Lin Dan pumped to reach All England semifinals
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) Lin Dan gave a double fist pump and primal scream. Then he yelled again. That's how much beating Jan O Jorgensen in the All England Championships quarterfinals meant to the badminton superstar on Friday.
Humbled by Jorgensen in the quarters of the world championships last August, Lin was up for their first meeting since then, and showed his enduring class by winning 10-21, 21-9, 21-15 in 67 minutes.
Meanwhile, women's defending champion Carolina Marin of Spain overcame bogey player Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand to advance, but 2015 finalist Saina Nehwal of India and former champs Li Xuerui and Wang Yihan of China lost.
Jorgensen ran over Lin so easily in the first game that a repeat of their worlds result was on the cards. But Lin suddenly tuned in, ending rallies quickly with smash winners, pulling the Dane at his whim, and making play look easy. Lin jumped to 10-1 in the second game and 8-0 in the third, leaving Jorgensen remonstrating with the referee and gradually taking on the air of a man who knew he was being outclassed.
''Jan was consistent and really aggressive in the first game, and I was making a lot of mistakes,'' Lin said. ''I was really happy how I regrouped. My movement and instinct became much better.
''I was really excited when I won, it was special. He beat me at the world champs so I was extra focused.''
Lin won the last of his five All England titles in 2012, then came out of semi-retirement last year to prepare for a gold-medal tilt at a third consecutive Olympics. He won the German Open last weekend, and has reached the All England semifinals for a second straight year. A different Chinese teammate stands in his way: Top-ranked Chen Long stopped Lin last year, but this time he faces Xue Song, the latest prodigy. Lin won their only tour match in mid-2014.
Unseeded Xue dispatched Chen on Thursday, then took out sixth-ranked Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 21-19, 23-25, 21-11 in the quarters.
Tian Houwei, China's third-best player after Chen and Lin, progressed after beating Kento Momota of Japan 19-21, 21-15, 21-16. Tian will face the unseeded Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, who made up for the exit of Danish teammates Jorgensen and Axelsen by saving two match points in beating Marc Zwiebler of Germany 21-15, 13-21, 22-20.
Marin lost all four of her previous matchups with Ratchanok, and labored for nearly an hour for a 21-17, 21-19 win she described, probably because of their history, as ''really good.''
In the semis she will play Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, who rubbed out 2009 champ Wang Yihan of China 21-9, 21-13. Okuhara has beaten Marin in their last two matches.
The other semifinal pitches two-time champ Wang Shixian of China against Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan.
Wang Shixian somewhat avenged her lopsided loss to Li in the German Open final last Sunday when she won their high-quality quarterfinal 16-21, 21-18, 21-17 to even their head-to-head at 7-7.
Wang Shixian has a 6-2 record against Tai, who won their last meeting in the quarterfinals a year ago.
Tai beat third-ranked Nehwal for a fifth straight time, 21-15, 21-16. ''I was not that surprised,'' Tai said.
Her ranking dropped from No. 3 to 9 in the last four months, which meant she was the best player not to be seeded. She's heading back up the rankings.