JAKARTA, Indonesia: Defending champion China recovered from an early loss by top-ranked Lin Dan to defeat Malaysia 3-2 on Friday and advance to the final of the Thomas Cup.
Chen Jin won the rubber match at Jakarta's Istora Senayan Indoor Stadium, defeating Muhammed Hafiz Hashim 21-12, 21-16 to send China to the title decider of the elite men's competition for the third straight year. It will play either Indonesia or South Korea in Sunday's final.
Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei, No. 2 in the world rankings, upset Lin 21-12, 21-14 in the first singles match to give his team a 1-0 lead.
"As long as we win, I'm not worried about the score" China's coach Li Yongbo said. "If Lin wins his match, we would have won 3-0."
China pulled even with a doubles win by Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng and then took a 2-1 lead thanks to Bao Chunlai's 21-18, 21-7 win over Wong Choong Hann in the second singles match.
Malaysia tied the match 2-2 on a doubles win by Mohammed Zakry Abdul Latif and Mohammed Fairuzizuan Tazari before Chen finished off the Malaysians with a comfortable victory.
Despite the win, the loss by Lin was a concern for China, which will be looking to dominate badminton at the Beijing Olympics.
The last time Lee defeated Lin was in the semifinals of the Japan Open in 2007.
"He didn't play his best today," Lee said of Lin's performance. "He made some simple mistakes and I was able to take advantage."
Lin, who will be under pressure to produce gold in Beijing, looked sluggish in Friday's match, committing too many unforced errors and struggling to return Lee's powerful smashes.
China, looking to win the Thomas Cup for the third straight year, will meet the winner of Friday's other semifinal between Indonesia and South Korea.
In the women's Uber Cup, defending champion China takes on host Indonesia in Saturday's final.