Lin Dan reaches All England finals, four No. 1 seeds ousted in semis

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Lin Dan and Xue Song in the All England semi-finals. (photo: AFP)

Birmingham: On a day of upsets in the All England semi-finals on Saturday, two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan showed why he has been regarded as the greatest badminton player of all time when he put up a flawless show in last two sets to fend off the fight back from his junior Xue Song to reach the final.Lin Dan and Xue Song in the All England semi-finals. (photo: AFP)

Lin who is seeking for his sixth All England title, dropped the first set to Xue Song 16-21. After led by 15-14 in the second set, Lin Dan produced several beautiful shots and pulled away to win the second set 21-15.

Upping his pace in the decider, Lin Dan did not give away any easy chances, even after the 22-year-old Xue Song called a time-out when trailed 4-10 due to leg cramps. After the short break, Lin continued his dominance as he mauled his younger compatriot with a masterclass of clean hitting in a one-sided blowout, winning the third set 21-9 in a match that lasted 82 minutes. Lin Dan held a 2-0 career meeting record against Xue after the semi-finals win.With no Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long, Lin Dan becomes the top favourite to win the 2016 All England title. (photo: AFP)

Lin will play another Chinese shuttler, Tian Houwei in the final. Tian was forced to work hard before he earned a hard-fought win against Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark with 15-21, 21-14, 21-14.

All other top seeds of the tournament spent Saturday under a dark cloud as none of them made it to the finals.

In men’s doubles, World No. 1 Lee Yong-Dae/Yoo Yeon-Seong suffered a semi-final upset against Russians Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov, losing 21-14, 17-21, 15-21. The Russian pair will play Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa of Japan in the final. The sixth seeded Japanese pair breezed past Malaysians Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong 21-13, 21-15 in other men’s doubles semi-final.

Carolina Marin, the women’s singles top seed and reigning World Champion was also defeated in the semi-finals, losing to eighth seeded Nozomi Okuhara 21-11, 16-21, 14-21 in 72 minutes.

Nozomi Okuhara will play Chinese shuttler Wang Shixian in the women’s singles final.

No. 1 mixed doubles pair Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei was other big name to make a semi-final exit as they were ousted by Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto 19-21, 16-21. Jordan/Susanto will clash with Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen of Denmark for the mixed doubles title on Sunday.

Japanese Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi wrapped up the upset-filled day by picking off No. 1 women’s doubles pair Luo Ying/Luo Yu under fading light with 21-12, 21-9 to storm to the final. However, tough fight awaits the No. 3 seeds Matsutomo/Takahashi as No. 6 seeds Tang Yuanting/Yu Yang of China will be waiting for the Japanese pair in the final.

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