Lee Chong Wei beats Lin Dan in an epic three-set China Open semis

Lee Chong Wei shakes hand with Lin Dan after their China Open semi-final match. (photo: Xinhua)

Fuzhou: In the latest “badminton classic” played by two of the greatest badminton players of all time, Lee Chong Wei beat Lin Dan 17-21, 21-19, 21-19 on Saturday afternoon to move into the China Open finals.

The 35th encounter between Lee and Lin on Saturday didn’t just feel like a battle for a berth in a China Open final, but also the culmination of one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport.Lee Chong Wei shakes hand with Lin Dan after their China Open semi-final match. (photo: Xinhua)

Lee got off to a slow start and dug himself too deep a hole to trail 1-7 and 6-13 against Lin early in the first set. Lee was on the verge of levelling the score when he narrowed the gap to just 14-15, but Lin Dan quickly reestablished himself and moved ahead to seal the first set with 21-17.Lee Chong Wei pumps his fist in delight after seeing off Lin Dan.(photo: Xinhua)

The second set was a test of wills as Lee Chong Wei went toe-to-toe with a defiant Lin Dan and the score was tied up on seven occasions. Lee then re-composed himself and sparked a surge towards the end of the game by reeling off two points to take the second set 21-19 and forced a decider.

The crowd pretty much thought the match was all over with a guaranteed victory for Lee Chong Wei when he was leading at 19-16 over Lin in the decider, until he started to make some unforced errors to allow Lin Dan to claw back at 19-19. Fortunately, Lee stayed calm under pressure to claim the next two points to seal a nerve-wracking win. The victory helped Lee snapped a 5 match losing streak against Lin Dan and further improved Lee’s head-to-head record against Lin to 10-25.Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan trade shots during tremendous rally. (photo: Xinhua)

Lee will face a stern test against No. 1 seed Chen Long in the men’s finals on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Chen Long who was playing some of the best badminton of his career, defeated Son Wan Ho of Korea 21-11, 21-17 in another semi-finals as he set up a mouthwatering men’s final clash with Lee.

Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Cheol failed to create an all-Korean men’s doubles final on Sunday after they were sent packing by No. 6 seeds Chai Biao/Hong Wei of China, losing 15-21, 19-21. Nevertheless, their compatriots Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang pulled off an upset in the men’s doubles semis to stun No. 5 seeds Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa 21-17, 21-18 to advance to the final.

Here are another 3 final match-ups on Sunday:

Women’s doubles:
No. 1 Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi (Japan) vs. Tang Yuanting/Yu Yang (China)

Women’s singles:
No. 1 Saina Nehwal (India) vs. No. 6 Li Xuerui (China)

Mixed doubles:
No. 1 Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei (China) vs. No. 5 Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen (Denmark)


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