JAKARTA(AFP) - Chen Long fought off a stubborn Viktor Axelsen at the world championships on Friday, with the plucky Dane pushing the top seed to the limit in an epic quarter-final showdown in Jakarta.
Chen claimed the first game but the seventh-seeded Axelsen put up a dogged defence in the second, dragging the contest beyond an hour before succumbing 18-21, 29-30.
"I was starting to prepare for the third game, but luckily I got it," Chen told reporters via a translator.
The Chinese world No. 1 progresses to the semi-finals where he will face fourth seed Kento Momota, who dispatched Hong Kong's Wei Nan 21-6, 21-14.
The 20-year-old, who won the Indonesian Open in June, said he was hoping to face Axelsen but is determined to do his best against the defending champion. "Chen Long is the No. 1 seed, so I hope to prove myself against him," the Japanese star said through a translator.
In the women's singles, world No. 1 Carolina Marin appeared at her most confident as she charged past her toughest opponent yet, seventh seed Wang Shixian of China, 21-17, 21-19.
The Spaniard showed no sign of the ankle injury she incurred on Thursday and kept her cool even as Wang put her through her paces in the second game.
Marin will next face the winner of another quarter-final match scheduled later on Friday between ninth-seeded Korean Sung Ji Hyun or India's P.V. Sindhu. "I don't care if it's going to be Sung Ji Hyun or Sindhu," a confident Marin said. "We will see who wins."
Five-time world champion Lin Dan and second seed Jan Jorgensen go head-to-head on Friday night in what is expected to be one of the tournament's fiercest contests to date.
The winner of that match will likely face Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei who has returned from an eight-month doping ban guns blazing. The unseeded former world No. 1 has already knocked off two seeded opponents in Jakarta, and is expected to do the same with Hong Kong's Hu Yun later on Friday.