Badminton: Local star Yamaguchi upsets Olympic champion Li in Japan Open q-finals

Akane Yamaguchi of Japan hits a return against eighth-seeded Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea during their Japan Open Superseries badminton tournament women's singles first round match in Tokyo on Sept 9, 2015.
Akane Yamaguchi of Japan hits a return against eighth-seeded Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea during their Japan Open Superseries badminton tournament women's singles first round match in Tokyo on Sept 9, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - London Olympic gold medallist Li Xuerui of China crashed out of the women's singles quarter-finals of the Japan Open on Friday, as local star Akane Yamaguchi moved towards reclaiming the crown.

Yamaguchi, winner here in 2013, beat Li 21-19, 13-21, 21-16, to reach the semi-final where she will face former world No. 1 and seventh-seeded Wang Shixian of China.

It came a day after reigning world No. 1 Saina Nehwal of India suffered a shock defeat by Japan's Minatsu Mitani.

Mitani, however, was also ousted from the tournament on Friday by her compatriot Nozomi Okuhara, who will fight fourth-seed Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan on Saturday.

In the men's singles, two-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time world champion Lin Dan brushed off a challenge from fellow Chinese player Tian Houwei 21-14, 21-18.

Lin will face Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia on Saturday.

Sixth-seed Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan downed Parupalli Kashyap of India 21-14, 21-18.

He will face Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, who beat South Korea's Lee Dong Keun 23-21, 21-17.