World number ones Lin Dan and Zhang Ning stormed into the semi-finals of the world badminton championships yesterday, as China tried to reclaim control of this wildly unpredictable tournament.
Defending champion Lin was pushed in the first game against rising Indian star Anup Sridhar, but soon took a stranglehold on the match to win 22-20, 21-9.
"He's quite a complete player, one of the fittest guys around and it's difficult to break down his defense," Sridhar said of the Chinese star.
Lin, who watched girlfriend and defending champion Xie Xingfang crash out of the championships the day before, takes on teammate Bao Chunlai in the semis.
The fourth seed Bao easily downed Denmark's Kenneth Jonassen 21-18, 21-15.
Olympic champion Zhang Ning, seeking to retake the world crown she lost in 2005, was equally impressive on the women's side, trouncing England's Tracey Hallam 21-11, 21-9.
Despite these wins, there was one disappointment for the normally dominant Chinese.
World No. 1 doubles duo Fu Haifeng and Cai Yun were ousted in a three-game thriller by Malaysia's Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah.
In other men's singles action, Indonesia's Sony Dwi Kuncoro sent Peter Gade packing in a fiery match that saw the Danish champion given a yellow card.
One game down and faced with an unfavorable line call, the fifth seeded Dane smashed an advertising sign with his racquet.
In the men's doubles, Malaysia's unheralded Choong and Lee fought back from one game down to defeat the Chinese champions and sneak into the semi-finals.
In the women's doubles, Japan's Kumiko Ogura and Reiko Shiota downed Taiwan's Chou Chia-chi and Ku Pei-ting 21-19, 21-15.
Defending mixed doubles champions Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms of England lost 21-13, 21-16 in their quarter-final against Indonesia's sixth seeds Flandy Limpele and Vita Marissa.
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