He was crushed in the final. She was upset in the semis.
The Doha Asian Games were hardly a honeymoon for China 's
badminton love-birds Lin Dan and Xie Xingfang.
"I was disappointed not to win the final. I did not play very
well," said a depressed Lin after losing to his arch-rival,
defending champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, on Saturday.
His girlfriend Xie, who had played a key role in helping China
win team events, even failed to make the final, falling to Hong
Kong's Wang Chen.
"I was not at my best at the Asian Games. There were too many
tournaments in this season, which made me feel tired," Xie
The two world No 1s have made frequent headlines thanks to their
glittering achievements and off-court romance.
But Doha was hardly the city of romance for the well-known
"We can not expect too much from ourselves. Nobody is
invincible," Xie said.
In the face of serious pressure from the fans, the two have done
what they can to encourage one another.
"We talked a lot after her semi-final knock-out. I know her
well. She was not at her best before the Asian Games. Actually, she
was playing every well and helped China win the team title. We will
never complain about each other," said Lin, who had beaten Hidayat
twice during China 's charge to the team championships.
Xie, who cheered her boyfriend throughout the match, insisted
Lin was treated unfairly by the referee and said she believed Lin
would beat Taufik next time.
"I think it was wrong for the referee not to allow Lin to change
the shuttle in the first set. It was ridiculous. Lin failed to find
the rhythm," protested Xie.
Lin lost five points in a row after the referee's refusal and
that basically determined the outcome of the first set.
Hidayat, the 2004 Athens Olympic champion, won the first game
comfortably and then saved three game points in the second game
while trailing 20-17.
"I did not keep composure when leading 20-17 in the second set.
Anyway, the match is over and I should have my eyes on the future.
I have to learn something from the defeat. Anyway, the 2008
Olympics is more important for me," said the reigning world
champion Lin, who is still seeking an Asian Games title and an
Rivalry goes on
For Lin, who has gained an upper hand over Hidayat in the 2006
season with victories in the Japan Open and Hong Kong Open, the
2008 Beijing Games will be his last big chance for revenge. Hidayat
plans to retire after 2008 Beijing Games.
"It will be my last Asian Games. But I will compete in Beijing
and also will be my last major international tournament," Hidayat
Before Hidayat's swansong, the two badminton titans will
continue to be in the spotlight on and off the court.
"I feel confident and comfortable that I will beat Lin Dan.
There are lots of tournaments next year."
Hidayat fanned the flames of the pair's fierce rivalry before
the Games when he described Lin as "arrogant."
The Indonesian had previously been docked ranking points and
prize money after storming out mid-match against Lin in August.
Both denied the mutual hostility and asked the media to pay more
attention to what happens on the court.
"I hope to make friends with Lin. I hope the media will not
exaggerate our relationship. We are not enemies off the court,"
said a jubilant Hidayat.
The Indonesian, who is usually described as "bad body," also did
not show any dissatisfaction at a one-man-show press conference
that Lin had refused to attend.
When the media service officer was asked why Lin refused,
"Ask him (Lin) why!"
(China Daily December 11, 2006)