• Kyodo

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Japan’s men reached the Thomas Cup badminton tournament final on Friday with a hard-fought 3-2 win over defending champions Denmark.

Kento Momota opened Japan’s campaign with a convincing 21-17, 21-9 victory over reigning world champ and world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in the singles. Former world No. 2 Momota scored five consecutive points when he was leading 15-8 in the second game and sealed the match in 40 minutes.

Kenta Nishimoto beat Hans-Kristian Vittinghus 21-19, 21-12 in the third rubber, after the duo of Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda suffered a 21-18, 21-15 defeat to Mathias Boe and Mads Conrad-Petersen in the doubles.

Denmark leveled with a 17-21, 21-16, 21-15 win by the pair of Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen over Takuto Inoue and Yuki Kaneko in 1 hour 17 minutes. But Kanta Tsuneyama defeated Jan O Jorgensen 21-18, 21-11 in the final match to give Japan a spot in Sunday’s final against China.

Earlier in the day, Japan’s women also advanced to the final of the Uber Cup with a 3-1 victory over South Korea. Top-seeded Japan will try to win the tournament for the first time in 37 years when they face hosts Thailand in the decider on Saturday.

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