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Chen Jin leads the way as sun sets on Japan

Former world champion Chen Jin of China reached the men’s singles final at the Yonex Australian Open on Saturday, on a day when Japan’s expected dominance came to nought.

Chen Jin (right), who is on the verge of clinching an Olympic ticket, defeated Indonesia’s Simon Santoso 22-20, 21-15 in 61 gruelling minutes to set up a final date with Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh.

Tien Minh reached the title decider when he upset second seed Sho Sasaki of Japan 21-19, 21-11 in the other semi-final.

Sasaki was one of seven Japanese representatives in the semi-final and unfortunately for the land of the rising sun, none of them will be contesting the finals on Sunday.

The day started badly for Japan when the glamorous Reiko Shiota announced she had suffered an injury and was unable to partner Shintaro Ikeda against Malaysians Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, thus handing a place in the final to the youngsters.

Taipei’s second seeds Chen Hung Ling-Cheng Wen Hsing then outlasted another Japanese pair, Kenichi Hayakawa-Misaki Matsutomo 18-21, 21-19, 21-6 to reach the final.

There was more bad news for Japan as women’s doubles top seeds Miyuki Maeda-Satoko Suetsuna and their second seeded compatriots Shizuka Matsuo-Mami Naito, who are also the defending champions, were knocked out by unseeded pairs Wen Hsing-Chien Yu Chin and Luo Ying-Luo Yu respectively.

Two other Japanese representatives Ai Goto (women’s singles) and Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa (men’s doubles) were also knocked out in the final four, meaning Japan, who had won three titles in this very tournament a year ago, will go home empty handed this year.

China and Taipei have the opportunity to win three titles each on Sunday with Malaysia, South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia all having one representative in action for finals day.

Olympic and Asian Games champions Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan (above), showed there is still life in them when for the second day running, they knocked out a younger Indonesian pair.

A day after demolishing Alvent Yulianto Chandra-Hendra Aprida Gunawan, they were made to work hard by Angga Pratama-Ryan Agung Saputra before winning 15-21, 21-14, 21-11.

For full results, click here.

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