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Lin keeps hat-trick dream alive

Lin Dan of China kept alive his hopes of becoming the first shuttler to win a third successive title when he downed Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the men's singles semi-final in Hyderabad on Saturday.

sports Updated: Aug 15, 2009 19:51 IST

Lin Dan of China kept alive his hopes of becoming the first shuttler to win a third successive title when he downed Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the men's singles semi-final in Hyderabad on Saturday.

Fifth-seeded Lin, champion in 2006 and 2007, faced a stiff resistance from the sixth-seeded Indonesian before prevailing 21-14, 13-21, 21-15 in an exciting 63-minute encounter.

The championships were not held last year because of the Beijing Olympics.

Lin will clash with compatriot Chen Jin, who outplayed fourth-seeded Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia 21-16, 21-6.

The women's singles final will also be an all-China affair, with Lu Lan beating compatriot Wang Lin 21-18, 21-19 and Xie Xingfang posting a 21-18, 21-8 victory over eighth-seeded Pi Hongyan of France.

Kuncoro, who stunned top-seeded Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the previous match, yet again gave a good account of himself as he made Lin struggle for points.

The Indonesian bounced back after losing the opening game, keeping pressure on Beijing Olympics champion Lin to win the second. He faltered, however, at crucial stages in the final game to lose the match.

"My form was not as good as it was on previous days," said Lin. "Sony played a very mature and patient game. He didn't allow me to finish off the games as quickly as I'd have liked to.

"It doesn't matter who wins the final as long as the country is assured of the gold. It shows that China is a dominant country in the men's singles."

Kuncoro said he was happy with his performance at the championships.

"After playing a tough match in the previous round, my energy levels were a bit down but I think I have performed well here as I reached the semi-finals," said Kuncoro.

"Lin can quicken the game and slow it down as and when he wishes. That's his strength."

Chen hardly looked in trouble against Hidayat in the other semi-final.

Former champion Hidayat offered resistance only in the initial stages of the 39-minute encounter before fading away against the second-seeded Chinese, who impressed with his returning game.

Chen trailed 4-1 in the opening game, but came back strongly to win seven points in a row. He then always maintained pressure on the fourth-seeded Indonesian, giving no chance to his rival in the second game.

"I succeeded in restricting his movements and he was not able to play fluently," said Chen.

"I think he was a bit slow and I was trying to avoid him at the net. I am enjoying here. I am playing well and trying to give my best in each match."

Hidayat, who won the World title in 2005, conceded he was unable to match his opponent.

"He was too good today," said Hidayat. "He returned everything I tried. He is younger than me and I think if I had been younger I would have beaten him."

Fifth-seeded Xie, champion in 2005 and 2006, looked in control against Pi in the 32-minute match.

"I don't think I was at my best today," said Pi.

"I think I was attacking too early and making mistakes. But I am happy with my performance at the championships."