Fuzhou: For the 35th time in their storied rivalry, the top two greatest badminton players of our era will cross swords in a highly anticipated China Open semi-finals on Saturday. For Lee Chong Wei, it is an opportunity for him to end his five-match losing streak against Lin Dan since March 2012 at All England. The last time Lee defeated Lin was at the Korea Open in Jan 2012.
Having already lost ten times this season, three of them in the first round, the two-time Olympic champion and five-time world champion Lin Dan is in an unusual position of making a much needed run at the China Open, hoping to fuel a late-season resurgence in the worst season of his career.
Lee Chong Wei arrived at the China Open quarter-finals with a stable performance against World No. 2 Jan O Jorgensen on Friday. Lee dropped the second set in his match but produced a typically spirited response to close out the match in three sets, 21-11, 11-21, 21-10 in 53 minutes.
Lin Dan, on the other hand, faced tough resistance from Hu Yun of Hong Kong on Friday before swatting away Hu with 21-8, 10-21, 21-17 in 53 minutes.
“I felt pretty good but Hu Yun gave me one heck of a match today. I will be better prepared for the semi-finals tomorrow,” said Lin Dan after the match.
“I’ve been paying close attention to Lee’s play, and I am looking forward to another great match with Lee tomorrow,” added Lin.
In the other half, World No. 1 Chen Long upped the pressure at crucial stages of each set before wrapping up victory against No. 7 seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 21-17, 21-13 in 50 minutes. Chen will play Son Wan Ho of Korea on Saturday for a final berth.
In women’s singles, No. 5 seed Wang Shixian produced a sensational comeback to defeat No. 2 seed Carolina Marin 21-13, 10-21, 21-10 in a pulsating encounter and set up a meeting with No. 6 seed Li Xuerui in the semi-finals of the China Open in Fuzhou. No. 1 seed Saina Nehwal and No. 7 seed Wang Yihan will battle in another semi-finals.
Here’s a look at the men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles semi-final matchups on Saturday:
Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang (Korea) vs. No. 5 Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa (Japan)
Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Cheol (Korea) vs. No. 6 Chai Biao/Hong Wei (China)
No. 1 Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi (Japan) vs. Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee (Korea)
Tan Yuanting/Yu Yang (China) vs. No. 5 Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei
No. 4 Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin vs. No. 5 Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen (Denmark)
No. 1 Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei vs. No. 3 Xu Chen/Ma Jin