All England Open 2018: Lin Dan beats old rival Lee Chong Wei to enter semifinals
What’s the story?
Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei rolled back the years in their 40th career showdown before the Chinese notched up a 21-16, 21-17 win over his old rival to progress into the semi-finals of the All England Open 2018 in Birmingham, England on Friday. The loss ended the title defence and a seven-match winning streak for the Malaysian at the world’s oldest badminton tournament.
With this latest win, the two-time Olympic gold medal-winning Lin Dan now has a 28-12 head-to-head record over Lee Chong Wei.
In case you didn’t know
This was their fifth meeting at the All England Open. The first time that they locked horns in Birmingham was way back in 2006 in the semi-finals. Their subsequent meetings were in the finals in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Out of those matches, the only time Lee won was in 2011.
While Lee won the title four times, Lin is looking for his seventh crown at this prestigious tournament.
The heart of the matter
The 34-year-old Lin Dan, whose last title at this tournament came in 2016, did not drop a game en route to the last-eight. In contrast, the 35-year-old Lee Chong Wei had to work hard in his second round for a three-game win over Korea’s Lee Dong Keun.
There wasn’t much to choose between the two in the opener, where both brought forth their attacking play. In the second game, Lee Chong Wei had a 13-10 advantage only to see his old foe coming back to dash all his hopes of a comeback. Lin Dan closed out the win in 52 minutes.
The sixth seeded Lin next takes on his unseeded compatriot, Huang Yuxiang. The latter won two lengthy three-game duels over Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy in the second round and quarter-finals respectively.
The two proved that age is indeed just a number. Even in the twilight of their brilliant careers, they still conjured up enough magic to keep their fans captivated.
Let us hope we are blessed with more such matches before they hang up their racquets.Published 17 Mar 2018, 16:51 IST