Minh to face arch rival in Vietnam Open finals

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Nguyen Tien Minh booked his place in the men's singles final of the 2011 Yonex-Sunrise Vietnam Open Grand Prix badminton tourney , beating India's Gurusaidutt in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday.

It took the 7th-ranked top seed Vietnamese less than half an hour to cruise (21-5, 21-9) past the 64th-ranked Indian, who played pretty well in the earlier rounds, to reach the semifinals.

Minh will next clash with 9th-ranked second seed Japanese Sho Sasaki in the final of the week-long tournament.

It is expected to be a hard battle for Minh because Sasaki, Japan's top ranking player, beat him in the men's singles final of the US Open last month.

In April this year, Sasaki also had the better of Minh at the quarterfinals of the Grand Prix Gold Australian Open in Melbourne.

Although Minh still leads Sasaki 4-2 in head-to-head contests, the Japanese athlete's victories have come in the last two encounters, the sign of a man in form.

"Sho Sasaki is very hard to defeat. He is a very good defender and recently has improved very fast and played more skillfully and strategically.

"He has beaten second-ranked Chinese Lin Dan and the 6th-ranked Chinese Chen Jin before. Sasaki is in very good form now."

His recent losses against Sasaki has shown him how strong the Japanese player is, but Minh said he still hopes to take a home win.

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