Awesome Lin completes hat-trick

Lan Lu overpowers Xingfang to grab womens title as China call the shots

 Lan Lu shows off her gold medal after winning the women’s crown. RIGHT: Lan Din celebrates after sealing his third consecutive men’s title. DH Photos / Kishor Kumar Bolar

Lin Dan did become the first player to win three titles in a row at the World Badminton Championship, but his final contest against compatriot and world number two Chen Jin was a drab affair. Champion in 2006 and 2007, Lin defeated Chen 21-18, 21-16 to complete a hat-trick of wins at the Gachibowli stadium on Sunday.

Lin may have taken a piece of history with him, but the fifth seed also had to swallow minor disappointment when his partner and the overwhelming favourite to clinch the women’s title, Xie Xingfang, went down tamely to world number seven Lan Lu 21-23, 12-21.

The match between Lin and Chen wasn’t anywhere as close as the scoreline might suggest. There were occasional trademark smashes and clever dribbles, but the energy levels the two exhibited during their semifinal encounters were sorely missing. The otherwise nimble-footed Chen was surprisingly slow, while a relaxed Lin even found time to try out some new strokes.

“We know each other’s game. It was like a practice match today,” said Lin. Delighted with his hat-trick, he went on, “I am happy and honoured to win the title thrice. I am not a genius, I have just worked hard. Anyone can win the title if they work hard.”
Lin, however, was non-committal about his future plans. “I will finish tournaments this year and then think about what to do next year. The London Olympics are far away anyway,” he remarked.

The women’s final was a bigger disappointment. In the first game, Xie did show some stomach for fight but she was always doing the catching up. The fifth seed even held a game point at 21-20 after saving one at 19-20. But Lu quelled Xie’s attempts to pocket the game. Xie was listless in the second as unforced errors flowed from her racquet and her body language suggested the lack of desire to win.

“After the Olympics, the desire to win is not as great as some of the younger players have,” admitted Xie, who defeated Lu to win the gold at the Beijing Games. She, however, wasn’t sure of her appearance in the next Worlds.

After claiming her maiden World title, Lu said: “It was tough in the first game but I was surprised with the ease with which I won the second. My strategy was to be fast and try to finish off rallies quickly.”

The women’s doubles match, again an all-Chinese affair, saw a keen contest. After losing the first game to second-seeded Cheng Shu and Zhao Yunlei 17-21, Zhang Yawen and Zhao Tingting rallied splendidly to win the next two 21-17, 21-16.

The Chinese capped off the memorable day when their men’s doubles pair of Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng overcame the tenacious Korean duo of Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae 21-18, 16-21, 28-26 to give China their fourth gold medal of the meet.

The only title to elude the Chinese was in the mixed doubles, where Denmark’s seventh seeds Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl upset Indonesian second seeds Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir 21-13, 21-17.

DH News Service

Results: Men’s singles: 5-Lin Dan (China) bt 2-Chen Jin (China) 21-18, 21-16.
Women’s singles: 7-Lan Lu (China) bt 5-Xie Xingfang (China) 23-21, 21-12.
Men’s doubles: 5-Yun Cai/ Haifeng Fu (China) bt 4-Jae Sung Jung/ Yong Dae Lee (Korea) 21-18, 16-21, 28-26.

Women’s doubles: 8-Yawen Zhang/ Tingting Zhao (China) bt 2-Shu Cheng/ Yunlei Zhao (China) 17-21, 21-17, 21-16.

Mixed doubles: 7-Thomas Laybourn/ Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Denmark) bt 2-Nova Widianto/ Liliyana Natsir (Indonesia) 21-13, 21-17.

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