Sooyoung Yu proved as youthful as his name, as he and partner Hyun Ah Kwon endured a 50-minute test to see off WH1-WH2 top seeds Choi Jung Man/Lee Sun Ae 21-15 20-22 22-20 to collect their Spanish Para Badminton International 2023 final pass. In another surprise, the Korean also defeated Chan Ho Yuen Daniel 11-21 24-22 22-11 in the WH2 quarterfinal.
“I’m not aiming to charm anyone, I’m here to win,” said Yu following his victory over Chan.
“I woke up feeling confident. My coach suggested some image training – imagine what it would be like to play Chan. I didn’t think about losing, I went in with a winning feeling. I wasn’t nervous, I had feelings of competence inside me.”
“I usually eat some tasty Korean food, but I’ve had enough this week. I will seek something else before my match,” he laughed.
This will be their second encounter, with the head-to-head 1-0 in favour of Ferrigno/Jauregui.
Old Partnerships Renewed
Some habits die hard, and the same can be said about on-court partnerships.
The pair split in 2020, with Kajiwara going on to form a partnership with Keita Nishimura, but are now back together for the start of the Para badminton season.
“It’s a secret why we are back together,” joked Murayama post his doubles victory.
“We are a great match on court. The key is our communication. We work hard and are dedicated. Now our goal is to reach the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. I’m not sure how I’ll sleep before the final, I’m so excited.”
Murayama was also the victor in his WH1 singles match, ousting reigning world champion Thomas Wandschneider for his second finals spot.
“I won because I’m younger,” he laughed.
Pilar of Strength
Jauregui will also contest two finals in Vitoria-Gasteiz, hoping to add to her 16-gold medal tally (six in women’s singles, five each in women’s and mixed doubles).
The Peruvian will challenge Yuma Yamazaki, an opponent she knows well, for the WH2 women’s singles crown. The world champion is 6-1 down in the head-to-head.