The two most high-profile players in the ongoing BWF World Tour Super 300 Barcelona Spain Masters tournament – local favourite Carolina Marin and Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen – have made their way into the last-4 stage of the tournament with impressive victories in their respective quarter-finals.
The biggest draw of the tournament, three-time World Champion and current Olympic Champion Marin, had been ruthless in her previous two matches. She continued that great form with a comprehensive 21-18, 21-12 win over Thailand’s Phittayaporn Chaiwan. The Spanish legend just took 38 minutes to win the match and move on to the semis.
But Marin is not done yet with Thai players. Her next match, the semi-final, will also be against a player from the same nationality – Supanida Katethong, who is ranked 53 in world and 43 in World Tour rankings. Needless to say, Marin is the overwhelming favourite.
The other World Champion in the singles category – Axelsen – was even more devastating in his match. Facing his compatriot Jan O Jorgensen, the former World no. 1 allowed his opponent to score only 13 points across games and defeated him 21-8, 21-5 in just 25 minutes.
The Dane’s next opponent is Malaysia’s, Daren Liew. The latter actually defeated another Danish player Rasmus Gemke 16-21, 21-17, 21-17, to book his spot in the last 4.
It wasn’t all that bad a day for Thailand players. Their two strongest singles players left in the draw, both in women’s singles, Busanan Ongbamrungphan, seeded third, and Pornpawee Chochuwong, seeded sixth, won their respective matches to book their spots in the last 4.
Busanan defeated India’s former World no. 1 Saina Nehwal, seeded fifth, 22-20, 21-19, while Pornpawee got the better of Neslihan Yigit of Turkey 22-20, 21-9. These two Thai ladies will face each other in the semis. In fact, except for Marin, all the other semifinalists left in this division are Thais.
Among men also, Kunlavut Vitidsarn, just 18 years of age, and another Thai player won his quarterfinal match against India’s Sameer Verma 17-21, 21-17, 21-12 to progress. But Indian participation remains in the tournament thanks to Ajay Jayaram who got the better of France’s Thomas Rouxel 21-14, 21-15.
In the doubles categories, the top seeds of men’s doubles and women’s doubles categories won their respective matches while the top seeds of mixed doubles were knocked out.
The pairing of Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu of Indonesia won their women’s doubles match against the eighth-seeded pair of Hsu Ya Ching and Hu Ling Fang of Chinese Taipei 20-22, 21-11, 21-19. In men’s doubles, top-seeded pair of Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin of Taipei defeated their compatriots Liao Min Chun and Su Ching Heng 21-12, 21-18.
The top seeds in mixed doubles though, Goh Sun Huat and Lai Shavon Jemie of Malaysia lost to Kim Sa Rang and Kim Ha Na of South Korea 21-18, 21-18.