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Badminton: Wang Yihan wins Asian Games gold; Indonesia doubles up

World No. 3 Wang Yihan came from a game down to beat No. 1 Li Xuerui to win Asian Games gold. Photo: AFP.

World No. 3 Wang Yihan came from a game down to beat No. 1 Li Xuerui to win Asian Games gold. Photo: AFP.

September 28, 2014: China’s Wang Yihan and Indonesia’s doubles stars Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan clinched gold medals on the penultimate day of the Asian Games badminton competition.

 

In addition, China also assured themselves of the men’s singles gold as defending champion Lin Dan and World Championships winner Chen Long progressed to Monday’s final.

 

Wang, 26, salvaged what had been a modest season by her standards by claiming the women’s singles gold medal on Sunday with an 11-21, 21-17, 21-7 victory over World No. 1 Li Xuerui.

 

Wang – who crashed out in the second round of three successive tournaments, including the BWF World Championships – completed a magnificent come-from-behind win over her China teammate.

 

Li ran away with the first game in just 16 minutes, but Wang fought back in typically tenacious fashion and the third game was a mismatch as the 2012 Olympic champion crumbled under her taller opponent’s relentless pressure.

 

In the last match of the day, Ahsan and Setiawan defied their recent run of poor form against Korea’s Lee Yong-dae and Yoo Yeon-seong to win the men’s doubles final 21-16, 16-21, 21-17, adding to the country’s success in the women’s doubles on Saturday.

 

Home favourites Lee and Yoo had the edge in the third game and looked set to continue their dominance over last year’s World Championship winners until fortunes swung dramatically the other way.

 

It was Indonesia that came out swinging, with Ahsan leading the way in the first game as he patrolled the forecourt and fired winners from all angles. Once Lee and Yoo steadied themselves in the second game, however, the momentum shifted. Picking off points with quick rallies, Lee and Yoo surged from 15-15 to take the game and continued to ride the momentum in the third as Setiawan appeared to wilt.

 

Stunning rallies and a few unforced errors from both ends punctuated the action with the finish line in sight. Korea had the edge at 15-13, but Lee then served into the net, and from that point on, the spring was back in the Indonesians’ steps.

 

Ahsan again lifted his game in the final moments and he knocked off the winning shot to help Indonesia retain their men’s doubles gold and hand a painful loss to Lee and Yoo, also runners-up at the World Championships.

 

In between these contests, Lin – the defending men’s singles champion – beat World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei 22-20, 12-21, 21-9 in an eagerly anticipated semi-final; their first clash since last year’s World Championships final.

 

The first two of the three games were contests of the highest order. The genius and athletic ability of two contrasting styles were pitted against each other and what followed was a brilliant exhibition of courtcraft, athleticism and explosive power. Lee had the first game in his reach with a 20-16 lead, but Lin would not concede an inch and picked off the next six points to take the game.

 

Lee, 31, replied by drawing Lin close to the net where he showed his authority as the Chinese superstar uncharacteristically made several errors under pressure. With Lee taking the second game comfortably, it looked set to be another classic contest between the two. However, the Malaysian’s game dipped in the decider as a stream of errors flowed from his racket and Lin ran away with the match.

 

Compatriot Chen Long followed him into the final after a quick workout against Hong Kong’s Wei Nan, the 25-year-old requiring just 35 minutes to wrap up the match 21-6, 21-10.

 

Earlier in the day, the two China versus Indonesia mixed doubles semi-finals were evenly split. World champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China overcame Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto 21-19, 21-17 before Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir beat Xu Chen and Ma Jin 21-12, 21-10 in just 32 minutes.

 

On Saturday, Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari won the women’s doubles title by beating Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi 21-15, 21-9 in 46 minutes.

 

Source: BWF (www.bwfbadminton.org); Editing by SportAsia

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