PETALING JAYA: Soong Joo Ven can hold his head high despite losing to Japan’s Kodai Naraoka in the semi-finals of the Korean Masters.
World No. 68 Joo Ven battled hard for nearly one and a half hour against the 47th ranked Naraoka before running out of steam and losing 17-21, 23-21, 11-21.
Joo Ven can still be proud after reaching his first World Tour semi-final since the 2018 Hyderabad Open. He also stunned world No. 30 and home player Heo Kwang-hee en route to the last four.
“I have given my best and am quite satisfied with my performance here. The conditions suited my opponent better yesterday as the shuttle was really slow and there were a lot of long rallies,” explained Joo Ven.
The 26-year-old, who was overlooked for the upcoming Asian Championships and Thomas Cup by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), is determined to keep proving that it was the wrong decision.
“I have to improve on my attacking game. My target is to break into the top 32 this year. I aim to play in the higher-tier World Tour competitions like Super 750 and 1000 events,” said the former Asian Junior Championships silver medallist.
Meanwhile, world No. 13 Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie blew a good opportunity to reach their second final of the year when they went down 11-21, 15-21 to China’s Ou Xuanyi-Huang Yaqiong in just 33 minutes.
The Malaysian pair, who reached the final of the Swiss Open last month, had a 7-0 lead in the second game but threw it all away.
Yaqiong, who is a two-time world champion and Olympics silver medallist with former partner Zheng Siwei, only started playing with Xuanyi this year.
The pair reached the German Open final in their first tournament together in March.
They will take on compatriots and Tokyo Olympics gold medallists Huang Dongping-Wang Yilyu in the title matchup today.
China are also assured of the women’s singles title after Chen Yufei and He Bingjiao both made it to the final.
MEN’S SINGLES: Kodai Naraoka (Jpn) bt Soong Joo Ven 21-17, 21-23, 21-11; Jeon Hyeok-jin (Kor) bt Sitthikom Thammasin (Tha) 21-18, 21-15.
MEN’S DOUBLES: Kim Gi-jung-Kim Sa-rang (Kor) bt Hiroki Okamura-Masayuki Onodera (Jpn) 22-20, 12-21, 21-19; Liu Yuchen-Ou Xuanyi (Chn) bt Choi Sol-gyu-Kim Won-ho (Kor) 21-19, 21-16.
WOMEN’S SINGLES: He Bingjiao (Chn) bt An Se-young (Kor) 21-11, 21-13; Chen Yufei (Chn) bt Wang Zhiyi (Chn) 21-7, 19-21, 21-17.
WOMEN’S DOUBLES: Baek Ha-na-Lee Yu-rim (Kor) bt Du Yue-Li Wenmei (Chn) 21-18, 19-21, 21-16; Kim So-yeong-Kong Hee-yong (Kor) bt Eom Hye-won-Bo Ryeong-kim (Kor) 21-18, 21-9.
MIXED DOUBLES: Ou Xuanyi-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) bt Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie 21-11, 21-15; Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (Chn) bt Yong Jin-Lee Yu-rim (Kor) 21-12, 21-8.