Badminton: Lin Dan powers into seventh world final

China's Lin Dan returns against South Korea's Son Wan Ho. PHOTO: AFP

GLASGOW (AFP) - Lin Dan stayed on course for a record sixth men's singles title at the badminton world championships with a stunning semi-final victory over top seed Son Wan-Ho in Glasgow on Saturday (Aug 26).

Lin, who last won the title in 2013, defeated Son 21-17, 21-14 to reach his seventh world final.

In the gold-medal decider the Chinese star will face Denmark's Viktor Axelsen.

Lin, 33, may have reached the latter stages of his career, but he outsmarted the 29-year-old world number one from South Korea.

A run of five points in a row from 16-15 down helped seal the first game and he pressed home his advantage midway through the second.

"Everyone is talking about my age, but I have proved I can still play at a high level," he said.

"Men's singles is very tough these days, it is a very hard route to the final.

"I always feel nervous before big matches, but I am very happy that I have had great support here.

"I watched Viktor's semi-final and he's playing very well. Tomorrow is the last match and I will be giving 1000 per cent."

In his semi-final, Axelsen gained revenge over Chinese defending champion Chen Long.

The last Danish winner was Peter Rasmussen 20 years ago, with his title also coming in Glasgow.

The only other Dane to win the title was Flemming Delfs at the inaugural 1977 championships.

Axelsen, the third seed, wasted little time in dispatching the Olympic champion.

The score was 21-9, 21-10 and the match lasted a mere 39 minutes.

Chen had won the title in 2014 and 2015 and added the Olympic gold medal in Rio last year.

"I'm stunned. I never expected to win so comfortably and I am so very happy," Axelsen said.

"I made very few mistakes today. It was almost error free.

"It was nice to get revenge from the Olympic semi-finals. I am very proud of myself." .


Chen was disappointed, but gave credit to his opponent.

"Viktor played very well. Yesterday, I was the last men's singles on court, and today I was the first," he said.

"I need to get better at playing at a consistent level whenever I play. Now I will go home and prepare for the national championships."

In the women's singles, Japan's Nozomi Okuhara had to fight back from one game down to make it to the final day, defeating India's Saina Nehwal 12-21, 21-17, 21-10.

On Friday, the seventh seed had knocked out the reigning and Olympic Champion, Carolina Marin.

"I am very happy to have beaten another great opponent," said Okuhara.

"When I was struggling in the first game I thought back to last night's match against Marin and that got me playing much better.

"I do not want to stop at the final, I want to win gold."

Indonesia's Mohammad Ahsan and Rian Agung Saputro continued their giant killing act to reach the final of the men's doubles.

The new partnership knocked out Chinese top seeds Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen in the first round and the semi-final 21-12, 21-15 victory ended the hopes of Japan's fourth seeds Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda.

"It is great to go through to a world final," said Ahsan. "We knew we could do well this week."

There was also a shock in the women's doubles with top seeds Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi going out.

Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan, the Chinese fourth seeds, beat the Japanese favourites 21-17, 21-15.

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