Taiwanese badminton star cruises into semis at All England Open

Tzu-ying faces Japan's Akane Yamaguchi Saturday for a place in the finals

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(Facebook/Tai Tzu Ying)

(Facebook/Tai Tzu Ying)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Playing only her second tournament of the year, Taiwan's Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) seems to have regained her form after advancing to the semifinals of the All England Open on Friday.

Tai, who has won the women's singles at the US$1 million tournament the past two years, topped India's Saina Nehwal 21-15, 21-19 in 37 minutes in their quarterfinals match Friday morning.

She will face fourth-seeded Akane Yamaguchi of Japan on Saturday for a place in the finals.

The Taiwanese continued her mastery of Nehwal, defeating her for the 13th consecutive time dating back to late 2014, but had to work hard to win the second game after falling behind early 8-3.

Tai had previously defeated Michelle Li of Canada 21-12, 21-15 and Beiwen Zhang of the United States 21-15, 21-14 to reach the quarterfinals.

The world No. 1 Taiwanese is hoping to emulate China's Xie Xingfang (謝杏芳), who was the last women's player to win the All England Open three straight times, from 2005 to 2007, but she has struggled the past four months.

She retired injured at the Hong Kong Open and the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals late last year, and then crashed out in the quarterfinals of the Malaysia Masters in January when she was clearly not at her best.