Badminton: World No. 2 Chou to face Axelsen in All England final, top two women's seeds Chen and Tai to meet

LONDON (AFP) – Chinese Taipei’s world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen and Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen will meet in the final of badminton’s All England Championships on Sunday (March 15), after taking contrasting routes through their last-four matches on Saturday.

The seventh-ranked Axelsen had to hit back to beat Malaysian world No. 13 Lee Zii Jia 17-21, 21-13, 21-19 in Birmingham.

Chou had an easier ride as his opponent, Denmark’s Anders Antonsen, retired while trailing 17-14 in the first game.

Axelsen is bidding to avenge last year’s final defeat against current world No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan, as he looks to build on his recent success at the Barcelona Masters and good results at the Indonesia Masters and Malaysia Masters.

“It was a really tough match. Lee made it really tough for me but I just tried to stay in there and do my best,” he said.

“I managed to keep calm through to the end of the third game, but luck was also on my side as it could have gone either way.”

In the women’s singles semi-finals, Chinese world No. 1 Chen Yufei beat Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara 21-14, 23-21 and Chinese Taipei’s second-seeded Tai Tzu-ying defeated Spain’s Carolina Marin 19-21, 21-13, 21-11.

Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti beat Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith for a place in the mixed doubles final.

The 21-15, 21-23, 21-11 victory booked a showdown with Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai for the title.

The women’s doubles final features Japan’s Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota against the Chinese pair of Du Yue and Li Yinhui, while the men’s doubles final has top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia taking on Japanese Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe.

The Badminton World Federation earlier said it will put all tournaments on hold from Monday (March 16) until April 12 due to the coronavirus epidemic.

“The suspension of the circuit will come into effect following the completion of the Yonex All England Open in Birmingham on Sunday,” it said in a statement.

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