FUZHOU, CHINA – Defending champion and world No. 1 Kento Momota battled past former No. 1 Viktor Axelsen to reach the Fuzhou China Open semifinals on Friday.
The 25-year-old, who is chasing a 10th title of 2019, suffered a second-game wobble before winning 21-18, 12-21, 21-16 in their quarterfinal.
Momota will play Axelsen’s fellow Dane Rasmus Gemke, who is unseeded, in the last four on Saturday.
The victory for the all-action Momota, the reigning two-time world champion, was his 13th in 15 matches against Axelsen, now ranked sixth in the world.
“I’m getting closer and closer,” the 25-year-old Axelsen, whose career has recently been disrupted by injury, said after forcing Momota to three games.
The other semifinal is between the second seed Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan and another Dane, Anders Antonsen.
In the women’s draw, world No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan faces Japan’s world No. 2 Nozomi Okuhara in the semifinals.
Tai was forced to fight for her spot in the last four, defeating unseeded Kim Ga-Eun of South Korea 21-15, 11-21, 21-13.
The second semifinal is between reigning Fuzhou champion Chen Yufei, the home hope, and unseeded Michelle Li of Canada.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5