Badminton powerhouses Japan and China advanced to the finals of the Thomas Cup on Friday with wins over Indonesia and Denmark respectively.

Returning champions Denmark were attempting a second successive Thomas Cup final appearance, with world No 1 Viktor Axelsen leading the team. But Axelsen got the team off to a slow start against Japanese star Kento Momota, losing 21-17, 21-9.

The two national squads were tied at two wins apiece until Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama secured the final victory 21-18, 21-11 against Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen. Japan progressed to the summit clash with a 3-2 win.

In the other semi-final, China fielded an all-star cast of players against Indonesia and defeated them 3-1 to move on to the final.

China’s Olympic champion Chen Long started off by beating Anthony Ginting 22-20, 21-16 in the first singles match, before the world No 1 pairing of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo managed to pull one back for Indonesia despite going a game down. Gideon / Sukamuljo beat the world No 3 pair of Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan 21-12, 17-21, 15-21.

World No 3 Shi Yuqi then needed three games to get past Jonathan Christie 18-21, 21-12, 21-15 to give China a 2-1 lead, before Li Jinhui and Liu Yuchen sealed the match with a 21-17, 18-21, 21-12 win over Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.

This meant that two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan did not need to play the third singles match, against Ihsan Maulana Mustofa.

Thailand’s women battled their way into the final of the Uber Cup on Friday with a stunning 3-2 upset of defending champions China, with Busanan Ongbamrungphan once again the star with a nerveless last game defeat of Olympic champion Li Xuerui.

To the roaring approval of the fiercely partisan home crowd, Busanan crushed Li – who was returning from injury – 21-11, 21-9, setting up a showdown on Saturday against top seeds Japan.

Earlier Japan brushed off a challenge by South Korea 3-1.

With inputs from AFP