Lin Dan into All-England semi-finals

Lin’s subtle manoeuvring and softly-masked disguises offered an indication of how much his preparation for the Olympics may already have raised his standard.

Lin Dan is ecstatic after a comeback win against Jan Jorgensen.   -  Reuters

Olympic champion Lin Dan scored a notable revenge over Jan Jorgensen, the third-seeded Dane, to reach the semi-finals of the All-England Open with a 10-21, 21-9, 21-15 win on Friday.

After turning the match round Lin got completely on top before Jorgensen injected a little late respectability into the score-line.

Lin’s subtle manoeuvrings and softly masked disguises offered an indication of how much his preparation for the Olympics may already have raised his standard.

It was atonement for a loss to Jorgensen in the world championships quarter-finals in Jakarta seven months ago, when Lin was well beaten in straight games.

“I took time to analyse Jorgensen’s game after that defeat,” Lin said.

“I tried to find better ways of beating him. I really like the way he plays – it’s aggressive and he can apply a lot of pressure – but this was a good experience for me after the first game.”

It also suggested that even at 32, and despite very few tournament titles in the past three years, Lin may well be good enough to challenge for a third Olympic gold.

“I’m no longer young, but I still enjoy the competition, and the feeling of that,” he said. “I’m really excited with the win.”

He is surely among the favourites for the All-England title with both Chen Long, the titleholder, and Lee Chong Wei, the former world number one, being beaten.

He next plays Chen’s conqueror, Xue Song, who played another fine match to cause an upset for the second successive day, overcoming Danish sixth seed Viktor Axelsen 21-19, 23-25, 21-11.

Though ranked as low as 30, Xue has been playing to a top ten standard, applying steady pressure, keeping a cool head, and attributing his good mental state to watching American horror movies.

“I’m really happy to play my teammate,” said Lin. “It will be a different feeling altogether.”

Marin ends losing streak against Intanon

Top-seeded Carolina Marin ended a sequence of four losses in four matches against Ratchanok Intanon.

The top-seeded titleholder from Spain beat the former world champion from Thailand 21-27, 21-19.

“I think this is my best match so far – I spent a lot of time preparing for it,” said Marin. “I’m very happy with my performance and I really want to win this title.”

Marin next plays Nozomi Okuhara, the Super Series finals winner from Japan, who heavily outplayed Wang Yihan, the former All-England champion, by 21-9, 21-13, ensuring there will not be an all-Chinese women’s singles final.

However Chinese players occupied three of the four men’s singles semi-finals places after Tian Houwei, the eighth seed, overcame Kento Momota, the other Super Series finals winner from Japan, in 69 long drawn out minutes, by beating him 19-21, 21-15, 21-16.

Tian now plays the most surprising survivor of all, Hans-Christian Vittinghus, the third best Dane, who saved two match points from 18-20 down against Marc Zwiebler, a former semi-finalist from Germany, to win 21-15, 13-21, 22-20.

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