Badminton star Chen sets up Malaysia final against Son

Chen Long of China hits a return against Viktor Axelsen of Denmark during the men’s singles semi-final match at the Malaysia Masters badminton tournament in Kuala Lumpur on January 19, 2019.  — AFP pic
Chen Long of China hits a return against Viktor Axelsen of Denmark during the men’s singles semi-final match at the Malaysia Masters badminton tournament in Kuala Lumpur on January 19, 2019. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR< Jan 19 — Chinese badminton star Chen Long powered into the Malaysia Masters final after easily beating defending champion Viktor Axelsen 21-13, 21-18 today to set up a showdown against South Korea’s Son Wan-ho.

Chen, seeded third in the tournament, was dominant from the outset, forcing his Danish opponent into deep pockets of the court as he dominated in the first game.

Axelsen tried to comeback in the second game, but was clearly troubled by a left knee injury that he suffered in his quarter-final win Friday, leaving Chen to cruise to victory.

“I can see that he was clearly struggling on court. After the win, I asked him if he was alright and he told me he needs to get his knee checked,” Chen said.

“I’m happy to have made my first final of the year. Tomorrow’s affair against Son will be a 50/50 encounter. I know his game well as we are both from the same generation.”

Son checked into the final in Kuala Lumpur after his opponent Liew Daren conceded a walkover due to a foot injury.

“I tried all I could until the last minute hoping that I can still compete today, but in the end I had no choice but to give a walkover as the pain is unbearable,” the Malaysian said in a message posted on Instagram.

The women’s singles saw Thai defending champion Ratchanok Intanon set up a tantalising final against Spaniard Carolina Marin.

Ratchanok dominated in her 21-16, 21-16 triumph over young Malaysian Goh Jin Wei, while Marin had little problem dispatching India’s Saina Nehwal 21-16, 21-13.

The men’s doubles saw world number one pair Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia overcome Malaysians Goh V. Shem and Tan Wee Kiong 21-18, 24-22 to set up a final against Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi. — AFP

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