Lee Chong Wei on course for record seventh Japan Open title

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Lee Chong Wei's rediscovered form will be put to the test when he takes on Viktor Axelsen in Japan Open final. (photo: AP)
Lee Chong Wei's rediscovered form will be put to the test when he takes on Viktor Axelsen in Japan Open final. (photo: AP)

Tokyo: Lee Chong Wei is now one win away from becoming the most successful male player in Japan Open history after blowing past No. 2 seed Shi Yuqi of China 21-19, 21-8 in the semi-final on Saturday. Lee had more difficulty today in the first round, particularly after Shi reeled off 6 straight points to open a huge gap with 11-4 in the first set.

Nevertheless, Lee recomposed himself, clawed back slowly and snatched an improbable first set victory. Lee completely destroyed Shi in the second set with an 18-5 advantage before wrapping up the semi-final match in his favor.

“I was behind in the first set, but I was fighting for every point,” said Lee.

Lee will play the reigning World Champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the final. Tomorrow’s final will also be Lee’s 100th final appearances in international tournaments.

Meanwhile, the No. 3 seed Viktor Axelsen outlasted No. 1 seed Son Wan-Ho 21-16, 21-16 to advance to the men’s final.

“Tomorrow will be a tough match, because I have only defeated Lee once. I have a lot of respect for Lee,” said Axelsen.

In men’s doubles, No. 3 seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia avoided their fourth consecutive defeats in the hands of No. 1 seeds Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen of Denmark, playing with speed, power, and precision, the Indonesians picked up a straight-sets 21-15, 21-14 victory to meet Takuto Inoue/Yuki Kaneko of Japan in the final.

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