Korea’s Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong prevailed in one of the longest matches on record at the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Badminton Open, taking well over an hour and a half to defeat Japan’s world No. 1 combination of Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota in their women’s doubles semifinal.
Taking a remarkable 102 minutes and 53 shuttles, Kim and Kong outlasted their more fancied opponents to claim the match 18-21 24-22 21-18.
“That is the best win in our career so far,” said an elated but exhausted Kong.
“Our work for each other was the key to the win. We never gave up and encouraged each other all the way.
“Tomorrow will be another tough match against another Japanese pair, so we will rest and be ready to play at a high level again.”
— BWF (@bwfmedia) May 4, 2019
It could have been a lot easier had she not coughed up a 19-14 lead and concede seven straight points to lose the second game.
“At the end of the second game I became very nervous and allowed Ohori to close the gap but in the third game I attacked and smashed more and was able to get the win.”
An will play China’s Li Xuerui in the final after the London 2012 Olympic champion took another step in her return to the top of the sport following her knee injury, defeating top seed Akane Yamaguchi 13-21 21-19 21-13.
In men’s singles, Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie is back where he was this time last year, only he hopes to go one better and win.
Christie was a comfortable winner over No. 5 seed Kanta Tsuneyama 21-12 21-15 and will go into the final against Ng Ka Long Angus as a warm favourite.
Hong Kong’s Ng dished out a convincing 21-13 21-11 defeat of defending champion Lin Dan.
In what should be the match of the day, Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe take on Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan in the men’s doubles final.
For full results, click here.