Badminton: Viktor Axelsen reaches Japan Open final, faces Lee Chong Wei

Viktor Axelsen of Denmark celebrates his victory against Son Wan-Ho of South Korea during their men’s singles semifinal match at the Japan Open Badminton Championships in Tokyo on September 23, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 23 September 2017
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Badminton: Viktor Axelsen reaches Japan Open final, faces Lee Chong Wei

TOKYO: Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen defeated world number one Son Wan-Ho in the men’s singles semifinals at the Japan Open on Saturday.
Axelsen, who beat two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China to clinch the world title in Glasgow last month, overpowered South Korea’s Son with a 21-16, 21-16 win.
He now faces Malaysian Lee Chong Wei who has won the Japan Open six times. Lee booked a spot in the final after a 21-19, 21-8 win over China’s Shi Yuqi.
In the women’s singles, Spain’s Carolina Marin, Olympic gold medalist last year, reached the final as Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara dropped out from the semifinals due to knee trouble.
Marin faces China’s He Bingjiao who beat Chen Yufei 21-14, 25-23.
Okuhara, newly crowned women’s world champion, was aiming to reclaim the trophy on home soil after winning it in 2015.
Home fans at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium expressed disappointment when the organizers announced her withdrawal.
“I did my best (to recover) but this morning, I wasn’t in the condition to play,” Okuhara, 22, told reporters, according to Sankei Sports.
“I was ready for a battle mentally but my body was telling me I couldn’t,” she said in tears.


Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne close to Manchester City return, says Pep Guardiola

Updated 14 December 2018
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Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne close to Manchester City return, says Pep Guardiola

MANCHESTER: Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne are both on the verge of a return to action for Manchester City as a busy December program gathers pace, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.
Aguero, City’s leading scorer, has missed their past four matches with a groin problem but has been able to train without discomfort and could face Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Belgium midfielder De Bruyne suffered ligament damage to his right knee in August and although he returned in October, he then injured his left knee during the League Cup win over Fulham on November 1.
He too has resumed full training and Guardiola will assess both players in the hope that his lengthy casualty list might be about to ease.
The manager, though, is optimistic on 30-year-old Aguero, who has 12 goals in all competitions this season.
“He did the last two training sessions, including on Thursday and he has no pain in his injury so we’ll decide,” he said.
“Kevin is in the same situation as Sergio. Yesterday he trained with no pain, we will see.”
The win over Hoffenheim enabled City to get back on track after the disappointment of seeing their 15-match unbeaten start to the Premier League season end in a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea last Saturday.
“Last season, when we dropped points, we were able to respond with another big run,” he said.