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BADMINTON

Axelsen will try to stop Lee’s march to title

14th seed Viktor Axelsen secured a place in the Badminton World Championships final round but will have to face Lee Chong Wei, who is on a roll in Copenhagen.

Axelsen will try to stop Lee's march to title
Denmark's Viktor Axelsen will face off against top-ranked Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia on Saturday at the 2014 BWF Badminton World championships in suburban Copenhagen. Photo: Johnathan Nackstrad/Scanpix
Top-ranked Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia continued his charge towards an elusive first world championship title by coasting into the semi-finals of the men's singles in Copenhagen on Friday
while rising Indian star P.V. Sindhu won through to the last four of the women's draw.
 
Lee, twice a runner-up at the world event, displayed his class by shredding apart Chinese sixth seed Wang Zhengming to record a comprehensive 21-8, 21-11 victory.
 
The Malaysian aligned impeccable defence with ruthless efficiency as he capitalised on the opportunities that came his way to make light work of his opponent, a former world junior champion, and stay on course for a title showdown with China's world number two Chen Long.
 
"I used yesterday to prepare for the game today and everything went to plan," said Lee, who was rarely tested in his last-16 clash with Ireland's Scott Evans on Thursday. "It's true I tried to shorten the points and avoid long rallies. That was the plan. Now I'm just looking forward to tomorrow (Saturday)."
 
Next up for Lee will be Denmark's Viktor Axelsen. The 14th seed, and the Danes' remaining home hope, was a 21-14, 21-14 winner over Taiwan's Chou Tien-chen, for a place in the final.
 
Earlier Chen clawed his way past South Korean seventh seed Son Wan-ho 21-14, 12-21, 21-17 to keep China firmly in contention to win a seventh consecutive singles title.
 
Chen will play fifth seed Tommy Sugiarto in the semis after the Indonesian laboured his way past 37th-ranked Dutchman Eric Pang 22-20, 21-19.
 
Sindhu guaranteed another bronze
Indian teenager P.V. Sindhu made history as she stunned China's All-England champion Wang Shixian 19-21, 21-19, 21-15 to reach the last four and become the first player from her country to win multiple world championship medals.
 
Sindhu, who doesn't turn 20 until next July, won bronze a year ago in Guangzhou and is guaranteed at least bronze in Denmark after disposing of second seed Wang in an 85-minute marathon.
 
"I'm very happy. It was a really long match," said the 11th seed, who saved three match points in the previous round against South Korea's Bae Yeon-ju."I was trailing 16-12 in the second set and made a very good comeback. I played really well and I hope to go much further," added Sindhu, who will face Carolina Marin next after the European champion assured Spain of a first ever world championship medal by defeating Taiwanese eighth seed Tai Tzu-ying 19-21, 21-19, 21-11.
 
World number one Li Xuerui reached the semi-finals after her stroke play proved too much for the other leading Indian, seventh seed Saina Nehwal.
 
China's Li, seeking to avenge her painful defeat in the 2013 final, swept past Saina 21-15, 21-15 to move a step closer to adding to the Olympic crown she won at London 2012. The 23-year-old will face Japan's Minatsu Mitani for a shot at the title.

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MATCH-FIXING

Denmark makes racket over ‘match-fixing’ Chinese badminton players

The national association for badminton in Denmark says the sport’s world federation should punish Chinese players for a match at last week’s Fuzhou China Open which has been described as a “farce”.

Denmark makes racket over 'match-fixing' Chinese badminton players
China's Junhui Li, left, and Yuchen Liu, seen here during a different match, lost in the controversial quarter-final in Fuzhou. AP Photo/Aaron Favila/Ritzau Scanpix

Bo Jensen, director of Badminton Denmark, wants the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to take action after seeing footage of a quarter final match in which He Jiting and Ta Qiang defeated Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen in three sets.

“I am giving my support to the criticism. This is cheating, it’s match-fixing and we can’t accept it,” Jensen said to TV2 Sport.

“In our context, this is just as bad as doping, and it must be punished because if it is not, we will damage the sport’s reputation amongst fans and the many sponsors that are making huge investments at the moment,” he added.

Several Danish badminton players are reported to have been present during the match. Doubles pair Mads Pieler Kolding and Mads Conrad-Petersen lodged a complaint with tournament organisers following the match about the way it had been played.

Another player, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, later posted an update on Facebook in which he compared the match to a scandal during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, when eight players from China, South Korea and Indonesia were disqualified for deliberately trying to lose.

“This was a complete farce of a match which made me think of the London Olympics when 4 pairs deliberately tried to lose their matches. I kid you not, it was this bad,” Vittinghus wrote, citing errors in play that “just (don’t) happen at this level”.

“Difficult to get hard evidence, but if you have watched a bare minimum of world class badminton, you’d know what just happened,” he also wrote.

The BWF told TV2 Sport that it would not comment on the issue prior to receiving a report from the tournament’s organisers.

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