French Open: Idol Conquered, Ohori Basks in ‘My Moment’

For so long, Aya Ohori had been waiting to step onto the court with her idol Carolina Marin.

On YONEX French Open 2023 quarterfinals day, that wish became a reality as the Japanese faced off against the 2016 Olympic champion in their first-ever encounter. The showdown was nothing short of spectacular, with Ohori defeating the Spaniard 21-18 21-18 to secure her ticket to the semifinals.

“I can’t quite believe it, this is crazy,” an elated Ohori, through to her first Super 750 semifinal since the 2018 Japan Open, exclaimed post-match. “I’ve wanted to play her for so long that just meeting in the draw was the biggest goal.

“I knew it was going to be tough, Marin is physically strong. This morning I was so excited about the match and that helped me mentally. This is my moment, and I’m going to enjoy it.”

An ecstatic Ohori.

The win meant so much more as it was achieved in front a lifelong supporter.

“My father is my biggest fan. He’s a busy man, but he’s here in Rennes with me, watching my matches. I hope I did him proud,” said Ohori, at 19th Japan’s second highest-ranked women’s singles player after world No.2 Akane Yamaguchi.

Regarding her aspirations to break into the world top 10, Ohori said: “If I keep playing at the level I did against Marin and the Asian Games (where she won a bronze medal), I can get there. But my main focus at the moment is qualifying for the (Paris 2024) Olympics.”

The 27-year-old now sets her sights on her next immediate target, semifinal opponent Tai Tzu Ying.

Meanwhile, former world champion Loh Kean Yew became the first Singaporean to qualify for a French Open semifinal after ousting 2016 winner Shi Yu Qi 21-17 21-19.

“Wow, I’m shocked. That’s great news and I’m happy to create a bit of history. I hope my form is good enough to win the semifinal,” he said.

Loh plays Jonatan Christie, who came through a dicey encounter with Kodai Naraoka 21-8 25-23. Christie leads the head-to-head 6-0.

 Results (Quarterfinals)

 Order of play (Semifinals)

Loh the first Singaporean to reach the French Open semifinals.


“I know my record against him hasn’t been good. That can play on my mind but today I was really positive.” – Li Shi Feng on defeating Anthony Sinisuka Ginting for the first time in five attempts

“I’ve played a lot of matches on the European leg after the Asian Games and it’s most important to keep healthy and away from injury.” – Tai after defeating Supanida Katethong 21-16 10-21 21-17

“It was daunting to face the world’s top mixed pair (Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong). We had to rise up to the challenge and give our best and things turned out well.” – Jeong Na Eun after combining with Kim Won Ho to see off the defending champs

“They are an incredibly strong pair, they put us under a lot of pressure. They have huge potential to go deep into tournaments.”Wakana Nagahara dishes out compliments for Margot Lambert/Anne Tran

“I might knock on the door to wake her up at midnight.” – He Bing Jiao joking about playing teammate Chen Yu Fei in the semifinal after she defeated Pornpawee Chochuwong 24-22 21-16

He has a good sense of humour.

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