Badminton: World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen sets up tantalising China Open final with Chen Long

Viktor Axelsen of Denmark (left) shakes hands with Angus Ng Ka-long of Hong Kong during their men's singles semi-final match at the China Open 2017 Badminton Championships in Fuzhou on Saturday (Nov 18).
Viktor Axelsen of Denmark (left) shakes hands with Angus Ng Ka-long of Hong Kong during their men's singles semi-final match at the China Open 2017 Badminton Championships in Fuzhou on Saturday (Nov 18).PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (AFP) - World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark will play the reigning Olympic champion and home hopeful Chen Long in Sunday's (Nov 19) mouthwatering final of the China Open.

In the women's draw in Fuzhou, the Japanese fifth seed Akane Yamaguchi takes on the Chinese qualifier Gao Fangjie, who had previously never made it past the first round of a Superseries event.

The 23-year-old Axelsen, the current world champion and top seed, needed just 39 minutes to defeat unseeded Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong 21-12, 21-17 in their one-sided semi-final on Saturday (Nov 18).

The imperious Axelsen is just one win away from his maiden China Open triumph.

But first, he must see off the sixth seed Chen, who booked his final-two ticket with a topsy-turvy 21-17, 10-21, 21-7 victory over South Korea's second seed Son Wan Ho in 71 minutes.

Chen, 28, holds a strong advantage in his meetings with Axelsen, beating the Dane seven times and losing to him just once.

The home crowd will also have another Chinese to roar in Sunday's women's final in the form of 19-year-old surprise package Gao.

The teenager stunned current Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain 21-19, 21-19 in one hour.

Gao's opponent in the decider will be the Japanese Yamaguchi, who defeated Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon, seeded eighth, 21-14, 21-18.