ALL ENGLAND 2009 – Lin Dan back with a BANG!!

The most anticipated match of the day in Birmingham saw the return to action of Olympic Champion, Lin Dan, who entered the arena to rapturous applause. The charismatic world number […]

The most anticipated match of the day in Birmingham saw the return to action of Olympic Champion, Lin Dan, who entered the arena to rapturous applause. The charismatic world number 2 is a clear crowd favourite here in Birmingham and to all a clear favourite for the men’s singles title, which to some commentators he handed on a plate to his compatriot Chen Jin this time last year to help his fellow countryman’s efforts for Olympic qualification.
By Mark Phelan (Live) Photos: (Live in Birmingham)

Lin Dan
(photo) took to court today and in typical Lin Dan fashion gave his fans plenty of highs and lows as he moved effortlessly into tomorrow’s second round with a 2 set win over world number 50 Anup Sridhar from India.
The Indian shuttler took the very first point of set one but that was to be the only time he headed ‘Super Dan’ in the opening set. As if to tease his opponent the Olympic Champion always seemed to dangle the temptation of an upset by keeping a safe but catchable distance ahead of his opponent but eventually took the opener 21-13 to leave Sridhar the almost impossible task of needing to take the next two sets to advance.
The second set was altogether much closer as for the majority of the game and both players had the crowd on the edge of their seats as they traded blows and points and were all square at 14-14. Lin Dan at this point seemed to push the overdrive button as if to show the crowd that he was always in control and instantly won the remaining 7 points needed to take the set and the win and doing so sets up the tie of the second round against recent German Open winner Bao Chunlai of China.
Defending women’s champion Tine Rasmussen entered the tournament with a potentially tricky tie against Xing Aiying of Singapore. Rasmussen is attempting to retain her title that she claimed last year which is a feat that has not been achieved by a Danish women’s singles player since Lene Koppen achieved back to back wins in 1979 and 1980.
Rasmussen, sporting her new Babolat attire, was made fight hard against her world number 29 opponent. Aiying took a commanding lead in the first and at 17-14 up looked to be on the way to causing an upset. Rasmussen (photo) re grouped and was clearly not in the mood for a three sett battle this early in the tournament and took the next 7 points to take the opening set 21-17.
In the second set the world number one was never led as she controlled the set with power and craft. Aiying was still in the game at 10-9 but then Rasmussen took firm control and compiled two runs of 3 points without reply and eventually ran out a comfortable winner 21-15 in a match that lasted just under a half hour on court number 2.
Other winners in the late evening session were number 5 mixed doubles pair from Denmark Laybourn and Rytter Juhl as they overcame Korean pair Han Sang Hoon and Kim Min Jung in two tough sets 21-17, 21-19.

In the final match of the day, English hopes were dealt a further blow as Sarah Bok was forced to withdraw from the mixed doubles due to illness having played earlier in the day in the women’s doubles. This was a blow for the young English pair as they had come through qualification to reach the first round and must have fancied their chances to cause a further upset and make a second round appearance, but it was just not to be.

For all results go HERE

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