Lee storms into Japan Open final

AFP-JIJI

Lee Chong Wei will meet Thailand’s unseeded Boonsak Ponsana in the final of the Japan Open after the two-time champion breezed past Simon Santoso on Saturday.

The top seed and Olympic silver medalist, winner in Japan in 2007 and 2010, needed just over 30 minutes to see off the third seed 21-7, 21-17 in a one-sided semifinal.

“Simon seemed not to play his best. He made too many mistakes, especially in the first game, so I just needed to play my game,” said Malaysian Lee, 29.

“My next opponent tomorrow is also a veteran player. Currently, me and Lin Dan are leading the world, but I’m sure younger players will be coming up very soon.”

Indonesia’s Santoso admitted: “I was completely beaten today. I can read the course of his shuttle, but he was much more speedy and powerful. Hopefully, I can beat Lee and Lin Dan and win a big tournament like this.”

Lin, along with the rest of the China team, is not in Tokyo after they boycotted the tournament over the diplomatic wrangle over the Senkaku Islands.

Boonsak set up the Sunday showdown with Lee after he defeated unseeded Hu Yun of Hong Kong 21-17, 17-21, 21-19.

“It was really tough. I’m very tired,” said Boonsak.

“I attacked very well in the first game and put a lot of pressure on him. But I rushed too much to attack in the second game. In the final game, I tried to make a chance to attack. I was confident to beat him.”

Reflecting on his final opponent, the unseeded Boonsak said: “He plays very fast and controls the game very well. It will be very difficult. I lost to him many times, but I defeated him twice before. I will do my best.”

In the women’s draw, Eriko Hirose, the unseeded home hope who eliminated fourth seed Bae Yeon-Ju of South Korea on Friday, pulled off another upset by beating sixth seed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand 21-19, 21-13.

“I’ve never beaten her before, so I’m really happy to win today. My goal is to win a title in the Superseries. I have one more match to go. I’m going to concentrate on each point to win the title,” said Hirose.

Hirose will play Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan in the final. Tai, the fifth seed, defeated second-seeded Sung Ji-Hyun of South Korea 16-21, 21-13, 21-17.