Go on Son: South Korean top seed crushes Lin Dan at Japan Open
Two time Olympic gold medallist is no match for world No 1, who sets up semi-final encounter against newly crowned world champion Axelsen in Tokyo
World number one Son Wan-ho overpowered two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China at the Japan Badminton Open on Friday, while newly crowned women’s world champion Nozomi Okuhara reached the women’s semi-finals.
South Korea’s Son beat the Chinese great with a hard-fought 21-15, 21-15 victory and now faces world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the semis.
Axelsen, who beat Lin to clinch the world title in Glasgow last month, brushed off a challenge from Indian ace Kidambi Srikanth 21-17, 21-17.
Defending champion Lee Chong Wei squeezed past fourth-seeded rising star Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan 21-11, 15-21, 21-19.
The Malaysian, who has won the Japan Open six times, will face Shi Yuqi in the other semi-final after the Chinese second seed beat India’s HS Prannoy 21-15, 21-14.
In the women’s draw, Okuhara pleased home fans with a 21-16, 23-21 win against Zhang Beiwen, representing the United States.
Okuhara is bidding to reclaim the trophy on home soil, after winning it in 2015.
On Thursday, she beat her arch-rival, Pusarla V Sindhu, reprising her victory over the Indian in the world championships final.
But the home fans were left disappointed elsewhere in the draw when second seed Akane Yamaguchi, winner here in 2013, was defeated by Spanish fifth seed Carolina Marin.