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Lin sets all-Chinese finals at WBC

Reuters
Aug 15, 2009 at 10:40pm IST

Hyderabad: Olympic champion Lin Dan passed a stiff test against Sony Dwi Kuncoro to move one step away from capturing a record hat-trick of world titles on Saturday.

The player nicknamed "Super Dan" ended Indonesian hopes in the singles by downing sixth seed Kuncoro 21-14, 13-21, 21-15 to set up an all-Chinese final against world No. 2 Chen Jin.

Second seed Chen muscled his way past former champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, routing the fourth seed 21-16, 21-6 in 39 minutes in an awesome display of power and precision.

SUPER SHOT: China's Lin Dan returns a shot against Indonesia's Sony Dwi Kuncoro during their WBC semi-final.

The women's final will also have a Chinese winner after twice former champion and sixth seed Xie Xingfang overcame eighth-seed Pi Hongyan, a Chinese-born French player, 21-18, 21-8.

Xie will face seventh seed Lu Lan, who upset compatriot and world No. 2 Wang Lin 21-18, 21-19 in the other semi-final.

Lin, 25, praised Kuncoro and was happy China will be the winner on Sunday.

"Sony was playing tactfully, not allowing me to finish off quickly," he told reporters, adding: "It does not matter who wins, China is assured of the gold medal."

Net duels

Fifth seed Lin, world champion in 2006 and 2007, was subdued early on but steadily took control by drawing Kuncoro to the net to finish off points.

However, Kuncoro bounced back in the second game when he kept Lin off the net and engaged him in longer rallies to force errors.

Lin displayed his class in the decider to edge clear of the tiring Kuncoro, who hit wide twice in a row to end the contest.

Hidayat, the 2004 Olympic champion, countered the 23-year-old Chen's power initially with his crafty approach, staying level until 14-all in the opening game.

But the taller Chen took charge, hammering powerful smashes to the Indonesian's forehand and body to take the first game.

Chen, 23, was unstoppable in the next game as he raced ahead 8-0, forcing errors even from the famed backhand of the 2005 world champion. He hit three down-the-line smashes to reach match point before Hidayat pushed a backhand wide to bow out.

Taufik, 28, conceded his younger rival had proved too strong for him. "Had I been younger, I'd have beaten him."

Chen said: "Technically I played better. Taufik is good at the net, so I tried to avoid him there and restricted his movements on the court."

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