Fuzhou: The hometown hero Lin Dan fought off an ace assault from Japan’s Sho Sasaki to reach the China Open semi-final, prevailing 21-18, 26-24 on Friday. Sasaki had his chances to force a decider in the second set when he was leading 20-19 and 23-22, but he just couldn’t finish Lin Dan off. Lin will play Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan, who defeated Hu Yun of Hong Kong 21-18,16-21,21-17 in 72 minutes.
Meanwhile, the world’s number 25, Marc Zwiebler who stunned top seed Chen Long yesterday, fought back from one set down to see off India’s Parupalli Kashyap 18-21 21-18 21-13. He will play Indian Srikanth Kidambi who completed the semi-final line-up after a 21-17, 23-21 triumph over Kento Momota of Japan.
In the women’s competition, the path could be cleared for Saina Nehwal to become just the second non-Chinese player to win the tournament (Lee Chong Wei’s wife, Wong Mew Choo was the first non-Chinese women’s singles to win China Open in 2007) after the sixth seed beat Suo Di 21-13, 17-21, 21-5 and her potential final-four opponent, seventh seed Ratchanok Intanon, was knocked out by Liu Xin of China in straight games, 21-15 21-18.
World number three women’s singles Wang Yihan’s hope of winning the China Open title also came to an end as she was beaten in a tight contest 18-21,21-19,21-19 by fifth seed South Korea’s Bae Yeon-ju, while Japanese youngster Akane Yamaguchi had another sensational win after her 21-18 21-14 victory over Sun Yu.