China's Super Dan beat Malaysia's Lee in epic 40th encounter

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Lin Dan of China celebrates after the men's singles quarterfinal with Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia at All England Open Badminton Championships 2018 in Birmingham, Britain on March 16, 2018. Lin Dan won 2-0 and advanced to the semifinal. [Xinhua]

China's Lin Dan defeated Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei in their 40th encounter to reach the semifinals of the All England Open badminton championships in Birmingham on Friday.

Lin, 34, a twice Olympic champion and six-time All England champion, took 51 minutes to take his 28th win against the 35-year-old Lee, a three-time Olympic silver medalist who lifted the trophy here four times.

The match was as intense as expected and Lin, who trailed 4-0 in the first game, beat Lee 21-16 21-17.

"After the match we congratulated one another because we both played quite well, but neither quite at our best today," Lin said after the match.

"Everytime I meet him, I always want to play my best because he is the one of the most respected players in the world for me," Lin said of the long-time rival, whom he met for the first time in 2005.

Lee, the defending champion, said, "I tried my best to beat Lin Dan but he played too many shots which I didn't expect him to play but I tried my best in every shot. He was very precise and made no mistakes."

It was the fourth time Lee lost to Lin in their five encounters at the All England Open, but Lee promised to come back next year.

"I need to keep my head up and look forward to other tournaments ahead of me. I will go home now and prepare for another challenge at the Commonwealth Games. I am sorry to make you disappointed but I am sure that I will come back next year."

Lin will take on compatriot Huang Yuxiang in the semifinals on Saturday night. Huang edged out India's H.S. Prannoy 20-22, 21-16, 23-21 in a thriller that lasted 76 minutes.

The other semifinal will be held between last year's runner-up Shi Yuqi and South Korea's Son Wan Ho. Shi eliminated Olympic champion Chen Long 21-10,21-17 in an all-Chinese event and Son defeated Kenta Nishimoto of Japan 21-18, 9-21,21-14.

In the women's singles event, Olympic champion Carolina, the 2015 winner, lost to second seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan 21-15, 21-18 while India's Pusarla V. Sindhu beat Japan's Nozomi Okuhara 20-22, 21-18, 21-18 in a repeat of the World Championships final last year.

Yamaguchi will take on Pusarla while the other semifinal pits China's Chen Yufei against defending champion Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei.

Tai advanced with a 21-12, 21-13 victory over Japan's Aya Ohori and Chen defeated Denmark's Mia Blichfeldt 21-17, 21-12.

"Every time I play Chen Yufei it is a hard match," Tai said. "I will try to make less mistakes and challenge her. I hope to play at least as well as I did today."

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