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Top-ranked Axelsen sets up mouthwatering badminton final

Viktor Axelsen of Denmark is just one win away from his maiden China Open triumph. (AFP)
SHANGHAI: World number one Viktor Axelsen of Denmark will play the reigning Olympic champion and home hope Chen Long in Sunday’s 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 semifinal on Saturday.
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 ticket for the final 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 eight, 21-14, 21-18.

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