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Badminton: Lin chops down Chen to reach semis of World Championships

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August 9, 2013: Despite playing only a fraction of a tournament in the 12 months since winning his second Olympic title last August, Lin Dan ground down World No. 2 Chen Long 21-13, 22-20 in the quarter-finals of the BWF World Championship in Guangzhou on Friday.

 

On Saturday, the 29-year-old Lin will face seventh seed Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam. Nguyen, 30, narrowly won a physically draining three-game battle with Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen, 21-8, 17-21, 22-20, to reach the semi-finals for the first time and secure Vietnam’s greatest achievement in international badminton.

 

In the top half of the draw, Lee Chong Wei cruised to a 21-6, 21-9 win over Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto and the 30-year-old World No. 1 will face World No. 3 Du Pengyu as he continues his bid to win a first World Championship title.

 

In contrast to Lee’s easy passage, Du was pushed to three games for the fourth match in succession, the 25-year-old Chinese eventually beating India’s Parupalli Kashyap 16-21, 22-20, 21-15.

 

IMG_8157aLOWIn the day’s headline, all-Chinese clash, ‘Super Dan’ was welcomed like a rock star by the crowd, who chanted choruses of, “Lin Dan, Jia You!” as the four-time World Championships winner showed he’s still in world-beating form.

 

The match was evenly poised until Lin led 11-10, as the 29-year-old defending champion then ran off seven straight points on his way to an ultimately comfortable first game, wearing down the younger Chen with delicate drop shots and producing spectacular smashes whenever the chance arose.

 

The second was also tight from the start, with chants of “Chen Long, Jia You” encouraging the rising star as the match intensified.

 

It was a gripping encounter with neither player ever more than two shots in front, and the pair battled neck and neck to 19-19 when Lin produced another spectacular smash to set up match point.

 

IMG_8201aLOWLin dramatically lost the point after misjudging the length of Chen’s shot and letting the shuttlecock drop in, but he made no mistakes with the next two points to secure a memorable victory, draping himself over the net before shaking hands with his compatriot.

 

“I thought both of us played excellently in the match. Just because one player loses, it doesn’t mean he didn’t play well. Badminton can sometimes be a very cruel and tough game,” said Lin, who required a wildcard to compete this week due to his low ranking.

 

“When I prepare to play overseas players, I can get a bit nervous, but when I play my own teammates I don’t worry about losing so much because they’re very young and their performances are getting better and better. I’m more comfortable playing my own teammates.”

 

Chen, who Lin pointed to as his logical successor as China’s leading player, was visibly distraught at not giving himself the opportunities to force a third game, but felt he had played a good game against arguably badminton’s greatest ever.

 

IMG_8203aLOW“In the first game, I tried to attack and be more aggressive, but I found it was not that effective because Lin was playing pretty well, defending well. In the second game, I tried to slow the pace and tried to find better ways to get points,” Chen said.

 

“Lin has competed in so many championships and won so many titles, so he has so much experience. I need to gain this type of experience to catch up to him.”

 

In the women’s singles, World No. 1 Li Xuerui faced a tough battle as she beat Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu-ying 27-25, 21-13 and will next face the 13th seed Bae Yeon-ju the semi-finals.

 

The 22-year-old Korean upset third seed Saina Nehwal of India 23-21, 21-9.

 

However, 18-year-old P.V. Sindhu avenged her compatriot by beating seventh seed Wang Shixian 21-18, 21-17, a day after knocking out defending champion Wang Yihan, the World No. 2.

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