All England Open 2018: Lin Dan to fight for 7th title against compatriot Shi Yuqi; Tai Tzu Ying beats Chen Yufei in semis

Lin Dan closed in on a seventh men's singles title at the Badminton All-England Open championships when he reached Sunday's final with a 21-14, 13-21, 21-11 victory over Chinese compatriot Huang Yuxiang.

AFP March 18, 2018 10:57:04 IST
All England Open 2018: Lin Dan to fight for 7th title against compatriot Shi Yuqi; Tai Tzu Ying beats Chen Yufei in semis

Birmingham: Lin Dan closed in on a seventh men's singles title at the Badminton All-England Open championships when he reached Sunday's final with a 21-14, 13-21, 21-11 victory over Chinese compatriot Huang Yuxiang.

All England Open 2018 Lin Dan to fight for 7th title against compatriot Shi Yuqi Tai Tzu Ying beats Chen Yufei in semis

China's Lin Dan in action during the men's singles semi-final clash against Huang Yuxiang. Reuters

If the 34-year-old beats another Chinese opponent, the seventh-seeded Shi Yuqi, he will move to within one title of Rudy Hartono’s record eight All-England titles, although the Indonesian’s successes occurred before the Open era.

Lin is already assured of one record, though, after booking his place in a 10th All England final.

He was far from his brilliant best in Saturday's semi-final, however, as the unseeded Huang took advantage of a temporary drop in Lin's standard of play to take his illustrious opponent to a deciding game.

But Lin turned on the style again in the third game, with some clever changes of pace, and sudden penetrating attacks, exuding a confidence which suggested the result was never in doubt.

“I think I played quite well,” he said. “I did make some mistakes and that was one of the reasons why I lost the second game. But all my colleagues have been playing well here.

“I will try to continue what I am doing and I hope that tomorrow I will take a new record,” he said, referring to the Open era benchmark.

His opponent on Sunday, Shi Yuqi, made sure there will be a Chinese winner when he beat Son Wan Ho, the fifth-seeded Korean 21-17, 21-14, to reach the final for the second successive year.

There could be a record in the women’s singles too, after Akane Yamaguchi, the World Super Series titleholder from Japan, reached the final in an exhausting one-hour 20-minutes encounter with PV Sindhu, the Olympic silver medallist from India, eventually prevailing 19-21, 21-19, 21-18.

If Yamaguchi has enough energy left to beat Tai Tzu Ying, the top-seeded titleholder from Taiwan, she will become the first All-England women’s singles champion from Japan since Hiroe Yuki in 1977, when the game was still officially amateur.

Tai beat eighth-seeded Chen Yufei of China 21-15, 20-22, 21-3.

Yamaguchi snatched the second game with a dramatic net cord, and then fought back from 7-13 down in the decider.

“There were moments when I wanted to quit,” Yamaguchi said. “The rallies were so tough, but I tried to hang in and keep up.

"Then I changed my mind, and just tried not to make mistakes. I think that saved me. Now I have a great opportunity.”

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