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BIRMINGHAM, England (Kyodo) Eriko Hirose beat Bulgarian Petya Nedelcheva in the badminton women’s singles semifinals on Saturday to become the first Japanese in 32 years to book a spot in the final at the All England Open.

After a shocking victory over fifth-seeded Saina Nehwal of India in the quarterfinals, the unseeded Hirose blew past Nedeltcheva, 21-15, 22-20, to book a meeting against Chinese top seed Wang Shixian in Sunday’s final.

The 26-year-old pumped her first in the air after the opponent’s shot hit the net at match point. Hirose is the first Japanese to make a final at the meet since Saori Kondo achieved the feat in 1979.

“I am really happy. I was able to keep moving well throughout the match,” said Hirose. “I’ve come this far, so I want to play a good match in the final and aim for victory,” she said.

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