Li Xuerui produced a superb fightback to silence the crowd and beat home favourite Saina Nehwal in the semi-finals of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) India Open at the at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in New Delhi today.
Li claimed the first set 22-10 before Nehwal, roared on by the thunderous crowd, fought back to claim the second 21-17.
Nehwal then moved into a 14-8 lead in the third to move close to a fairytale victory before the relentless Chinese assault proved too much.
Li fought back to win 21-19 and set up a final tomorrow against Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in in a tournament that is part of the BWF World Superseries.
“It was a tough match,” the winner admitted.
“I tried not to think too much when I was down.
"Saina is a tough competitor and it was a matter of a few points.
Intanon was far more comfortable in the second semi-final, cruising past South Korea’s Bae Yeon Ju, 21-8 21-11.
There will be a European presence in the men's singles final as Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen cruised past South Korea's Son Wan Ho, 21-11, 21-11.
He will face Japan's Kento Momota in the final after he profited from the withdrawal of China's Xue Song.
He suffered an injury while leading 21-7, 6-3.
There was more Japanese success in the women's doubles as defending champions Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi edged past Indonesia's Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari 21-18, 19-21, 23-21.
In a high quality encounter, one second set rally lasted a remarkable 118 shots.
Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao overcame Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl 14-21, 22-20, 21-17 to set up an all-Japanese final.
Two Indonesian pairs will contest the men's doubles final.
Youngsters Gideon Markus Fernaldi and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo beat Malaysia’s Tan Wee Kiong and Goh V Shem 21-15, 21-17.
That came after compatriots Angga Pratama and Ricky Karanda Suwardi outplayed South Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Choel, 21-18, 6-21, 21-19.
Riky Widianto and Puspita Richi Dili of Indonesia also made the mixed doubles final, beating Thailand’s Bodin Issara and Savitree Amitrapai, 21-18,13-21, 21-7.
They will face China’s Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong, who defeated South Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na 21-17, 17-21, 21-18.
All five finals are scheduled for tomorrow.