An relishing Yamaguchi semi-final on Day 5 of YONEX All England

An Se Young is the reigning women's singles champion
An Se Young is the reigning women's singles champion

An Se Young is relishing facing Akane Yamaguchi in the women’s singles semi-finals on Day Five of the YONEX All England Badminton Championships 2024, writes Milly McEvoy in Birmingham.

Defending champion An of Korea beat Yue Han to advance while Japan’s Yamaguchi knocked out Gregoria Mariska Tunjung.

The two will go fourth on Saturday as the Utilita Arena drops down to one court.

"After every win I always look forward to the next one, to be able to play against Akane tomorrow, makes me very joyful and happy," An said.

"With Akane, we are very friendly in our rivalry relationship. She always helps me to get better and see my weaknesses.

“There are areas I excel as well, but she allows me to see where my weaknesses are at."

The other game in the women’s singles last four sees Carolina Marin take on Tai Tzu Ying.

The pair have met 23 times with Tai winning 12 of them and the pair are split by just two places in the rankings.

Marin beat Tai in the 2015 finals as she went on to win the title with the Chinese Taipei shuttler doing the same in 2020.

The women’s doubles sees compatriots meet in both semi-finals as second seed Baek Ha Na and Lee So Hee of Korea take on defending champions Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong.

Baek said: “Watching Kim and Kong against the Chinese pair, they are on the upward move and in great form.

“As long as we show what we know from Korea, it will be a close match tomorrow."

Rena Miyaura and Ayako Sakuramoto will face their Japanese teammates Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida.

Miyaura and Sakuramoto have come through three-game matches at every stage in Birmingham while their opponents have played only five games after their quarter-final opponents Benyapa and Nuntakarn Aimsaard were forced to retire.

Defending mixed doubles champions Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong will also face teammates in the form of Feng Yan Zhe and Huang Dong Ping.

The Chinese No.1 seeds are delighted to be playing opponents they know so well.

Zheng said: “We are super happy and excited. Tomorrow we are playing against our teammates, we played two years ago and I hope this year it is the same."

"It’s different playing with your teammate because you know them, you know how to play against each other.

“They have been strong recently so it should be a great match to watch."

The other mixed doubles semi-final sees comeback king and queen Selena Piek and Robin Tabeling take on three-time winners Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino of Japan.

Two unseeded players will meet in the men’s singles as 2022 finalist Lakshya Sen plays Jonatan Christie.

The Indonesian is through to his first All England semi-final as is Christo Popov of France who will face Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the last four.

Popov said: “I can't wait to be on court tomorrow. I don't know what it feels like to play the semi-finals at All England so I want to know what it feels like."

Men’s doubles defending champions Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto will face Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi of Japan.

Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik of Malaysia will take on the unseeded pairing Lee Jhe-Huei and Yang Po-Hsuain.

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