BANGKOK, June 2, 2023 (AFP): Badminton women's singles world number two An Se-young on Friday booked a semi-finals berth against a formidable Carolina Marin in the Thailand Open.
The 21-year-old South Korean young gun -- who won the All England Open in March -- polished off China's Han Yue in straight sets 21-16, 21-18 at the Huamark indoor stadium in Bangkok.
"I'm so happy," An told reporters, adding that the match had been difficult because of a strong court drift and slippery floor.
Spaniard Marin -- the Rio Olympic gold medallist -- outshone Canada's Michelle Li 21-19, 21-12 to storm into the semis.
Ranked sixth in the world, Marin in recent years faced an epic road to recovery from a devastating knee injury that ruled her out of the Tokyo Olympics and denied her the chance to defend her title.
Local hope Pornpawee Chochuwong struggled to find consistency against Chinese powerhouse He Bingjiao, going down 10-21, 19-21.
Fifth-ranked He will meet Mia Blichfeldt from Denmark on Saturday after she bulldozed Singapore's Yeo Jia Min 21-11, 21-9 in 34 minutes.
In the men's singles draw, Hong Kong's Lee Cheuk Yiu came from nine points down in the second to seal a nail-biting 21-19, 23-21 victory against Malaysia's Ng Tze Yong.
Frenchman Toma Junior Popov will face Lee on Saturday after he beat India's Kiran George 21-16, 21-17 in a tightly fought contest.
India's Lakshya Sen -- who claimed a Commonwealth gold medal last year -- swiftly disposed of Leong Jun Hao from Malaysia 21-19, 21-11.
Sen will meet world number five Kunlavut Vitidsarn, who delighted Thai fans with a thrilling come-from-behind 18-21, 21-14, 21-11 win over China's 13th-ranked Lu Guang Zu. - AFP