Badminton: Lee cruises through to Japan final

TOKYO (AFP) - Malaysia's world No.1 Lee Chong Wei crushed fifth-seeded Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam to reach the Japan Open final on Saturday, brushing aside controversy at home over the resignation of his coach.

The top seed and defending champion whipped the world bronze medallist 21-10, 21-5 in 29 minutes in their semi-final at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Lee will play the seventh seed and hometown favourite Kenichi Tago on Sunday, hoping to lift a record fourth Japan Open title.

Tago beat China's Gao Huan 21-12, 21-12 in the other semi-final.

On Thursday, Rashid Sidek tendered his resignation as Malaysia's national singles coach, according to press reports from Kuala Lumpur.

Rashid - who was not in Tokyo - reportedly said he was frustrated and disappointed with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) over its treatment of coaches.

"Before I left Malaysia I was aware of various issues concerning the coaches," Lee said through an interpreter after his semi-final win.

"But I am an athlete and for now I want to concentrate on my game and win," said the 30-year-old, who was stretchered off with cramps and dehydration in the world championship final against his Chinese arch-rival Lin Dan last month.

Asked how he felt about the BAM, Lee said: "As an athlete, it may be impossible for me to change anything about the association.

"After going home, I will consult everyone and think if I should make any decision."

Lee has not lost a single game in reaching the final, while second seed Chen Long of China crashed out in the first round.

Lee jumped to a 7-0 lead in the first game against Minh and never looked back, although the Vietnamese came as close as 17-9 at one point,

In the second game Lee scored 10 straight points to 14-2, dazzling with smashes and net kills. After yielding a few points, he finished Minh off by returning his smash close inside the baseline.

"Nguyen is a kind of player who can return wherever you hit so I kept on hitting patiently and went all out for any good chance I found," Lee said.

An all-Japanese women's final was set up after Akane Yamaguchi beat Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu-ying 26-24, 21-14 and Shizuka Uchida shocked fourth seed Wang Yihan of China.

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