BIRMINGHAM, March 9 (Xinhua) -- First and second seeded shuttlers Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long will vie for the All England Open men's singles title on Sunday after their semifinal wins on Saturday.
Lee's victory over Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk from Thailand was expected, but the first set was hard-fought, as the twice All-England champion had to recover from 5-9 to win 22-20.
In the second set, Lee was better, using his defense-attack-defense strategy and changing angles for every shot. With a killer to the far corner, he finished 21-8, marching into the final for the fifth time.
After the match, the 31-year-old veteran told Xinhua that he wasn't used to the style of his opponent at first. "He had a unique way of playing, just focusing on attack," he said. "My tempo was interrupted."
In the final last year, Lee pulled out from his contest against Chinese Lin Dan due to shoulder injury. "I am recovering quite well," he said. "But I felt tired. I didn't rest after the Olympics, playing in many events."
Chinese Chen Long revenged for his teammate Chen Jin, who was knocked out by Danish Jan Jorgensen 21-19, 22-20 in the quarter-finals. But he admitted that the victory was partly earned with "better luck".
He trailed 9-15 in the first set, and 3-7 in the second. But he then sped up attacks. Jorgensen had hoped to save the match point with a smash, only to lash the shuttle into the net.
"Of course I am disappointed right now, I was ahead in both sets," said the depressed Dane afterwards. "The only lead that he had was at 20-19 in both sets. It's hard luck."
Lee had maintained a 7-5 advantage against Chen during their previous 12 encounters, with the latest being at the Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Open 2012, when he was beaten by the latter 21-19, 21-17.
In the women's action, doubles players brought good news for China.
Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli and Cheng Shu/Zhao Yunlei beat their rivals to set up a Chinese derby in the final.
Yu and Wang, world No.1 seed, faced Japan's Maeda Miyuki and Suetsuna Satoko for the fifth time and remained unbeaten. Meanwhile, veteran pair Chen Shu and Zhao Yunlei eliminated their teammates Ma Jin and Tang Jinhua.
In the men's doubles, Chinese up-and-coming Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan created another miracle by sending eighth seeded Indonesian Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan home.
Olympic champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei also entered the mixed doubles final without much difficulty.