Defending champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand reached the women's singles final at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Malaysia Masters – but defending men’s champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark was beaten in his semi-final by China’s Chen Long.
Intanon had earned a quarter-final win over world number one Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in a repeat of last year's final in this event.
The Thai player made relatively short work of Malaysia’s Goh Jin Wei as she progressed with a 21-16, 21-16 scoreline at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.
But she faces another huge task in the final, where she will face Spain’s reigning Olympic and world champion Carolina Marin, who took just 40 minutes to win her semi-final against India’s Saina Nehwal 21-16, 21-13.
“She was really quick,” said Nehwal of her Spanish opponent.
“She’s one step faster than the others.
“I’m happy that I could manage to reach this level.
“My adjustments did work."
Nehwal added: "Maybe the last loss at the World Championships was playing on my mind.
“But I was better this time.
“It wasn’t an easy match but I was moving – there I wasn’t even attempting to play the shuttle.”
Goh’s compatriot Liew Daren beat China’s second seed Shi Yuqi 21-12, 16-21, 21-11 in his quarter-final but finished complaining of a foot injury that prevented him taking to the court for his scheduled men’s semi-final today against South Korea’s Son Wan Ho.
Son thus had an extra day to prepare for the final, where he will meet China’s world fourth-ranked Chen, who earned his 12th win in 14 meetings over an error-ridden Axelsen 21-13 21-18.