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Lin Dan stops Anup Sridhar

The Indian runs the World No. 1 close in the opening game

— Photo: AFP

MIGHTY PLEASED: The defending champion, China’s Lin Dan, gives vent to his feelings after winning a hard-fought first game against India’s Anup Sridhar on Friday. The top seed entered the last four with a 22-20, 21-9 verdict.

Kuala Lumpur: Anup Sridhar’s dream run in the World Badminton Championships came to a halt after he went down to top seed and defending champion, Lin Dan in the quarterfinals here on Friday.

Sridhar played courageously against his formidable opponent before going down 22-20, 21-9 in 38 minutes.

The scoreline is not an indicator of how Sridhar, who knocked off Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat and former All-England champion Muhd Hafiz B. Hashim, ran close the World No.1 Lin.

The Bangalore boy played with a big heart in the first game. After being down 2-6, Sridhar slowly started closing the gap to hold Lin at 10-10 and got the advantage at 12-11.

Neck-and-neck fight

From there on, it was a neck-and-neck thriller with both scoring one point at a time. Sridhar stood on the verge of a game point at 20-19 but could not convert it. Lin was in no mood to give his fierce opponent another chance and closed it at 22-20.

Sridhar, whose deft placements at the net has been his hallmark in the tournament, had surprised Lin with his supple wristy game as he pocketed 12 net winners to Lin’s three in the first game.

Lin was in absolute command in the second game and did not concede an inch to tame the giant-killer Indian without much trouble. The Chinese raced to a 7-1 lead and it was too wide a gap for Sridhar to close.

Complete player

“He’s quite a complete player, one of the fittest guys around and it’s difficult to break down his defence,” said Sridhar of the Chinese star.

Sridhar would be more than happy with what he achieved in the tournament and his world ranking of 40 is sure to get a major boost from his quarterfinal appearance here.

Lin was joined in the semifinals by compatriot Bao Chunlai, a 21-18, 21-15 victor over Denmark’s Kenneth Jonassen, Indonesia’s Sony Dwi Kuncoro, who edged out Jonassen’s better known compatriot Peter Gade 22-20, 21-18 and Yu Chen, who removed Singapore’s Ronald Susilo 21-14, 21-16.

The results (quarterfinals): Men’s singles: Lin Dan (Chn) bt Anup Sridhar (Ind) 22-20, 21-9; Bao Chunlai (Chn) bt Kenneth Jonassen (Den) 21-18, 21-15.

Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Ina) bt Peter Gade (Den) 22-20, 21-18; Yu Chen (Chn) bt Ronald Susilo (Sin) 21-14, 21-16. Women’s singles: Zhang Ning (Chn) bt Tracey Hallam (Eng) 21-11, 21-9; Lan Lu (Chn) bt Xu Huawein (Ger) 21-9 , 12-21, 21-16.

Lin Zhu (Chn) bt Mew Choo Wong (Mas) 21-17, 13-21, 21-16; Wang Chen (HK) bt Pi Hongyan (Fra) 21-15, 21-8 . — Agencies

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