BADMINTON: Lin enter semi-finals with hard-fought win at Anaheim
ANAHEIM (California): World number one and Chinese top seed Lin Dan survived another tough match at the Badminton World Championships with a hard-fought 5-15, 15-7, 15-8 win over Lee Hyun Iiin the quarter-finals.
The 21-year-old from Fujian was taken to three games for the second time is three matches at the Anaheim worlds. Lin needed 62 minutes to dispatch the 13th seeded South Korean on Friday and book a semi-final clash with Denmark’s Peter Gade, who beat Lin’s compatriot Chen Hong 15-13, 15-14. Lin, who has dominated men’s badminton over the past 18 months, said his motivation is one of the keys to his success. “I get energetic for all my matches,” Lin said. “Even though I win a lot of competitions I feel that every tournament is a new start.
“You can’t look back on past performances. I want to be the best in the world.” Lin suffered a shock first round exit in the Athens Olympics to Singapore’s Ronald Susilo but he has since won five tournaments, including the China Open and back-to-back German Opens. Olympic gold medallist Taufik Hidayat, of Indonesia, also reached the semis by rallying to upset second seed Kenneth Jonassen, of Denmark, 8-15, 15-10, 15-7. Sixth seed Hidayat, who is not afraid to show his emotions on the court and is considered the bad boy of men’s badminton, next faces Malaysian fifth seed Lee Chong Wei who beat No 4 Bao Chunlai, of China.
Reigning European champion Peter Gade improved to 7-1 lifetime against Chen with a straight-game victory. “I am in the semi-finals,” Gade said. “It will be tough but I am ready. “I feel good now that I can say I am one of the four best in the world again.” Gade, who was the runner-up at the 2001 worlds, looks to be in perfect mid-season form, having not lost a game in four matches in Anaheim. This was the eighth career meeting between Gade and Chen with Gade having won the last five straight. Gade also beat Chen 17-4, 15-2 in the semi-finals of the 2001 Worlds in Seville, Spain.
In women’s singles, top seed Zhang Ning, of China, cruised past Japan’s Kaori Mori 11-4, 11-6, second seed Xie Xingfang, of China, overpowered England’s Tracey Hallam 11-3, 11-1. Germany’s Xu Huaiwen rolled over third seed Pi Hongyan, of France, 11-3, 11-2 in the battle of Chinese expatriates. Two countries, Thailand and New Zealand, made history by claiming their first world championship medals on Friday. Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thungthongkam shocked reigning Olympic mixed doubles champs Zhang Jun and Gao Ling of China to capture the first world championship medal for Thailand.
New Zealand also won its first worlds medal as 15th seeded Daniel Shirley and Sara Runesten-Petersen upset sixth seeded Lee Jae Jin and Lee Hyo Jung of South Korea 15-11, 15-13 in mixed doubles. The Thais booked a place in the semis and a clash with Indonesia’s Nova Widianto and Lilyana Natsir who beat Swedes Frederik Bergstrom and Johanna Persson 15-6, 15-6.
“I am very happy. This is a big relief,” Sudket said. “My family will be very excited for me.” The Thais and Kiwis have at least a bronze medal as there is no match for third and fourth place. Zhang and Gao won gold at both the Athens and Sydney Olympics and captured the 2001 World Championship title. They were runner-up at the last worlds in 2003. Saralee and Sudket were not aware that they had made badminton history for their nation. “We are very pleased to have a medal,” Saralee said. Shirley and Runesten-Petersen will face China’s Xie Zhongbo and Zhang Yawen in the semi-finals as they are also assured of capturing at least a bronze medal. afp