Lin vs. Hidayat, the singles showdown


DOHA, Qatar: Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat will get another shot at No. 1-ranked Lin Dan at the Asian Games.

The defending singles champion will meet the Chinese ace in Saturday's final, hoping to avenge two losses to Lin during the team event.

Lin advanced 21-3, 21-10 Friday over South Korea's Lee Hyun-il, needing only nine minutes to win the first game after a dominating streak of 12 points took him from a 6-2 lead to 18-2.

He wrapped up the match in 22 minutes on consecutive errors from Lee, pumping his fist to the crowd behind him.

Hidayat was having more difficulty on the adjoining court against world No. 2-ranked Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia before winning 21-16, 21-18.

Hidayat clinched it in 44 minutes with a deft touch shot that dropped onto the line, much to the bemusement of a grimacing Lee.

A vocal Indonesian cheering section chanted Hidayat's name throughout the match and no doubt will be encouraging him against Lin in the championship match, which the 25-year-old star has said could be his last at the Asian Games.

Lin had wins over Hidayat in the preliminary round and semifinal of the team event, with both matches going to three games.

The animosity between Hidayat and Lin has overshadowed their matches after a well publicized run in at Hong Kong this year.

Hidayat, who was quoted calling Lin "arrogant" while at practice last week, has refused to re-ignite the tension, saying "I don't want to talk about him."

Lin, who lists his occupation as a soldier in the People's Liberation Army, has had a stunning year, winning the world championship in Madrid, the Thomas and Uber Cup and the All England Open to go with his titles in Hong Kong, Japan, Macau and Taiwan.

Hidayat has been relatively quiet since winning the Athens Olympics gold medal and being named badminton player of the year in 2004. His only singles title this season was at the Indonesian Open. He was runner-up to Lin at the China Open.

(source: iht)


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