Daren powers on to make the semis in Nanjing

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Daren Liew has become a household name in the badminton fraternity worldwide as slogged for 80 minutes in an energy-sapping quarter-final match against Japan’s Kanta Tuneyama for a 22-20, 21-23, 22-20 win to reach the semi-finals in the World Championships in Nanjing, China on Friday.

In the semi-finals, on Saturday the 30-year-old former Thomas Cupper will face either Japan’s Kento Momota or India’s B. Sai Praneeth. The two played a late match.

For Daren, his remarkable run in Nanjing has made him the talk of the badminton world in the wake of his 21-18, 21-18 win over India’s fifth seed K. Srikanth in the third round on Thursday.

Daren has shown tremendous fighting qualities and with his achievements in Nanjing, it will not be a surprise if the former French Open champions make the final against all odds.

Probably no one even gave him hopes of keeping the Malaysian flag flying in the men’s singles after the last minute withdrawal of Datuk Lee Chong Wei because of respiratory problems. Chong Wei has also pulled out of the Asian Games in Jakarta later this month.

Meanwhile, defending champion and world No 1 and top Viktor Axelsen was dumped out in the quarter-finals. The lanky Dane fell to reigning Olympic champion Chen Long in straight games 21-19, 21-11.

With the win, Chen Long set up and all-China semi-final clash against third seed Shi Yuqi who ousted seventh seed Chou Tien-chen of Chinese Taipei 16-21, 21-15, 21-18. RIZAL ABDULLAH 


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