For the first time in two years Caroline Marin will play a final of a BMW World Tour Super 750 badminton tournament.
The Rio 2016 Olympic gold medalist beat the reigning two-time world champion Akane Yamaguchi 21-14, 21-18 in the first women’s singles semi-final at Roland-Garros on Saturday 29 October.
Marin needed 47 minutes to defeat the Japanese and will face the People’s Republic of China He Bing Jiao who beat Chinese Taipei Tai Tzu Ying 21-15 21-10 later Saturday.
After recovering from an ACL injury that prevented her from defending her Olympic title in Tokyo, Marin won the European Championships crown in April.
The last time the 29-year-old Spaniard played in a BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament final was in Odense, Denmark in October 2020.
In his best win since returning to the tour, Marin dominated throughout, varying the direction and pace of play towards an increasingly exhausted opponent.
Yamaguchi had halted Marlin’s progress to the podiums at recent tournaments, including August’s World Cup in Tokyo, but this time Marin beat the in-form player on the circuit, her joy evident in a shout of triumph at the match point.
In the second semi-final, it took just 37 minutes to beat an ailing Tai. The 25-year-old two-time world bronze medalist will play for the title she last won six years ago in a left-handed women’s singles final on Sunday (October 30).
READ MORE: Exclusive Carolina Marin: “Sometimes your body stops you”
Meanwhile, Rasmus Gemke beat Hong Kong, the Chinese Lee Cheuk Yu in straight sets, 21-18 21-14 to advance to the men’s final on Sunday October 30.
Both players had come out of energy-guzzling combat matches in the previous round with Gemke, ranked 16th in the world, beating the World Championships silver medalist. Kunlavut Vitidsarn from Thailand (14-21 21-18 21-11).
Lee prevailed against the stubborn world number 15 Lu Guang Zu from China (21-14 11-21 21-18) but it is the Dane who hopes to do better than in his previous final at the 2020 Denmark Open where he finished second.
Gemke’s opponent will be his compatriot, Olympic champion and reigning world champion Victor Axelsen who beat the Japanese bronze medalist at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, Kodai Naraoka who played later on Saturday.
A masterclass from Axelsen was punctuated by never-to-be-said points from the young Japanese.
The 21-year-old received prolonged applause from the crowd – despite losing the point and falling 3-1 and one game less, 21-12 – for a long rally that left him slumped on the pitch and strong breathing. The Nadal-esque never-give-up attitude endeared this promising player to the crowd but legend of the sport, Axelsen emerged 21-12 21-8 winner to face his compatriot in the final on Sunday.
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In the first mixed doubles match of the day, world champions People’s Republic of China Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong took 37 minutes to beat the German duo and world bronze medalists Marc Lamsfuss and Isabelle Lohau 21-16 21-16.
Zheng and Huang are playing now Robin Tabeling and Selena Piekthe European bronze medalists from the Netherlands who beat Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto and Lisa Ayu Kusumawati of Indonesia in a later match. The Dutch pair fought back after one game and a 5-12 deficit in the second to win 17-21 21-13 21-12 in 56 minutes to eliminate Kusharjanto and Kusumawati. Piek tossed his racquet in the air with joy as they won a match point as the pair won a first-ever World Tour tournament final at any level.
In men’s doubles Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty of India defeated the Republic of Korea Choi Solgyu and Kim Wonho winner 21-18 21-14. In Sunday’s final they will face Chinese Taipei Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han who beat england Ben Lane and Sean Vendy 21-15 21-14.
In women’s doubles, Matsumoto Mayu and Nagahara Wakana beat compatriots Fukushima Yuki and Hirota Sayaka 21-14 25-23 to reach the final on Sunday.
Pearl Beige and Thinaah Muralitharan beat south korea Baek Ha Na and Lee So Hee in two consecutive matches (21-13 21-17) on Saturday afternoon to become only the second Malaysian pair to reach a women’s doubles final at Roland Garros. The previous duo – Chin Eei Hui & Wong Pei Tty – made it in 2008, losing just at the last hurdle.
Fourteen years later and 41 minutes of aggressive controlled badminton in the semis rewards the current duo with a place in Sunday’s final against two-time world champions Matsumoto and Nagahara, where they hope to do better than their compatriots.
Badminton 2022 Roland-Garros final match up on Sunday October 30
(from 1 p.m. CET)
Men’s singles final
Rasmus Gemke (DEN) against Viktor Axelsen (DEN)
Ladies’ doubles final
Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan (MAS) against Matsumoto Mayu and Nagahara Wakana (JPN)
Mixed doubles final
Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong (CHN) against Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek (NED)
Ladies’ singles final
Carolina Marin (ESP) against He Bing Jiao (CHN)
Men’s doubles final
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty (IND) against Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han (TPE)
For the full schedule, see here.