Badminton

Published: Saturday December 14, 2013 MYT 5:19:00 PM
Updated: Saturday December 14, 2013 MYT 7:53:00 PM

Ruthless Li trash Korean to storm into final

China's Li Xuerui beat South Korea's Bae Yeon-ju in straight sets on Saturday to reach the women's singles final of the BWF Super Series Finals on Sunday. - AFP

China's Li Xuerui beat South Korea's Bae Yeon-ju in straight sets on Saturday to reach the women's singles final of the BWF Super Series Finals on Sunday. - AFP

KUALA LUMPUR: Women’s world No. 1 Li Xuerui is all business as she inches closer to defending her Super Series Finals title.

The Chongqing-born Xuerui was in top form again as she thrashed South Korea’s Bae Yeon-ju for the second time in a week – 21-15, 21-9 – to make the final.

Xuerui had earlier given the Korean lefty an almost similar thrashing in the group stages.

But the duo met once more on Saturday due to the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) new format of conducting a redraw for the semi-finals.

Although Yeon-ju offered better resistance this time, the reigning Olympic champion was not to be denied as she secured her place in the final in just 30 minutes.

It was Xuerui’s fourth straight win in this tournament and she has yet to drop a single game.

The Chinese ace will now aim to be the first repeat winner in the women’s singles category, since the inaugural tournament in 2008.

“Although the score seemed like I had a really easy win ... it was actually pretty tough,” said Xuerui.

“It was not that easy because we’ve already met just a few days ago and she was better prepared this time.

“Furthermore, it is the semi-finals and both of us are fighting hard to make the final too so it was very tough in the end.

“I seem to be in great form here but actually, I’m not in the best shape ... I’m feeling a little fatigued physically.

“I guess it’s mostly because I’ve had good preparations and I’m feeling relaxed ... or my opponents just aren’t in good form either.”

Xuerui will face either compatriot Wang Shixian, or Taiwanese crowd favourite Tai Tzu-ying for the title.

In women’s doubles, the all-China clash never materialised as Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang conceded a walkover to Ma Jin-Tang Jinhua due to a hip injury to Yu Yang.

This is not the first time something like this has happened and it just shows that the Chinese players are too smart for BWF, despite the federation’s best efforts to curb match manipulation.

Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen-Kamilla Rytter Juhl will certainly fancy their chances against Ma Jin-Tang Jinhua in the final after overcoming South Korea’s Jang Ye-na-Kim So-young 21-12, 21-18 in the other semi-final.

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