Top-seeded Lin advances to semifinals in badminton
BEIJING (AP) Top-seeded Lin Dan of China overpowered Denmark's Peter Gade Thursday to advance to the semifinals of men's singles in the Olympic badminton tournament.
Lin defeated Gade 21-13, 21-16 to set up a semifinal showdown Friday with compatriot Chen Jin, who downed Taiwan's Hsieh Yu-hsing 21-8, 21-14 in an earlier match.
Lin, who lost in the first round in Athens four years ago, was already looking to Friday's contest after defeating Gade.
"I'm now in the top four," said Lin. "I played up to my potential today, but don't want to think too much about this match. The result is no longer important to me."
South Korea's Lee Hyun-il beat third-seeded Bao Chunlai of China 23-21, 21-11 to advance to the semis where he'll face second-seeded Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.
Lee kept Malaysia's best hope for an Olympic gold medal alive with a 21-9, 21-11 win over Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia.
After easily winning the first game, Lin had the 31-year-old Gade scrambling to all corners of the court with a dazzling combination of lobs and smashes.
"He plays with a tremendous amount of variation," said Gade. "You can't move before he makes a shot because he's so fast. The combination of all the elements make him a great player."
Lin, nicknamed "Super Dan," came into the tournament as the gold-medal favorite. China won three out of five gold medals in Athens and will be looking to at least match that tally here.
Lin has a reputation for being temperamental but has looked in complete control of his emotions in the three matches he has played in this tournament, where he has yet to lose a game.
"He looks to be in good form," said Malaysia's Lee, who many feel has the best shot at facing Lin in the final on Sunday.
In mixed doubles, South Koreans Lee Hyo-jung and Lee Yong-dae put an end to the medal hopes of Britain's Gail Emms and Nathan Roberston.
The South Koreans beat the Athens silver medalists 21-19, 21-12 to move on to the semifinals where they will meet the third-seeded pair of Flandy Limpele and Vita Marissa from Indonesia, who defeated Danes Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl 21-17, 15-21, 21-17.
It was an emotional night for Emms, who is retiring.
"Obviously, we didn't want it to end like this," said Emms. "But we gave it everything we had and we're proud of what we achieved."
The top-seeded pair of Liliyana Natsir and Nova Widianto of Indonesia will meet China's He Hanbin and Yu Yang in the other mixed doubles semifinal.
Natsir and Widianto defeated Thailand's Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam 21-13, 21-19 to advance to the semifinals while He and Yu defeated Poland's Nadiezda Kostiuczyk and Robert Mateusiak 22-20, 23-21.