TOP singles stars Lee Chong Wei and Taufik Hidayat were all smiles after checking into the semi-finals of the Proton Malaysia Open in great styles but the no show antics of Lin Dan have left them befuddled.
Yesterday, top seed and six-time home Open champion Chong Wei had to fend off a strong challenge from a gutsy Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam before regaining his momentum to troop home a 21-15, 21-16 winner.
But the passionate home fans’ hopes to see a semi-final clash between Chong Wei and Lin Dan will not materialise.
The three-time world champion conceded a walkover to Chen Long of China yesterday due to a back injury.
The tournament referee Jane Wheatley of Australia confirmed that a medical test conducted by a Malaysian doctor yesterday certified that Lin Dan was not fit to play.
“Lin Dan was getting ready for today’s play during a morning training session but he suffered a recurrence of an old injury on his left abdominal area,” she said.
“He was advised to forgo the match and take proper rest. It is a pity he will miss the match.”
It was the third time in a row that Lin Dan had walked out on his opponents in the Super Series event with the same problem.
He did the same against Tien Minh at the China Open and against Chen Long at the Hong Kong Open.
Earlier, China withdrew their player Liu Xin from the quarter-final match against team-mate Jiang Yanjiao in the women’s singles event.
They cited a toe injury for the withdrawal. While the news were forwarded to the tournament referee, China’s men doubles players had already started warming up for their match on the same court, leaving their South Korean opponents, who were in the dark over the withdrawal, at a disadvantage.
Chong Wei, who had Misbun Sidek sitting on the coach’s chair yesterday, was left dumbfounded by Lin Dan’s exit.
“All the fans had waited for a semi-final match between Lin Dan and me but it is not happening. I am sure the fans will be upset but I cannot do anything about it,” said Chong Wei.
“Maybe the BWF should look into this. But then, what can the world body do if a player does not want to play? He said that he is injured but it could be a tactical ploy.”
On his match against Chen Long today: “Chen Long will be fresh after having a good one day’s rest. He is quite aggressive and I will have to be ready.
“Today, Tien Minh did well to break my attacking rhythm in the opening game and took an 11-8 lead. Fortunately, I changed tactics to stay on top of my game.
“I have to be in the same mode tomorrow,” he added.
Taufik was more daring in his criticism against Lin Dan and said the China’s superstar’s withdrawal for the third time in a row raises many questions.
The former Olympic champion had staved off a commendable challenge from Japan’s Tago Kenichi before prevailing with a 21-15, 21-15 win to set up a meeting with compatriot Simon Santoso.
“I am not sure how serious his injury is but I find it very unsporting for him to concede a walkover,” said Taufik.
“It is high time that BWF look into this matter because it is not good for the sport. Maybe, they should prevent him from going to back-to-back tournaments if he skips one.”
China’s coach Xia Xuanze said that Lin Dan would make the trip to the US$1.2mil South Korea Open next week.
“He has aggravated the same injury that saw him walking out of the China and Hong Kong Opens. We will monitor his progress,” said Xuanze who is the 2003 world champion.
Men’s singles: Taufik Hidayat (Ina) bt Kenichi Tago (Jpn) 21-15, 21-15; Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Nguyen Tien Minh (Vie) 21-15, 21-16; Chen Long w.o. Lin Dan (Chn); Simon Santoso (Ina) bt Alamsyah Yunus (Ina) 21-19, 21-9.
Men’s doubles: Naoki Kawamae-Shoji Sato (Jpn) bt Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Hoon Thien How (Mas) 21-15, 21-19; Mads Conrad-Petersen-Jonas Rasmussen (Den) bt Alven Yulianto-Hendra Gunawan (Ina) 21-16, 21-19; Chai Biao-Guo Zhengdong (Chn) bt Ko Sung-hyun-Yoo Yeon-seong (Kor) 23-21, 21-18; Mohd Ahsan-Bona Septano (Ina) bt Cho Gun-woo-Kwon Yi-goo (Kor) 21-17, 21-15.
Women’s singles: Wang Xin (Chn) bt Juliane Schenk (Ger) 21-17, 22-20; Wang Yihan (Chn) bt Lindaweni Fanetri (Ina) 21-9, 21-19; Wang Shixian (Chn) bt Cheng Shao-chieh (Tpe) 19-21, 21-17, 21-9; Jiang Yanjioa (Chn) w.o. Liu Xin (Chn).
Women’s doubles: Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang (Chn) bt Petya Nededlcheva-Anastasia Russkikh (Rus) 21-15, 21-10; Du Jing-Pan Pan (Chn) bt Cheng Wen-hsing-Chien Yu-chin (Tpe) 21-19, 21-16; Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) bt Shinta Mulia Sari-Yao Lei (Sin) 21-7, 21-11; Cheng Shu-Ma Jin (Chn) bt Ha JUng-eun-Kim Min-jung (Kor) 21-18, 21-15.
Mixed doubles: Joachim Fisher Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen (Den) bt Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) 20-22, 21-12, 21-19; Tao Jiaming-Tian Qing (Chn) bt Chen Hung-ling-Cheng Wen-hsing (Tpe) 21-23, 21-12, 21-13; Robert Blair-Gabrielle White (Sco-Eng) bt Cho Gun-woo-Kwon Yi-goo (Kor) 21-17, 21-15; He Hanbin-Ma Jin (Chn) bt Ko Sung-hyun-Ha JUng-eun (Kor) 16-21, 21-11, 21-19.