Lin to face Lee in Incheon final

Source:AFP-Global Times Published: 2014-9-28 0:13:01

Badminton arch-rivals locked in tense showdown

Olympic champion Lin Dan eased through 21-14, 21-18 against Japan's Kenichi Tago on Saturday at the Asian Games in Incheon to set up the latest installment in badminton's most fascinating rivalry.

Badminton's world No.1 Lee Chong Wei fought back from a game down to set up a crunch semifinal with arch-rival and longtime nemesis Lin.

Malaysia's Lee was put through his paces by Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Minh, and he had the net cord to thank as he edged a tight deciding game and took it 21-23, 21-16, 21-17.

Longtime No.1 Lee has frequently been undone by Lin on the big stage and the 31-year-old is now making his last attempt at winning the Asian Games gold.

"Before I went out on court I heard Lee Chong Wei had told Chinese reporters that he had lost many games before against me, so he has nothing to lose," said Lin.

"I have won many games before against him, so that's more the case for me. I will go all-out.

"I don't know when I or Lee Chong Wei will retire, so I cherish every opportunity to play against him."

Nguyen, 30, fended off a barrage of Lee smashes as he took the first game but Lee won the second, pushing Nguyen around with mid-court and net shots.

He squandered a 12-4 lead in the third as Nguyen battled back to 17-17 before two crucial shots bounced back off the net cord and Lee finally took the game.

Lin had a much easier outing against Tago and although he was forced into some acrobatic dives, the Chinese superstar always looked in control.

Sunday's semifinal pro-­mises to be a match to savor as the two veterans clash for the last time at the Asian Games, four years after Lin beat Lee in the 2010 final.

It was one of many major defeats for Lee by Lin, including in the last two Olympic finals and the 2011 and 2013 world championship finals.

Lin leads their head-to-head 22-9.

The last time they met was in the dramatic 2013 world championship final in Guangzhou, where Lee won the first game but lost in three, collapsing during the third in an overheated stadium.

Lee also lost this year's worlds final to Lin's Chinese teammate, 25-year-old Chen Long, who beat the Malaysian in the men's team semifinal in Incheon.

Chen meets Hong Kong's Wei Nan in the other singles semifinal on Sunday.

The women's singles final on Sunday is a Chinese head-to-head after world No.1 Li Xuerui beat Chinese Taipei's Tai ­Tzu-ying and Wang Yihan defeated the host nation's Bae Yeon-ju.

Posted in: Eye on the ball

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