was going on. After I lost the first game, I didn’t dwell too much on it. I wanted to give my best because this is the Finals and I wanted to at least play three games.”
Momota completed his group assignments with a straight-games victory over Jonatan Christie. That meant Antonsen had a shot at qualifying, but he had to win in straight games.
Earlier, China stars Chen Long and Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong clinched last-gasp semifinals places.
Facing a must win situation, Chen Long defeated Chou Tien Chen in his final group match to secure his last four place from men’s singles Group B.
Chen, who went down in straight games to Anthony Ginting yesterday, expertly handled Chou’s wares to deny him 21-15 21-19. Chou would have hoped for Viktor Axelsen to beat Anthony Ginting in the last Group B match, but that possibility was nullified when Axelsen retired 13-6 down against Ginting, citing a strained right hamstring muscle and pain in his right groin.
That meant General Competition Regulation 16.2.5 came into play: “If illness, injury, disqualification or other unavoidable hindrance prevents a player/pair completing all the group matches, all the results of that player/pair shall be deleted. Retiring during a match shall be considered to be not completing all group matches.”
With all of Axelsen’s match results deleted, Ginting, Chen Long and Chou Tien Chen were level with one win and one loss each. However, Ginting topped the group with the best game difference of 1, followed by Chen Long who had a game difference of 0. Chou missed out as his game difference was -1.
It was a close call for Zheng and Huang, who like Chen Long were in a must win situation. They scraped through against Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti of Indonesia, 21-8 15-21 22-20.
Nozomi Okuhara and Tai Tzu Ying sailed into the semifinals from women’s singles Group B. Okuhara kept a clean slate in the group, winning her third match against Ratchanok Intanon 21-14 21-12 in 40 minutes. Tai had to avoid a straight-games defeat to Busanan Ongbamrungphan to secure her place. She did better, achieving victory in just 31 minutes, 21-14 21-9.