LIN DAN, CHONG WEI STAY ON COURSE WHILE DEFENDING CHAMPIONS FACE ARCH RIVALS IN DOUBLES FINAL
The dream final between world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and three-time world champion Lin Dan of China is one step away from becoming a reality in the Asian Games men’s singles tournament after the duo qualified for Saturday’s semi-finals.
In the men’s doubles, defending champions Koo Kien Kiat-Tan Boon Heong of Malaysia faces Indonesia’s Olympic champions Markis Kido- Hendra Setiawan, the pair they beat in the Doha Asian Games semi-finals four years ago.
Chong Wei, who suffered a surprise defeat in the team event to Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana, got revenge when he defeated the Thai 21-13, 21-17 to set up a semi-final match against newly crowned world champion Chen Jin of China, who overcame a first game hiccup to win 21-19, 21-14.
Speaking to the Malaysian media, Chong Wei said: “I was faster today and showed better control at the net than him. I grew in confidence after serving up several winners at the net and it made all the difference for me. It feels really good to beat him after the setback in the team event.
“This could be my last chance to win the title as I may not be around in 2014. I have beaten Chen Jin twice this year – enroute to winning the Malaysian and Korean Opens but his confidence may be on a high after capturing the world title in August.”
Olympic champion Lin Dan was simply devastating in his 21-9, 21-16 victory over Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh as he goes in search for the only major title to elude him.
His opponent in the semi-finals will be South Korea’s Park Sung-hwan, who scored his first ever victory over former world and Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia in the quarter-finals.
Hidayat’s defeat denied Lin Dan the chance to avenge his loss in the Doha final four years ago but the Chinese star is expecting a tough time in Saturday’s semi-finals.
Lin Dan told the Chinese media: “I didn’t watch Park’s match against Taufik but I expect a very tough match. Hopefully I can be at my best.”
Sung-hwan, meanwhile, said his victory over Hidayat has given his confidence at extra boost as he tries to upset the formbook when he faces Lin Dan.
Beijing Olympic champions Kido-Setiawan reached the men’s doubles final when they overcame a fighting performance from South Korea’s Chung Jae-sung/Lee Yong-dae before registering an impressive 21-15, 13-21, 21-18 victory.
They will be out to avenge their defeat to the Malaysian pair who defeated them in Doha. Kien Keat-Boon Heong prevented an all-Indonesian final when they defeated Mohammad Ahsan-Alvent Yulianto Chandra 21-19, 21-16 in the other semi-final.