Lin Dan and Chen Long to meet for the first time in almost two years at Malaysia Open final

Lin Dan pumps his fist in delight after seeing off Shi Yuqi in Malaysia Open semi-final. (photo: AFP)
Lin Dan pumps his fist in delight after seeing off Shi Yuqi in Malaysia Open semi-final. (photo: AFP)

Kuala Lumpur: Lin Dan and Chen Long will meet in the Malaysia Open final on Sunday, after both Chinese players defeated their respective opponents in the semi-finals. This will be the first time both are facing each other since they last met in the 2017 Australian Open quarter-finals.

The 35-year-old Lin Dan’s route to final faced quite a few challenges as he had to play three three-setters in four matches, such as defeating Chou Tien Chen 13-21, 21-19, 21-19 in the first round, beating Kanta Tsuneyama 16-21, 21-17, 21-10 in the quarter-final and seeing off Shi Yuqi 21-19, 16-21, 21-12 in the semi-final.

Despite being the favorite to win the match, Shi Yuqi who held a 5-1 career meeting record prior to Saturday’s match admitted that he was struggling in the semi-final.

“The stadium was a little windy today, which caused me to make a lot of mistakes. Lin Dan always plays his best during the match and he also has been training very hard,” said Shi.

Shi also agreed that Lin who suffered ninth first-round defeat in 19 tournaments last year, was slowly feeling his way back to competitive badminton.

Lin who will face Chen Long in the final, said he will definitely give his best to win the championship in the final.

“Now, whenever I am playing in any tournaments, I am not thinking too much about winning or losing, nor am I thinking about my past glories. I am trying to play a very good competitive game in every match,” said Lin Dan.

“I hope I can play like Lin Dan and do not to disappoint the fans who come to support me,” added Lin Dan.

Meanwhile, Chen Long came back from dropping the first set to beat Jonatan Christie of Indonesia 12-21, 21-10, 21-15 in 64 minutes.

“Jonatan and I have played against each other many times, it’s always difficult to face him,” said Chen who held a 7-0 career meeting records over the Indonesian after Saturday’s semi-finals.

In men’s doubles, Japanese No. 3 seeds Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda could give their newly appointed men’s doubles coach Tan Kim Her a welcome gift should they able to beat No. 2 seeds Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen of China in Sunday’s final.


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