SEOUL: World number one Lee Chong-Wei powered into the final at the Korea Open on Saturday, setting up a mouthwatering clash with arch-rival Lin Dan as the battle at the top of the men’s game hots up.
Both shuttlers were in blistering form in their semifinals: Malaysia’s Lee trounced China’s Du Pengyu 21-8, 21-13 and world number two Lin ‘Super’ Dan from China knocked off Sho Sasaki of Japan almost as easily, 21-16, 21-14.
Lee overwhelmed his opponent with 16 smash winners in a contest that was over after 37 minutes, while Lin took ten minutes more – and notched up 20 smash winners – to dispatch with the Japanese shuttler.
The final takes on extra significance after Lin’s victory at the World Superseries Finals in December, where Lee went tumbling out in a shock semifinal defeat to another Chinese ace, Chen Long.
In the women’s draw, world number three from China Wang Shixian reached the singles finals when she beat South Korea’s Bae Youn-Joo 21-15, 21-16.
Wang will face her compatriot Jiang Yanjiao after she ousted world number one Wang Yihan 21-13, 21-19 to set up an all-China final.
In women’s doubles, China’s Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei lost the first game 24-26 to South Korea’s Jung Kyung-Eun/Kim Ha-Na but they easily won the second game 21-5 before finished it off 21-13.
They will meet Ha Jung-Eun/Kim Min-Jung from South Korea who came from behind to see off China’s Wang Xiaoli/Yu Yang 12-21, 21-15, 21-17.
In men’s doubles Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng from China defeated South Korea’s Ko Sung-Hyun and Yoo Yeon-Seong 21-13, 21-14.
They will meet another South Korean pair Jung Jae-Sung/Lee Yong-Dae who defeated their compatriots Kim Ki-Jung/Kim Sa-Rang 21-15, 27-25.
The one-million dollar event, the first Super Series of the new season, has enthused local fans, who packed out the 4,000-seat Jamsil Olympic Gymnasium in South Korea’s capital.