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Lin Dan powers through to semis of worlds

other Updated: Aug 10, 2013 00:43 IST

AFP
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China's badminton superstar Lin Dan booked a place in the semi-finals of the world championships on Friday after overcoming team-mate and second seed Chen Long.

Lin's arch rival and world number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia also sealed his place after a masterclass against Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto.

Lin will meet Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Minh who took a thrilling third-game victory against Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen, while Lee will take on third seed Du Pengyu of China in his semi-final.

All eyes were on Lin and Chen for the match of the day, with the younger player tipped as a future star who could take Lin's crown.

Both were given a rapturous reception at the Tianhe gymnasium in China's southern city of Guangzhou.

The first game saw defending champion "Super Dan" and his 24-year-old rival trade point for point, drawing on an armoury of high lifts, smashes and subtle drop shots.

But things started to go Lin's way after he leapt high in the air to drive home a smash to go up 13-10. On the next point Chen's return sat on the net and refused to drop, gifting Lin - widely recognised as the best player of all time - a four-point lead.

A rampant Lin, 30, went on to take the first game 21-13 before slipping behind at the start of the second, but reigning All-England champion Chen failed to capitalise.

Their encounter went down to the wire with a run of deuce scores until Chen sent his final shot into the net as Lin took the game 22-20, the younger player throwing down his racket in frustration.

"There were several points I really had to win but I didn't. Maybe I have to be more aggressive," Chen said after the match.

But Lin paid tribute to his teammate. "We both had excellent performances - even if one doesn't win, it doesn't mean he didn't perform well," he said.

Lin, the four-time world champion and one of China's biggest sports stars, has been on the sidelines for most of the past year to spend time with his family. His form was a mystery until the start of the tournament.

Fans are hoping for another classic final between Lin and Lee, who overpowered eighth seed Sugiarto 21-6 21-9 in his quarter-final, unleashing smashes into the back corners with the Indonesian unable to keep up with the pace.

Lin will face a resilient semi-final opponent in 7th seed Nguyen, whose dramatic third-game rallies with Jan O Jorgensen had the crowd roaring in appreciation.

The Vietnamese player collapsed on his back on court after their final titanic point, while an emotional Jorgensen leaned exhausted on the barrier before both men hugged.

Lee's semi-final opponent Du was given a rough ride by India's Parupalli Kashyap dropping the first game before taking the match 16-21, 22-20, 21-15.