Axelsen beats Chen to meet Lin Dan in world badminton final

Denmark's Viktor Axelsen makes a return to China's Long Chen, during the semi finals on day six of the 2017 BWF World Badminton Championships at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow, Scotland, Saturday Aug. 26, 2017. (Jane Barlow/PA via AP)

Chen Long's hold on badminton's biggest titles was loosened by Viktor Axelsen at the world championships

GLASGOW, Scotland — Chen Long's hold on badminton's biggest titles was loosened by Viktor Axelsen at the world championships on Saturday.

Chen won the worlds in 2014 and 2015 and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and the Chinese star was looking good this week, having not dropped a game in reaching the semifinals.

But he was blown away by Axelsen 21-9, 21-10. The Dane jumped ahead 13-2 in the first game and won 11 straight points in the second to lead 15-6. It was all over in 39 minutes.

"He played the perfect game," Chen said.

To become the first Danish or European male to win the world title in 20 years, Axelsen will have to go through badminton's greatest player, five-time champion Lin Dan, on Sunday.

"Denmark is a small country but I am very proud we can compete with the bigger countries," Axelsen said.

Lin has reached the final for the first time since his last world title in 2013 by taking out No. 1-ranked Son Wan Ho of South Korea 21-17, 21-14 in an hour. The first game was tight until it was 16-16, and the second was not a contest from 10-9 up, as Lin powered away.

Meanwhile, Nozomi Okuhara and Pusarla Sindhu reached the women's final for the first time, Okuhara the first from Japan.

Okuhara overcame 2015 runner-up Saina Nehwal of India 12-21, 21-17, 21-10.

After ousting defending two-time champion Carolina Marin in the quarterfinals, Okuhara beat Nehwal for only the second time in four years.

"In the third game she was everywhere and I was confused about what shot to play," Nehwal said.

Sindhu, the Olympic silver medallist, beat junior world champion Chen Yufei of China 21-13, 21-10.

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