China's second seed Chen Long created the shock of the World Superseries Finals on Saturday in Liuzhou as he knocked out defending champion and world number one Lee Chong Wei, 21-16, 16-21, 21-18.
Lee's rivalry with Chinese ace Lin Dan has been the focal point of this season and the two were expected to meet in the final on Sunday, but 22-year-old Chen put a stunning end to speculation about a rematch.
Chen sprayed 24 smashes past Lee -- the same number as in his defeat over former Olympic Champion Taufik Hidayat -- as well as 15 clean winners, in a contest lasting an hour and 19 minutes.
Lee, who has won all three editions of badminton's season finale, was a stronger performer at the net, with 14 winners against Chen's 8, but the second seed's smashes proved too good in the end.
In the other semi-final later today, "Super Dan" is up against long-time foe and Danish veteran Peter Gade.
In women's singles semi-finals action, top seed Wang Yihan of China beat her compatriot Wang Xin in straight games 21-19, 21-16.
The $500,000 showdown featuring the top eight singles players and doubles pairs has reached the semi-finals stage and the finals will be played on Sunday.