World No.1 Viktor Axelsen won a crushing victory against Japan’s Kodai Naraoka on Saturday to move into the Japan Open final, while South Korea’s An Se-young also secured a berth.
Axelsen, the men’s reigning world champion and Tokyo Olympics gold medallist, swiftly beat Naraoka 21-11, 21-11 in a match that lasted 45 minutes.
“I am excited about the final,” said the Danish star, who will face Indonesian Masters winner Jonatan Christie who survived a close game against India’s Lakshya Sen 21-15, 13-21, 21-16.
“I just try to do my best every single day,” said Axelsen, 29, as he looked ahead to Sunday’s final. “I have struggles and stuff to overcome but I’ve been really fortunate to have experience playing with legends,” he added.
Home favourite Naraoka, who suffers from back and foot pain, admitted Axelsen was “very powerful”.
“I couldn’t hold on because of my back and foot. I did everything I could, but it didn’t work against the world number one,” he said.
Christie, 25, speaking before Axelsen secured his victory, said he felt “a little nervous” about the final but added no one knows who will win.
Women’s World No. 2 An Se-young beat Taiwan’s fourth-seed Tai Tzu Ying - whom she defeated last week in the final of the Korea Open - 21-17, 21-12.
“I’m happy I won,” An said after the game, adding she was able to calm down and score points steadily one by one.
“I want to enjoy my game in the final and I want to achieve my usual performance,” she said.
An will face China’s He Bing Jiao who beat Gregoria Mariska Tunjung 13-21, 21-19, 21-9. He said An was “a very strong player” and that she “wants to learn from her.”
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