Incheon: Although Lin Dan and world number one Lee Chong Wei were meeting in the Asian Games men’s singles semi-finals, but it had the tension of a title match. Lin Dan won the semi-final epic shown down 22-20, 12-21, 21-9 in 72 minutes at the Gyeyang Gymnasium on Sunday.
In the first set, Chong Wei was having 4 points advantage at 20-16 but, Lin Dan fought back to force a deuce and went on to win the game 22-20.
Chong Wei played better to win 21-12 the second, but he eventually fell short in the decider losing to Lin Dan 9-21 due to stamina issues.
“I lost my focus when I wanted to win the first set so badly after leading by 20-16,” said Chong Wei.
“Winning one more title or not is not the most important thing for me now as I want to enjoy the sport in the next two years,” added Chong Wei
After the match, Lin Dan admitted Chong Wei is the strongest opponent he played this year.
“I don’t think there will be many chances like this to play against Chong Wei,” said Lin. “I really appreciate every match we’ve played.”
Lin will now meet compatriot Chen Long in an all-Chinese final after the latter easily thrashed Wei Nan of Hong Kong in another semi-final tie, 21-6, 21-10.
“Chen and the two other semi-finalists are in a class of their own and it will be difficult for any other player to beat them,” said Wei, who took the only badminton medal for Hong Kong in Incheon as there is no play-off for the bronze.
“I am not too disappointed with my result as this is the first time and possibly the last I take part in the Asian Games.”
Now 30, Wei, whose world ranking has now reached 17 after impressive performances in the grand prix gold series, is also targeting the Olympic Games in two years.
“I hope to qualify for the Rio Games,” he said.
“At this age, I am enjoying the sport very much and, hopefully, it can give me extra impetus to realize my goal.”