Japan's Akane Yamaguchi continued her march toward a second straight women's singles badminton world championship with a 21-19, 21-12 victory over South Korea's An Se Young in Saturday's semifinals.
The world No. 1 will battle Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Chen Yufei of China in the final on Sunday, the last day of the BWF World Championship at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
Yamaguchi outlasted the third-seeded An in a tough first game, clinching it with two consecutive points after the scores were deadlocked 19-19.
She ran away with the second game, winning eight straight points before closing out the match in 43 minutes.
"I think I was able to play assertively without backing down," Yamaguchi said. "It's not often that the world championships are held in Japan, so I'm happy to play the maximum number of matches here."
The fourth-seeded Chen earlier came back from a game down to beat Taiwan's Tai Tzu-ying 15-21, 21-14, 21-18 in their semifinal.
Japan's Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino will play for the mixed doubles crown after a dominant 21-8, 21-6 semifinal victory over Germany's Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Lohau.
The Japanese third seeds took just 28 minutes to put away their ninth-seeded opponents and advance to their second consecutive world championship final, in which they will face Chinese top seeds and Tokyo Olympic silver medalists Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong.
"Match by match, we've been rounding into really good condition," Higashino said. "I wasn't at my best (in the semifinal), but Yuta gave a top performance and carried us through."
Watanabe and Higashino were runners-up at last December's worlds in Huelva, Spain, in the wake of their bronze medal-winning performance at the Tokyo Games.
Wakana Nagahara and Mayu Matsumoto's quest to reclaim their women's doubles crown ended earlier with a 21-13, 21-14 semifinal loss to the reigning queens of the court, China's world No. 1 pair of Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan.
Known to fans by the nickname "Nagamatsu," the sixth seeds had to settle for bronze again after another semifinal loss to Chen and Jia, who beat the Japanese duo at the same stage last year in Huelva.
Chen and Jia never trailed in the first game and remained in front after going up 4-3 in the second at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
"The Chinese pair really had no holes in their game," Nagahara said. "They were solid attacking and receiving, and we want to be on that level as well. Our receiving wasn't good, and I want to reflect on that."
Nagahara and Matsumoto, back-to-back world champions in 2018 and 2019, have reached the podium at four straight world championships, where losing semifinalists are awarded bronze medals.
"The challenge from here is how we can improve our attack to where it should be," Matsumoto said. "I want to find out through practice."
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