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.”
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.
“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.
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