Birmingham: Badminton fans who have been anticipating for the 38th installment of Lee Chong Wei vs. Lin Dan will have to keep waiting because the two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan was knocked out of All England semi-finals by his teammate Shi on Saturday.
Lee Chong Wei advances to the 2017 All England final. (photo: AFP)Lee Chong Wei advances to the 2017 All England final. (photo: AFP)
Lin Dan, the six time All England champion, found himself outpaced and sometimes wrong-footed by Shi who is 12 years younger than him. Lin committed a lot of unforced errors especially in the second set to eventually go down 22-24, 11-21 in the semi-finals.
"I feel quite lucky to be able to defeat Lin Dan and to make it to the final," said Shi. Shi will play World No. 1 men's singles player Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the final.
Lee who was very close to pulling out of the 2017 All England when he suffered a torn Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) on his left knee early February. But he was determined to prove his commitment to one of his favorite tournaments, and despite playing in pain, he did not drop a game throughout the whole tournament until Saturday.
The Malaysian badminton superstar was struggling in his first set against Chou Tien Chen in the semi-final match, losing the first set to Chou 10-21. Shaking off rust, Lee broke back immediately in the second set, coasted through the second with 21-14.
Chou had no answer to Lee's class in the decider. Lee's tricky net shots, relentless defense and unparalleled returning allowed him to take control of the third set and held on for a 21-9 victory.
"I couldn't keep up with Chou in the first set, but I was able to bounce back in the second and the third," said Lee.
Lee also revealed that this may not be his last All England after all.
"I hope I can try again in the All England next year," added Lee.
No. 5 seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia will clash with No. 6 seeds Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen of China on Sunday to fight for the men's doubles crown.