KOREA OPEN 2011 SF – Lee vs. Lin again!

Lin Dan edged out Indonesia’s Simon Santoso in 3 close games to advance to the Victor Korea Open Premier Super Series final, opposite arch-rival Lee Chong Wei. By Don Hearn, […]

Lin Dan edged out Indonesia’s Simon Santoso in 3 close games to advance to the Victor Premier Super Series final, opposite arch-rival Lee Chong Wei.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Seoul.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto

They have done battle in front of Malaysia’s legendary badminton crowds.  They have played in China for the most coveted gold medals in sport.  It is only fitting, now that Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan should face one another for badminton’s biggest monetary prize and so they shall, at the first Premier Super Series event, the Victor Korea Open.

Lee Chong Wei did his part earlier, beating out China’s Du Pengyu and preventing what would have been, in hindsight, a fourth all-China final.  China had locked up both women’s finals earlier when Wang Shixian beat Porntip Buranaprasertsuk to join Wang Yihan in the final for a second straight week.  Chinese Taipei’s Cheng/Chien had also ceded their hoped-for finals berth to the powerful Wang/Yu.

But while Lee barely allowed Du into double figures in either of their short games, Lin Dan spent much more time on court against Simon Santoso of Indonesia, who last week was a surprise semi-finalist but whose presence in the final four is now becoming quite a familiar site.

Simon was the one taking control in the first game, sitting pretty with a 20-15 lead in the first game.  Lin Dan rained on that parade, though, taking five straight points and then finally the opening game 23-21.

“I was really hoping for a fast game in the first, so I kept trying to finish the rallies quickly and then I made the mistakes,” said Simon afterward.  “I was too impatient.  I shouldn’t have rushed it so much.”

Down 5-11 in the second, Simon gave chase successfully and was able to stay consistent enough this time to grab the second game, despite first blowing two game points from 20-18.  The Indonesian was behind throughout in the third game but after he reduced a 4-point deficit to one at 15-16, Lin Dan put the hammer down and finished the match quickly, though not easily, as Simon was only barely missing the lines with some otherwise sweet shots.

“My left foot started bothering me in the second game and as I kept playing in the third, it was very painful,” recounted Santoso.

“I think that Lin Dan was playing more cautiously and he wasn’t moving as fast as he usually does.  I feel good after today, though, because I now know that I can be on par with the top players and I know I can beat them in the future.”

For now, the future of the first Premier Super Series title, as well as of the $90,000 men’s singles first prize, lies between Lin Dan, the living legend, and Lee Chong Wei, Super Series superstar.

For complete semi-final results from the 2011 Victor Korea Open Premier Super Series, CLICK HERE

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net