chen.long.12World number one Chen Long advanced to the finals of the men’s singles at the world badminton championships on Saturday for a second year running, while top seed Carolina Marin also earned the chance to defend her women’s world title.Chen smashed Kento Momota of Japan 21-9, 21-15, ending the young player’s dreams of clinching his maiden world crown in Jakarta. 

The Chinese shuttler will play either Jan O. Jorgensen of Denmark, who has never made a world championship final, or Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, a veteran and three-time runner up at badminton’s premier event.  

“It will be a tough match,” he said of the impending final. 

“We’ve competed against one other before, so I know how they play.” 

Momota, who won the Indonesian Open in Jakarta in June and had medal ambitions at the world championships, knew beating Chen was a long shot but was disappointed with his performance. 

“I was upset because I expected this match to be fierce, but today I made many misses and lost easily,” the 20-year-old said via a translator. 

Meanwhile Marin, who almost didn’t make the world championships due to injury, staged a gripping comeback against South Korea’s Sung Ji-Hyun to book a second-straight finals appearance. 

The top seed and defending champion screamed in triumph as she emerged victorious after a 90-minute battle over Sung 21-17, 15-21, 21-16. 

Marin claimed the first game comfortably but lost her composure in the second, becoming increasingly frustrated as her unforced errors mounted and her lead slipped away.

She trailed Sung in the third game 13-8 before rallying, taking 10 unanswered points in a fiery comeback that left her Korean opponent spinning.

Marin was overjoyed at earning the chance to defend her world title, but acknowledged she let herself down mentally. 

“Today I was nervous and sometimes I was angry with myself because I wasn’t thinking about what I had to do, I was thinking about the score,” the 22-year-old European champion told reporters. 

“That made me angrier with myself.”

Sung said she was struggling with stamina after enduring an 82-minute quarter-final marathon against Indian shuttler P.V. Sindhu. 

The Korean, who beat Marin in the final of the German Open in March, also took a few tumbles during the match, later complaining of cramping. 

“At the end I tried to push myself and fight back,” she said. 

“I was disappointed I lost in the end.” 

Marin will seek to defend her title against the winner of another semi-final match scheduled later on Saturday between second-seeded Indian Saina Nehwal and sixth-seeded Chinese shuttler Wang Yihan. 

For a second year in a row it will be an all Chinese affair in the finals of the mixed doubles.

Top-ranked pair Zhang Nang and Zhao Yunlei defeated resilient Indonesian duo Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, while fourth seeded Chinese pair Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin beat their second seeded compatriots Xu Chen and Ma Jin.

The finals of the men’s and women’s doubles will also be determined in semi-final clashes later Saturday.  – Agence France-Presse

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