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Kento Momota survives to move closer to 10th badminton title of 2019

AFP-JIJI

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.

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