World champion Kento Momota barely allowed China’s double Olympic champion Lin Dan to reach double figures as the home favourite powered through to the semi-finals at the Badminton World Federation Japan Open.
The 24-year-old Japanese player - who won the world title in Nanjing last month after serving a year's ban for illegal gambling which kept him out of the Rio 2016 Olympics - beat the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 champion, 10 years his senior, 21-8, 21-10.
Another hugely talented 24-year-old has forced his way through to the last four at Tokyo's Musashino Forest Sports Plaza, which will be a venue for the 2020 Olympic Games.
The dream run of Thailand’s Khosit Phetpradab, world ranked 26, continued as he made his first semi-finals at an event of this level by beating Chen Long of China 21-19, 24-22.
Phetpradab will take on another surprise semi-finalist, Korea’s Lee Dong-keun, who got the better of seventh seed Kidambi Srikanth of India 19-21, 21-16, 21-18.
Momota - seeking to become the first home men’s winner of this event - now meets his predecessor as world champion, and defending champion here, Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, who defeated Anthony Ginting of Indonesia 21-17, 21-15.
The women’s singles will feature an all-Japanese semi-final after Nozomi Okuhara and Aya Ohori made their way through in straight games.
Okuhara maintained a stubborn defence against China’s attacking youngster Chen Xiaoxin, who had surprised top seed Tai Tzu Ying the day before, winning 21-17, 21-16.
Ohori, meanwhile, beat China’s Gao Fangjie 21-14, 21-12.
But China will have a semi-final representative following Chen Yufei’s 21-13, 15-21, 21-15 win over popular home player Akane Yamaguchi.
Chen’s semi-final opponent will be Spain’s world and Olympic champion Carolina Marin, who held off Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon 21-18, 21-19.
The tournament in Tokyo continues tomorrow.