Lin, Lee through to semis at Japan Open

Tokyo: Beijing Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan battled past Park Sung-Hwan in the quarter-finals of the Japan Open on Friday, avenging his loss to the Korean in last month`s world championships.

The Chinese fifth seed, who crashed out to Park in the Paris worlds, beat the unseeded South Korean 22-20, 21-16 in Tokyo.

In the semi-finals on Saturday, Lin will play two-time Japan Open champion Peter Gade of Denmark, who eliminated Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam 21-13, 21-13.

World number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia coasted to a 21-10, 21-10 win over defending champion Bao Chunlai of China and now plays Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand, winner over China`s Chen Long 21-16, 17-21, 21-12.

Lin, the former world number one who is now ranked fifth against Park`s 14th, came back from a game point down in the first, firing sudden attacks twice in a row to lead 21-20 before taking the game with an overhead drop shot.

Lin jumped ahead 6-0 in the second game, but a series of errors saw him slip to 6-6 and then 10-10, before pulling away and finishing off the 55-minute battle with an unstoppable jump smash.

"Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. It`s not a special thing that I won today," Lin said, recalling his 21-13, 21-13 defeat in the world championships.

"In the beginning, I couldn`t hit as well as I wanted to," he said, blaming breeze from an air conditioner.

"We`ve played many times and we know each other very well. It`s a question of how you make your opponent run around." Lee said after beating Bao in a mere 33 minutes that his mental preparation for the tournament was the biggest reason for an easy win.

"I`ve been trying to enjoy playing in this tournament. I think that allowed me to play my very best. I prepared very well for this tournament," said Lee, the 2007 champion here.

In the women`s, world silver medallist Wang Xin was made to work hard before beating Japan`s Eriko Hirose 21-14, 18-21, 21-10 for a place against 2007 champion Tine Baun of Denmark, winner over Sung Ji-Hyun of South Korea 21-11, 21-18.

The other semi-final match will be an all-Chinese affair between Jiang Yanjiao, winner over 2009 world champion Lu Lan 21-17, 21-15, and Wang Shixian, who defeated Japan`s Shizuka Uchida 21-11, 16-21, 21-13.

"I was nervous because I`m not used to playing in such a big stadium. Besides, I made too many mistakes in the latter half of the match," said Wang Shixian, 20.

"Her shots often came between my eyes and the lights and it was difficult to hit the shuttle back. But in the final game, I tried to change the speed of the shuttle and attacked more. It worked well," she added.

Bureau Report

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