World number one Chen Long cruised again on Friday while his legendary compatriot Lin Dan survived a scare, but the Chinese shuttlers stayed on a collision course for the final of the Malaysia Open.
Chen notched another straight-game win, this time over Japan’s Kento Momota in the quarterfinals, before Lin displayed his famed resilience to come back from a dropped first game against countryman Tian Houwei.
Chen, the reigning world champion, dominated Momota in a 21-16, 21-11 victory, stretching the Japanese all over the court with his baseline and net play.
Lin lost the first game of his quarterfinal 11-21 as the 23-year-old Tian seized the initiative from his slow-starting opponent with a series of forehand drives.
But Lin, 31, drew on his vast experience to take the next two games, 21-16, 21-13.
Lin, a five-time world champion and twice Olympic gold medallist, has yet to win the Malaysia Open, one of the only titles missing from his glittering trophy cabinet.
“I didnâ€™t play well in the first game and had to change my strategy in the second. If not, I would have lost,” he said.
Chen will face his countryman Wang Zhengming in the semifinals while Lin takes on Denmark’s Jan Jorgensen, who beat Hong Kong’s Wei Nan 21-9, 21-15 in the quarters Friday.
Women’s world number one Saina Nehwal of India saw off Chinaâ€™s Sun Yu 21-11, 18-21, 21-17 to set-up a last-four encounter against top seed Li Xuerui, who overcame teammate Wang Yihan 14-21, 21-15, 21-12.
Carolina Marin of Spain kept European hopes alive with a 21-12, 21-9 victory over Hong Kong qualifier Cheung Ngan Yi.
Marin will take on China’s Wang Shixian in the other semifinal.