Badminton: Malaysian veteran Lee Chong Wei earns Malaysia Open final duel against Kento Momota

Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in action during men's semi-finals match against Tommy Sugiarto (not pictured) of Indonesia at the Malaysia Open in Kuala Lumpur on June 30, 2018.
Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in action during men's semi-finals match against Tommy Sugiarto (not pictured) of Indonesia at the Malaysia Open in Kuala Lumpur on June 30, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei set up a sensational final clash against Japan's Kento Momota at badminton's Malaysia Open, after an easy 21-18, 21-15 victory over Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto in the semi-finals on Saturday (June 30).

The triumph meant the 35-year-old extended his win record against Sugiarto, 30, to 17-0 following the 53-minute victory.

Favourite Lee has won the Malaysia Open 11 times, and a win on Sunday would cement his status as the most successful player in the tournament.

But the world No. 6 faces a tough task against the powerful Momota, who is unbeaten in 21 matches.

"I just hope to realise my dream of winning for the 12th time in the Malaysia Open, and to play well again," he said after the victory.

"Momota is a youngster who has improved a lot," Lee said, adding, "he can conquer the world of badminton once...(I) retire. But I will enjoy the final tomorrow and play my best."

Momota was suspended in 2016 by the Nippon Badminton Association for gambling at an illegal casino.

But the 23-year-old has made steady progress since his ban was lifted in May 2017, clinching his first major title by winning the Asian Championships in April this year.

Momota beat Lee in the semi-finals and went on to shock Olympic gold medallist Chen Long to be crowned badminton's continental champion in a stunning upset.

On Saturday, Momota was again in brilliant form, needing just 42 minutes to see off India's Srikanth Kidambi 21-13, 21-13.

The women's singles saw top seed Tai Tzu-ying set up a final clash against China's He Bingjiao.

She ousted India's P.V. Sindhu, the third seed, 21-15, 19-21, 21-11, while He overcame Thailand's fourth-seeded Ratchanok Intanon 21-17, 21-17.