Tokyo: Kento Momota defeated first seed Viktor Axelsen to secure a Japan Open final berth on Saturday, with the reigning world champion dominating an aggressive game 21-18, 21-11.

Momota will square off on Sunday against Thailand’s Khosit Phetpradab, who beat South Korea’s Lee Dong Keun 21-12, 21-16. “It was really tough to endure a long rally while paying attention to sharp shots from Axelsen,” Momota told TV Asahi after the match. “I think I could win because I was able to chase the shuttlecock aggressively until the last minute,” he added. Momota last month became the first Japanese man to win the badminton World Championships, putting behind him a gambling scandal that threatened to ruin his career.