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Lee Chong Wei meet Lin Dan in All-England badminton final

Posted on: March 8, 2009


Lee  Chong Wei vs Lin Dan semi final Thomas Cup 2008 -by cutelynigmatick

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by Richard Eaton – 5 mins ago

BIRMINGHAM, England (AFP) – Lee Chong Wei signalled his determination to atone for his Olympic Games defeat with an impressive performance to reach the final of the All-England Open for the first time on Saturday.

The top-seeded Malaysian destroyed Taufik Hidayat, the former Olympic and world champion from Indonesia, by 21-8, 21-13 in little more than half an hour to earn an eagerly anticipated repeat encounter with Lin Dan, the hero of Beijing.

Hidayat looked a little slow after his superb but tiring preformance in bringing down Peter Gade, the former world number one from Denmark the day before, and going to three games with England’s Andrew Smith the day before that.

But Lee was explosive in attack, resilient in defence, and occasionally inspired as he contained the best shots that his celebrated opponent could throw at him.

The first game was one way traffic, partly because Taufik’s error ratio was high. The second saw Taufik play much better, but Lee’s standard improved by even more.

The highlight was a sensational rally at 13-12, when Taufik was still well in the match, but no matter how hard he tried to push for a winner with smashes and attempted kills, Lee plunged around the court and got everything back.

This took the momentum out of Taufik’s partial recovery, and it was not long before Lee was making rapid progress, often with smashes to the body.

“Everyone wants to see a repeat of the Olympic final,” said Lee. “I will do my best. It will be a difficult match.”

Lin has won eight of the pair’s last nine meetings, and looked in very good form in ending the All-England title defence of his Chinese compatriot, Chen Jin.

He once again displayed his vast range of options, both in attack and defence, and his versatility in switching between them with disconcerting swiftness, to take an early 7-1 and stay well in front all through.

Halfway through the second game Chen began to suffer with a back problem, and with the score at 21-12, 11-6 he retired.

However, it was women’s singles semi-final between top seed Tine Rasmussen and the unseeded Chinese player Jiang Yanjiao, which produced the best match and contained the best recovery of this and of most other tournaments.

The Dane was so far behind, trailing by a game and 6-15, and then by 9-17, that her title defence seemed over, but somehow she came back to win 22-24, 25-23, 21-15.

Rasmussen also saved match points at 19-20 and 22-23 in the second game, forsaking some of her usual robust attacking style and floating the shuttle around with pushes, clears and lifts, and gradually working her way back into the contest.

She managed to coax errors from her less experienced 22-year-old opponent, and by the time she had edged forward from 8-8 in the final game to 14-10 and 15-11 it was obvious she had the patience and determination to see the recovery through.

Rasmussen was helped by Morten Frost, the four times former All-England champion, who also kept up a constant barrage of encouragement during the second half of the match.

“Morten told me to be patient and to fight,” said Rasmussen. “I think it was my patience more than anything which won it for me. I think it’s the best comeback I have ever made and I feel great about it.”

It was first time in 29 years that two Danes had reached the semi-finals of the women’s singles, but Rasmussen will next play, not another Dane, but another unseeded Chinese player, Wang Yihan.

Wang, a 21-year-old former world junior champion was a comfortable 21-11, 21-7 winner over the most surprising survivor, Nanna Brosolat, a 25-year-old qualifier from Copenhagen.

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