It was another pulsating and see-saw contest between the world Nos 2 and 3, Akane Yamaguchi and PV Sindhu, in the semi-finals of the All England Open on Saturday in which the Japanese came out on top.

Just like their summit clash at the Dubai World Superseries Finals in December, the encounter went the distance, clocking one hour and 19 minutes before Yamaguchi came out a 19-21, 21-19, 21-18 winner.

Yamaguchi took her time to settle into the match and there was a point in the first game when Sindhu held an eight-point advantage at 16-8. But the Japanese did not give up and flicked on a switch that gave the Indian a fight right till the end of the game.

It was a completely different Yamaguchi that turned out on court for the following two games as she engaged Sindhu in several long rallies and won most of them. There were two rallies that lasted 55 shots.

After playing her fourth back-to-back three-game match in this tournament, Sindhu just did not have enough juice left in her by the end of the third game to go all the way.

Yamaguchi will take on world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying, who is on a roll, in the final. The top-seeded defending All-England champion from Taiwan won 21-15, 20-22, 21-3 against the eighth-seeded Chen Yufei, a 20-year-old former world junior champion, recovering from a temporary loss of concentration in the second game and re-asserting her reputation as the world’s most skilful female player.

All-Chinese men’s singles final

A fast and enterprising performance from fleet-footed 22-year-old Shi Yuqi ensured that China will win back the men’s singles title at the Badminton All-England Open in Sunday’s final.

Shi overcame Son Wan Ho, the fifth-seeded Korean to reach the final of the famous 118-year-old tournament with a 21-17, 21-14 win.

Two-time former champion Lin Dan faces Chinese compatriot Huang Yuxiang in the other semi-final later on Saturday.

Son may have been blunted by two gruelling three-game tussles in the past three days and the fresher Shi was quick to take advantage once he was able to snap out an error-strewn start that saw him fall 7-11 behind in the first game and 5-9 in the second.

Shi hit top form with a seven-point sequence in the middle of the second game to decisively swing the match in his favour.

His success followed a surprisingly comfortable victory over China’s Olympic champion Chen Long on Friday, and offers the chance of redemption after being blown away by Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei in last year’s final.

With inputs from AFP