Son crushes Lin to reach Japan Open semis

Son Wan-Ho beat the Chinese great Lin Dan in a hard-fought 21-15, 21-15 victory and faces world champion Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in the semis.

South Korea's Son Wan Ho in action. (File photo)   -  AFP

World number one Son Wan-Ho overpowered two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China at the Japan Badminton Open on Friday, while newly crowned women's world champion Nozomi Okuhara reached the women's semifinals.

South Korea's Son beat the Chinese great in a hard-fought 21-15, 21-15 victory and now faces world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the semis.

Axelsen, who clinched beat Lin to clinch the world title in Glasgow last month, brushed off a challenge from Indian ace Kidambi Srikanth 21-17, 21-17.

Defending champion Lee Chong Wei squeezed past fourth-seeded rising star Chou Tien-chen of Taipei 21-11, 15-21, 21-19. The Malaysian, who has won the Japan Open six times, will face Shi Yuqi in the other semifinal after the Chinese second seed beat India's HS Prannoy 21-15, 21-14.

In the women's draw, Okuhara pleased home fans with a 21-16, 23-21 win against Beiwen Zhang, representing the United States. Okuhara is bidding to reclaim the trophy on home soil, after winning it in 2015.

On Thursday, she beat her P. V. Sindhu, reprising her victory over the Indian in the world championships final. But the home fans were left disappointed elsewhere in the draw when second seed Akane Yamaguchi, winner here in 2013, was defeated by Spanish fifth seed Carolina Marin.

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