China's Lin revels in beating younger rivals

Thu Mar 5, 2015 5:38pm EST
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By Rod Gilmour

BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Five-time champion Lin Dan said he had been learning from his younger rivals as the Chinese kept alive his bid for a sixth All-England Championship title on Thursday.

The 31-year-old, who has played irregularly since 2012, showed the mental strength which produced two Olympic titles to secure a 21-15 21-19 last-16 win over compatriot Tian Houwei.

Hard-hitting Tian threw everything at fifth-seeded Lin but could not build on mini-comebacks in each game, including a tenacious set of rallies to level from 14-10 down in the opener.

“To have the correct attitude is crucial when you come up against these talented players,” said Lin, referring to his 23-year-old opponent.

“Being a professional athlete, we all want to win the title. I can also learn from them and I’m more than happy to face the challenges they pose.”

Lin's last eight opponent is Kento Momota, the Japanese in surprising form this week, who edged past Marc Zwiebler of Germany, a former All-England semi-finalist.

Lin could face a potential semi-final meeting with world champion and holder Chen Long, who had little difficulty dispatching Taiwan’s Jen Hao Hsu 21-7 21-9.

Earlier, Olympic bronze medalist Saina Nehwal saw the women’s singles draw open up to her advantage, but the Indian shuttler will first have to overturn a Chinese hoodoo.   Continued...