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Chen stuns Lin at All England for maiden title
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Defending champion Lin Dan slumped to a shock defeat in the final of the All England Open in Birmingham yesterday, beaten 20-22, 23-25 by fourth seeded Chinese compatriot Chen Jin.

China's Chen Jin reaches for a shot during his match against Lin Dan in the final of the All England Open in Birmingham yesterday.

China's Chen Jin reaches for a shot during his match against Lin Dan in the final of the All England Open in Birmingham yesterday.

China won another title when defending champions Zheng Bo and Gao Ling rallied to see off Indonesia's Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir 18-21, 21-14, 21-9 in the mixed doubles final.

But China then suffered a setback when third-seeded Lu Lan was stunned 11-21, 21-18, 20-22 by Tine Rasmussen of Denmark in the women's singles final.

Lu had earlier beaten seventh seeded Xu Huaiwen of Germany 21-13, 21-14 in the semifinal while Rasmussen, who beat China's world champion Zhu Lin earlier in the week, accounted for South Korea's Hwang Hye-youn 21-17 21-18.

Lin, winner in 2004, 2006 and 2007, had enjoyed a relatively trouble-free passage to his fifth All England final in succession but was hampered by a knee injury yesterday.

He told a media conference after the surprise reverse: "It's an old injury which flared up this morning.

"I thought about pulling out in the second game but I did not want to disappoint the crowd. It stopped me smashing properly."

Chen went into the match with a 0-6 record against the world champion but looked hungry and his task was made easier by some uncharacteristic errors from Lin.

The titleholder, who was wearing a knee strap, led 18-16 in the first game but Chen fought back to take the advantage and generally controlled the second game.

Lin managed to level at 20-20, saving three match points before leading 23-22.

However, Chen saved the game point against him and took the next two points to land his first All England title.

Lin said: "I am disappointed for myself but pleased for Chen Jin. It's a big success for him."

Chen, 22, told reporters: "I am very, very happy. I have never beaten him in a tournament but I have beaten him in training and I knew if I played my best today I would have a chance."

World No. 4 Chen will be hoping to continue his winning streak when he travels to Switzerland this week to defend his Swiss Open title. He will be seeking more qualification points for the Beijing Olympics where only three Chinese can play.

Li Yongbo's team, which won four of the five titles last year, is also in contention in the women's doubles final, where Du Jing and Yu Yang face South Koreans Lee Hyo-jung and Lee Kyung-won.

The men's doubles will be all-South Korean with Hwang ji-man and Lee Jae-jin taking on Jung Jae-sung and Lee Yong-dae.

Jung and Lee outplayed third-seeded Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah 21-13, 22-24, 23-21 in the semifinal, saving one match point at 20-19.

Lee Yong-dae was lucky to escape with just a yellow card at 20-19 in the decider after banging the umpire's chair with his racket handle to dispute the line call which brought up match point.

(Agencies via Shanghai Daily March 10, 2008)

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