Saina Nehwal exit, Chen Long, Lin Dan advance to Asia Championships semis

Lin Dan returns a shot at the Badminton Asia Championships

Wuhan: The Indian challenge at the $200,000 Badminton Asia Championships came to an end following the women’s singles quarter-final losses of Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu on Friday.Lin Dan returns a shot at the Badminton Asia Championships
World No.1 Saina lost to Chinese Taipei’s Tzu Ying Tai in three tough games, and eighth seed Sindhu went down to reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China in like manner at the Wuhan Sports Center Gymnasium. Fifth seed Tzu defeated World No.1 Saina 16-21, 21-13, 21-18 in 55 minutes to level her head-to-head to 5-all against the second seed. This is Tzu’s third successive victory over Saina.
Later, Sindhu, who is making a return to the circuit following a three-month injury-layoff, took off in brilliant fashion by easily taking the first game 21-11 against the top seed.
However, the Olympic champion fought back to take the second game 21-19 and push the match into the decider. In the third game, Xuerui totally dominated Sindhu to win the game 21-8 and the match in 52 minutes.
In men’s singles, Lin Dan, Tian Houwei, Wang Zhengming, Chen Long marched into semi-final to set up an all-China affair on Saturday.
Second seed Lin Dan was the first to book his place in the semi-final when he defeated Sho Sasaki of Japan 21-17, 21-13. Then, Tian Houwei needed only 46 minutes to dispatch Chong Wei Feng of Malaysia 21-18, 21-9. However, last week’s China Masters champion Wang Zhengming had a much tougher time against fourth seed Son Wan Ho and toiled for 42 minutes before subduing the South Korean 21-14, 21-19. Top seed Chen Long picked up a straight-set quarterfinal win over Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan to set up a semi-final clash with compatriot Tian Houwei on Saturday.
Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan were stretched to their limits against third seeds Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan of China in the men’s doubles quarter-final match. Ahsan and Setiawan saved two match points from the China pair in the decider before they clinched the victory with 21-18 11-21 24-22 in 70 minutes. Ahsan/Setiawan will play another Chinese pair Cai Yun and Lu Kai in the semi-final. Meanwhile, men’s doubles top seeds Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong of Korea rolled to a quick-fire win on Friday over China’s Chai Biao/Hong Wei with 21-10 21-14, while another Korean pair Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang secured a 21-16 21-15 victory over Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa.
With China taking up three semi-final places in women’s doubles semi-finals, it will be up to Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi to prevent an all Chinese final.
Mixed Doubles top seeds Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei conceded a walkover to Kenichi Hayakawa/Misaki Matsutomo on Friday due to knee injury suffered by Zhang Nang. The Japanese will take on Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei/Chau Hoi Wah in the semi-final, while familiar foes Xu Chen/Ma Jin of China and Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia will face off in the second semi-final on Saturday.


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