In a scene that has played out in countless venues around the world, Lin Dan had all the answers to outsmart his arch-rival, Lee Chong Wei, in tonight’s quarter-final of the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships 2018.
Though a packed Arena Birmingham urged on the Malaysian star, his opposite number snuffed him out in straight games – 21-16 21-17; in the process knocking out the defending Men’s Singles champion and No.2 seed.
Perhaps conserving energy for the weekend, 34-year-old Lin gave an efficiently clinical performance, raising his level and unleashing incisive attacks at just the right moments to gain important advantages – all wrapped around rock-solid defence. There was always the sense that he was in control and that the result would ultimately be decided by his racket and the match duly unfolded as such. Try as he did – and has done for much of his illustrious career – Lee failed to conjure up much to trouble the Chinese icon who has frustratingly stood between him and glory in numerous instances.
Admitting as much in his post-match interview, the vanquished athlete said almost everything he attempted came to nought. “I tried to attack but he defended very well. Every shot I tried, he was returning. Things didn’t go to plan,” said 35-year-old Lee candidly.
Meanwhile, Lin noted both he and Lee played well but that he was able to get some key points. In search of his seventh All England title, the languid left-hander is looking forward to a challenge of a different kind when he faces his younger compatriot Huang Yuxiang in the semi-final.
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