Olympic and world champion Lin Dan and world number-two Chen Long crashed out of the quarter-finals of the Japan Open Friday, leaving a shocked China out of the men’s tournament.
Lin, who has two Olympic, five world and five All-England titles under his belt, lost 19-21, 21-13, 16-21 to Denmark’s European champion Jan O. Jorgensen in a major setback after returning to competition following a seven-month sabbatical.
Second-seeded Chen lost to Hu Yun 21-18, 19-21, 15-21 in his first defeat by the Hong Kong player in their six encounters.
Top-seed and world number-one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia struggled against Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia before winning 21-15, 12-21 and 21-17.
Lin, 30, playing his first event in the top-flight badminton World Superseries since March 2012, jumped to a 6-0 lead in the first game. But he was caught at 9-9 and the game seesawed until 19-all. Jorgensen took the next two points.
In the second game, Lin broke away from 9-9 and kept his lead by more than five points to finish 21-13.
The 26-year-old Dane, who had five losses and one win against Lin in their head-to-head, struggled back to life in the final game as he kept the lead all the way from 7-all. Lin came as close as 16-17 before losing four straight points.
“I played my very best today. I was focused all the way through,” Jorgensen said. “He (Lin) was not at the level at which he played in the Olympics.”
Lin, who won the Asian championship and the second-tier China Masters in April after his comeback, admitted: “My opponent was a lot stronger. In the third game, he played more composedly than I did. I could not control the shuttle because there was some wind.”
– Chen ‘too desperate’ –
He will take part in the Superseries Australian Open in Sydney June 24-29 but will have to take part in the qualifying round, as he did at the Japan Open, because of his low world ranking after a long absence from competition.
The 25-year-old Chen, a 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, said: “I was in good shape but I could not play as I planned. I was too desperate.”
Hun said: “In my mind, I did not expect to win. But I did what I had to do and won in the end.”
“There was a wind in the gymnasium and it slowed the shuttle and helped me control my shot.”
In the other men’s quarter-final, Japan’s Kenichi Tago outlasted another Dane, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, 21-16, 16-21, 21-13.
Lee faces Tago and Jorgensen takes on Hu in the semi-finals on Saturday.
In the women’s quarter-finals, Olympic champion and top-seed Li Xuerui of China outclassed Spain’s Carolina Marin 21-14, 21-12.
In the semi-finals, Li faces South Korea’s Sung Ji-Hyun who beat Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand 13-21, 22-20, 21-11.
Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying stopped Sayaka Takahashi as the Japanese was injured when she was trailing in the second game 6-11 after losing the first 19-21.
In the other quarter-final, unseeded Chinese Liu Xin beat Hong Kong’s Yip Pui-yin 19-21, 21-13, 21-14.