Lin Dan of China in action in the final of the Australian Open badminton championship last month. - AFP
PETALING JAYA: World No. 13 Lin Dan suffered a small scare before overcoming Japan’s Riichi Takeshita 21-15, 14-21, 21-18 in the semi-finals of the Taiwan Open at the Taipei Arena.
Lin Dan got off to a great start on Saturday as he cruised to 11-3 in the opener, only to have Takeshita claw back to 11-8 before the five-time world champion from China wrapped up the game 21-15.
The only previous meeting between the pair was more than two years ago at the Badminton Asia Championships in 2012 when the former world No. 1 easily whitewashed Takeshita 21-13, 21-8.
The unseeded Japanese shuttler was determined not to see a repeat of that result.
Takeshita went on the offensive in the second game, racing to an impressive 7-0 lead, which appeared to take Lin Dan by surprise. The world No. 123 went on to take the game 21-14 and send the match into the decider.
In the final game, Takeshita was not ready to back down, catching up with Lin Dan on four occasions before the latter finally shut the door on him by winning 21-18.
It will be an all-China final in the men’s singles as Lin Dan faces compatriot and second seed Wang Zhengming who defeated Hong Kong’s Wei Nan 21-18, 21-16 in the other semi-final.
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, top seed Sung Ji-hyun of South Korea scored an easy victory, beating Taiwan’s Hsu Ya-ching 21-19, 21-9 to make the final. She will face sixth seed Liu Xin of China who bettered Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin 23-21, 21-11 in 39 minutes.