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Badminton: Lee first to reach semis at Superseries Finals

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

World number one Lee Chong Wei was the first to march into the men's singles semi-finals of the season-ending BWF World Superseries Finals after thrashing Thailand's Boonsak Ponsana on Thursday.

The Malaysian ace booked his place in the final four after a swift 21-6, 21-8 victory in 29 minutes, bringing him a step closer to a historic fourth title.

It was his second straight victory in the round-robin group stage following his 21-10, 21-18 win over China's Wang Zhengming on Wednesday.

"I'm glad to have won quite comfortably today. I prepared myself well and I now get to shift my focus to tomorrow's match," said Lee, who was exceptionally deadly with his smashes and drop shots against Boonsak.

The three-time champion, who faces Jan O Jorgensen tomorrow in his final Group A match, said the Dane's confidence will be sky high after winning the French Open.

"Jorgensen is an attacking player, so I must be strong in my defence. I must not underestimate my opponent," said the 31-year-old Malaysian.

The Dane also joined him in the last four after trouncing China's Wang Zhengming 21-9, 21-10.

"I've been working hard these past two weeks and it paid off today," said Jorgensen.

"I will play (Lee) Chong Wei tomorrow and have nothing to lose. I will go all out to try and get top spot in the group."

Olympic champion Li Xuerui and 2010 Asian Games gold medallist Wang Shixian booked their tickets to the semi-finals in the women's singles, after guaranteeing their places among the top two shuttlers in Groups B and A respectively.

But Indonesia's mixed doubles world champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir crashed out after losing their second match of the tournament.

Other top draws who have confirmed their places in the semi-finals are Denmark's Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, China's Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang from Group B of the women's doubles.

Men's doubles world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia also eased through.

It was also a fruitful day for the Japanese squad as second-seeded Kenichi Tago edged another step closer to the semi-finals after beating Indonesia's Sony Dwi Kuncoro 12-21, 21-19, 21-17 in Group B.

Men's pair Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa scored an upset win over three-time champions Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark 21-18, 21-15.

Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takashi then beat Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth and Rizki Amelia Pradipta of Indonesia 21-11, 18-21, 21-15 in a Group A women's doubles tie.

The only bad news for Japan was that their second men's pair, Hirokatsu Hashimoto and Noriyasu Hirata, had to pull out of the tournament after Hirata suffered a leg injury.

The $500,000 showcase event brings together the top eight performers in each of the five categories based on points earned from the 12 Superseries tournaments.

The top two from groups A and B will play in semi-finals on Saturday.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131212/badminton-lee-first-reach-semis-at-superseries-finals