Badminton: Jayaram makes his first World Superseries final in Korea, meets Chen

Ajay Jayaram of India hits a return against Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan during their singles semi-final match at the Korea Open Superseries badminton tournament in Seoul on Sept 19, 2015.
Ajay Jayaram of India hits a return against Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan during their singles semi-final match at the Korea Open Superseries badminton tournament in Seoul on Sept 19, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (AFP) - India's Ajay Jayaram continued his sensational run at the US$600,000 (S$834,400) Korea Open here on Saturday, making his first World Superseries badminton final and setting himself up against defending champion Chen Long of China for the men's singles title.

Jayaram, an underdog from the very first round where he upset Denmark's Viktor Axelsen, downed Chinese Taipei's Chou Tien-chen 21-19, 21-15 to advance to the final on Sunday.

Host South Korea assured themselves of the men's doubles gold medal and advanced to two other finals. Powerhouses China lost both in the men's doubles and women's doubles but stayed in the hunt for three titles.

Jayaram, the world No. 30, who had shown skill and tenacity in taking down opponents ranked higher than himself, continued with his careful style, keeping a tight rein on the shuttle, displaying judicious shots that found the lines and depriving the opponent of a brief lead with a net game.

"I think it's a matter of confidence; it's a culmination of all the hard work I've put in over the years," said Jayaram, who needed six months off last year due to a shoulder injury.

"I executed my strategy well. Recovering from the injury obviously made me tougher. It will be hard against Chen Long... I will think about what to do, maybe have a word with (team-mate) Kashyap as well, since he has beaten him twice."

Earlier, Chen won comfortably 21-9, 21-13 over Japan's Kento Momota.

In men's doubles match, home pair Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang upset Zhang Nan/Fu Haifeng of China, 12-21, 21-18, 21-17, to book a final against compatriots Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong, who edged out Denmark's Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen in a 100-minute thriller, 23-25, 22-20, 21-17.

For the women's singles title, South Korea's Sung Ji Hyun will clash with China's Wang Yihan on Sunday.

The South Korean female pair of Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee will vie with Indonesia's Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari for the women's doubles title.

Sung defeated Japan's Akane Yamaguchi 21-15, 15-21, 21-18 while her opponent, defending champion Wang Yihan, beat compatriot Wang Shixian 21-12, 21-19.

The mixed doubles final will feature Indonesia's Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir against familiar foes Zhang/Zhao Yunlei of China.