BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Lin Dan believes the decision to consign his semifinal with Chen Long to an outside court was one of the factors behind his defeat in the All England Open on Saturday.
Chen, the world champion and world No. 1, won for the first time against Chinese teammate Lin, a five-time All England champ, by a surprisingly one-sided 21-13, 21-12.
Lin’s star clash with Chen was beside the court set up for live television, which featured women’s world champion Carolina Marin’s win over Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan. It meant no video replay was available for the outside court.
“I was disappointed not being on center court,” Lin said. “There were more than two points there that were arguably lost.
“If there had been (video replay), the umpire could have made a far better judgment, and it might have been another story.”
The lead changed hands in their first game before Chen ran away with it from 12-12. Lin, trying to become the first man to win six All Englands in more than 40 years, led 8-4 in the second, but a defensively minded Chen stamped his authority with tight interchanges at the net, and winners down the line.
Lin briefly sparked into life at 17-10 down, but two late errors saw Chen proceed to the opening Superseries final of the year and, more importantly, his first win over his superior rival after six attempts on the world tour.
“The important phase was coming from behind in the second,” Chen said. “This win means I can improve, knowing I can beat players like that.”
Lin said he failed to get pumped up for the semi, admitting he couldn’t “shout or show fist pumps” against his teammate, who will play Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark for his second All England title in three years.
The Dane has yet to drop a game, after beating Sho Sasaki of Japan 21-11, 21-12. Chen has a 6-1 record against Jorgensen, although the Dane won their last match in June.
Marin couldn’t disguise her delight as she won her semi 21-18, 21-11 against Tai, breaking into vocal outbursts of celebration.
She and Saina Nehwal will contest their first All England final, after the Indian beat Sun Yu of China 21-13, 21-13 in 51 minutes.
“It is a big event and everyone dreams of winning,” Nehwal said. “This is a big hurdle, and everyone (in India) expects a lot of me.”
Nehwal said she has prepared for matches this week by watching the films of Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan.
“They have kept me relaxed,” said Nehwal, who first played here in 2007. “I used to play with a lot of pressure but I was free today.
In the mixed doubles final, Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia will attempt to win their fourth successive All England title against Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China. (end)