Badminton: Champion Lin survives to set up Lee showdown

Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:02pm EDT
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By Ian Ransom

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Twice-Olympic champion Lin Dan survived a huge scare against India's Kidambi Srikanth in the men's badminton singles in Rio on Wednesday to set up a semi-final with Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei, the man he beat for the gold medal in Beijing and London.

China's Lin, bidding for an unprecedented third successive title, was pushed to the limit in the 68-minute battle with world number 11 Srikanth but ratcheted up the pressure in the deciding game to close out the match 21-6 11-21 21-18 at the Riocentro.

Top seed Lee had a far easier run against Chou Tien-chen in the opening match and was never seriously tested by the seventh-ranked Taiwanese during a 21-9 21-15 demolition.

Third-ranked Lin's seeding put him in Lee's side of the draw, denying fans another battle royale in the gold medal-decider but Friday's semi-final will pit two of the finest players of the modern era against each other in their Olympic swan song.

Thirty three year-old Lee has beaten Lin in their past two meetings but has only tasted heartbreak in big tournaments against his Olympic nemesis.

The Chinese dashed Lee's hopes of a first gold in his final Asian Games at Incheon in 2014 and denied him twice in the final at the 2011 and 2013 world championships.

"The last big tournament we played was the 2014 Asian Games," Lin told reporters.

"We've played in tournaments since but the Olympic arena is a bit different."   Continued...

Lin Dan of China plays against Srikanth Kidambi of India.        REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo