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"Super Dan" edges Japanese Sasaki to reach semis

08-03-2012 06:33 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

China's Lin Dan returns the ball during men's singles quarterfinals of badminton against Sho Sasaki of Japan, at London 2012 Olympic Games in London, Britain, August 2, 2012. Lin Dan won the match 2-1 and entered the semifinal. (Xinhua/Tang Shi)

LONDON, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Defending Olympic champion Lin Dan dropped a game to Japanese shuttler Sasaki Sho before winning the hard battle Thursday evening, so as to advance into the semifinal of men's singles.

Both left-handed players, their competition was so fierce that each exchange took a long time. The pair dashed across the court, falling down sometimes for retrieve.

Lin, 29, who tops the world's ranking, controlled the rhythm of the first game with a 21-12 result.

In the second game, Lin changed a racket. The more aggressive Sasaki spared no effort in each shot, frequently changing direction and speed. In comparison, the Chinese star made some wrong judgements on where the shuttlecock would land. With his last shot crossing the side line, the set ended 16-21.

Lin displayed his explosiveness in the decider, lashing smashes to pull ahead. As Sasaki made his last attempt with a forceful strike, the world champion threw himself down on the court to hit back, but the shuttlecock dropped beyond the line. 21-17.

"He is a very good player, very tenacious," Lin said of his rival. "He is the same age as me and this is his last Olympics as well, so he tried his best."

Lin said he played smoothly in the first set, while in the second, when he was behind, his mindset wasn't good. "I didn't do quite well, especially when I failed to build on my lead. But I didn't make big mistakes and I believe I will do better."

In the next match he will be playing against seventh seed Lee Hyun Il from South Korea. In their previous 16 encounters Lin holds 13 victories.

Lee Hyun Il edged out another Chinese player Chen Jin to make to the semi-finals.

"I did my best and it has already been a success to come here," Chen said.

The fourth seed, 26, said he has been playing badminton for nearly 20 years. "This is not my last Olympics. I am still young and I have the ability to compete."

Earlier on Thursday, another Chinese player Chen Long defeated veteran shuttler Peter Gade from Denmark. He will meet the Malaysian badminton legend Lee Chong Wei in the semifinal.

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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