The Indian, who had a disappointing early season at the Asian Leg in Bangkok, appeared to have rediscovered her intensity and aggression. With Yamaguchi also forcing the pace, the match showcased some great badminton between the two attack-minded opponents.
It was touch-and-go in the third as Yamaguchi closed down a mid-game gap to take it to the home stretch, but Pusarla’s attack was on point in the final moments as she took the match 16-21 21-16 21-19. She will next face Pornpawee Chochuwong, while in the lower half of the draw, second seed Nozomi Okuhara takes on fourth seed Ratchanok Intanon.
“I was very focussed,” Pusarla said. “I’m happy about reaching the semifinals but it’s not over yet. I’ll be playing against Pornpawee (Chochuwong), and I don’t want to think about our previous matches. It’s going to be a new match.”
“The Asian Leg wasn’t good for me. I was really focussed after that, and the training was good. Beating Mia (Blichfeldt) in the Swiss Open was very important; I’d lost to her in Bangkok.”
“Against Yamaguchi it was always a long match and I was prepared for that. It was important for me to keep my focus despite losing the first game. Even though it was tiring I pushed myself.
“I am playing against Yamaguchi after a long time, I think the last we played was in 2019. I’m sure she would have trained very hard. Today’s match was a good, tough long match. Every point was very important. Overall, it was anybody’s game but I’m happy to be on the winning side.”