India's Saina Nehwal returns a shot to I China's Wang Yihan.
Jakarta - Jorgensen to face Lee Chong Wei after Lin upset
Indian badminton ace Saina Nehwal came out with a sensational performance on Friday to enter her maiden women's singles semifinal at the World Championships and assure herself of at least a bronze medal here.
In a marathon match that lasted for an hour and 12 minutes at the 9,000-seater Istora Senayan, the second seeded Hyderabadi defeated former World Champion Yihan Wang of China 21-15, 19-21, 21-19 to advance to the last four for the first time at the World meet.
This was World No.2 Saina's only third win out of 12 meetings against the former World No.1 and also her second consecutive win after also trumping the Chinese at the All England Open in March.
Saina will take on local girl Lindaweni Fanetri against whom the Olympic bronze medallist has a 2-1 advantage in career meetings.
The 25-year-old Indian has been having a go at the Worlds every year since 2009 and each time she faltered at the quarterfinal stage.
Losing semifinalists at the World Championships are assured of a bronze medal while the finalists fight it out for the gold.
Indian shuttlers have won only four bronze medals at the prestigious championships till date. Prakash Padukone became the first Indian to win the metal in 1983 in men's singles. India had to wait for another 28 years when the women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa clinched the bronze in 2011.
Since then, women's singles specialist P.V. Sindhu won two back-to-back bronzes in 2013 and 2014. And now, Saina has assured herself of at least a bronze this time around. Meanwhile, Jan O. Jorgensen shattered Lin Dan's dreams of a sixth world crown on Friday, defeating the Chinese badminton legend and booking a semifinal showdown against Malaysian superstar Lee Chong Wei.
The Danish shuttler overpowered Lin 21-12, 21-15, just the third time in his career he's beaten the two-time Olympic champion considered by many one of the true greats of the sport.
It was an emotional victory for Jorgensen, who was forced to withdraw from the world championships on home soil in Copenhagen last year despite being a real medal contender. The second-seed wiped tears from his eyes as he recalled the training and sacrifice he'd poured into preparing for this year's world championships.
"Now here I am, playing some of the best badminton I've done ever," the 27-year-old told reporters.
Jorgensen had one of the toughest draws in the men's singles, and many did not expect him to emerge triumphant from his tete-a-tete with Lin. But the fifth-seeded Chinese star never found his rhythm against Jorgensen, blaming everything from his physical condition to crowd noise for his poor showing.
Badminton fans had been pining for a semifinal bout between Lin and Lee, arch-rivals who for years have provided some of the most explosive contests on the court.
Lin, who has deprived Lee of gold medals not just at the world championships but the Olympics, expressed regret the old foes wouldn't clash again in Jakarta.
"I'm quite disappointed I can't meet Lee Chong Wei," he said via a translator.
"But I have to accept the result, because I didn't so very well today." Lee has returned from an eight-month doping ban guns blazing, convincing many his gold-medal drought at the world championships could come to an end in Jakarta. - IANS/AFP
He brushed aside 13th seed Hu Yun of Hong Kong 21-12, 21-18 on Friday, his third high-profile scalp in as many days.
In the women's singles, world number one Carolina Marin appeared at her most confident as she charged past her toughest opponent yet, seventh seed Wang Shixian of China, 21-17, 21-19.
She will face Korean Sung Ji-Hyun after the ninth-seed beat India's P.V. Sindhu 21-17, 19-21, 21-16.
Unseeded Japanese pair Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao, who dismissed the second-ranked Chinese pair on Thursday, continued their rampage in the women's doubles with a 25-23, 21-14 win over 13th seeded Indian pair Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa.
In a rematch of last year's final, defending champions Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei beat their Chinese compatriots Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, ending Yu's hopes of becoming the first player in history to win four women's doubles gold medals.
The semifinals get underway in Jakarta on Saturday.