Ratchanok loses Dubai thriller

Ratchanok loses Dubai thriller

DUBAI: Ratchanok Intanon's run at the season-ending Dubai World Superseries Finals ended on Saturday evening with a semi-final loss to nemesis Akane Yamaguchi in a fiercely contested match.

The Japanese world No.3 outlasted her Thai rival in three sets (17-21, 21-12, 21-19) in a match that lasted 72 minutes at the Badminton World Federation event at the Hamdan Sports Complex.

The deciding set featured some stirring rallies before Yamaguchi clawed her way back from a 14-18 deficit to pull ahead for good.

The two players have now met 17 times with Yamaguchi winning 10 of those encounters. She also defeated Ratchanok last month at the China Open, which she went on to win.

In Sunday's final, Yamaguchi will face either world No.2 Pusarla V Sindhu of India or eighth-ranked Chen Yufei of China, who were to play later on Saturday.

Still, it has been a good comeback season for Ratchanok, who was the 2013 world champion before injuries set her back. She won three Grand Prix Gold tournaments in Thailand, New Zealand and Denmark, which lifted her three spots to sixth in the women’s singles world rankings.

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