Lin through to semis at Australian Open

Sydney: China`s Olympic and world champion Lin Dan overcame a slow start to win through to the semi-finals of the Australian Badminton Open in Sydney on Friday.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time world champion, who had to qualify for the Sydney event, downed Korea`s Son Wan-Ho 21-17, 21-10.

Lin, 30, considered the greatest badminton player of all time, saw his ranking drop to 104 after a seven-month sabbatical from the sport, returning to win the Asia Championships and China Masters this year.

Lin will play compatriot Tian Houwei in Saturday`s semi-final after Tian eliminated China`s Wang Zhengming 25-23, 21-16.

On the other side of the men`s draw, Simon Santoso will play Tommy Sugiarto in an all-Indonesian semi after victories Friday.

Santoso ousted Hong Kong`s Wong Wing-ki 21-17, 21-15 and Sugiarto beat Kento Momota of Japan, 21-18, 21-7.

Top seed and defending champion Li Han of China was knocked out of the women`s singles by Japan`s Yui Hashimoto, 21-18, 21-18.

Li never looked confident once she lost the first game while Hashimoto powered on consistently executing the sweetest of timing and tightest of net shots.

Hashimoto will take on Carolina Marin in the semis after the Spaniard eliminated India`s PV Sindhu 21-17, 21-17.

Chinese top seed Wang Shixian got past Taipei`s Tai Tzu-ying in straight games and will take on sixth seed Saina Nehwal of India in the last four.

Nehwal reached the semis at the expense of the other Japanese quarter-finalist, Eriko Hirose, 21-18, 21-9. 

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