DOHA, Qatar (Reuters) — Indonesian Taufik Hidayat pulled off one of the shocks of the Asian Games badminton competition on Friday, beating world number two Lee Chong Wei 21-16 21-18 to make the men's singles final on Friday.
|Hidayat swept past second seed Lee Chong Wei to reach the final.|
The Olympic champion will face world number one and arch-rival Lin Dan on Saturday in the gold medal grudge match after Lin beat South Korean Lee Hyun-il 21-3 21-10.
Badminton 'bad boy' Hidayat had Lee on the back foot throughout the 43-minute match, forcing him into a series of mistakes and returning everything the Malaysian threw at him.
Buoyed by an arena packed with frenzied Indonesian supporters clutching startled babies and waving national flags, Hidayat broke clear towards the end of a tight second game to leave Lee with the bronze medal.
Hidayat's meeting with Chinese Lin will be the third this Games. Lin has won the previous two.
Hidayat fanned the flames of the pair's fierce rivalry before the Games when he described Lin as "arrogant".
The Indonesian had previously been docked ranking points and prize money after storming out mid-match against Lin in August.
Hidayat said he was determined to win after losing twice against Lin, and would not be settling for the silver medal.
"I'm aiming to win and I'm confident I can do it," he told reporters.
"It was a hard game today. All I could think was 'win, win, win'. There were so many people cheering for me it was amazing. It was like playing at home."
Lin's match lasted just 22 minutes, with the Chinese on the attack in almost every rally.
He said his opponent gave up after his trouncing in the first game and predicted that the match with Hidayat would be a different story.
"I didn't think it would be so easy — he was very agitated," Lin told reporters.
"He (Hidiyat) is in very good shape here. I have to prepare myself for a tough match on Saturday."
At the equestrian, Qatar captured their first Asian Games gold medal by winning the individual event, but celebrations were muted after a South Korean rider's death a day earlier.
Veteran rider Kim Hyung-chil was crushed under the weight of his horse on Thursday in a heavy fall at the Doha Racing and Equestrian Club.
South Korea's eventing team withdrew from the remainder of the competition, while riders from all nations wore black armbands in tribute.
Awad Mohammed Al Qahtani from Qatar's victorious team said he was saddened by Kim's death, but that such accidents were part and parcel of the sport.
"I feel sorry for him," he said. "But this is normal as every rider in cross country knows anything can happen any time."
India's Jaspal Rana equaled the world record in the center fire pistol event to complete a hat-trick of gold medals.
The 30-year-old, who also won the event in the 1994 Hiroshima Games, shot 590 out of 600 points to beat Liu Guohui of China by three points.
The New Delhi shooter, who won the standard pistol on Thursday, also secured gold in the team event with Vijay Kumar and Samresh Jung, giving India their best shooting gold medal haul at an Asian Games.
"It is a great day for Indian shooting," coach Sunny Thomas told Reuters.