Rio de Janeiro, Aug 18 (IANS) The highly-anticipated semifinal between China’s Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia will take place on Friday as the two badminton icons defeated their opponents respectively in men’s singles quarterfinals here at the Rio Olympics.

The first gold medal of badminton went to Indonesia as its pair Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir claimed an easy victory over Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying 21-14 and 21-12 in the final of mixed doubles, Xinhua news agency reported.

China’s Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei defeated their teammates Xu Chen and Majin to win the mix doubles bronze medals.

Two-time men’s singles champion Lin disposed off Kidambi Srikanth of India 21-6, 11-21, 21-18, while his close rival Lee barely broke a sweat brushing aside Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen 21-9, 21-15 in 41 minutes.

As Malaysia’s men’s doubles badminton duo and mixed doubles duo made into the gold and silver final, the pressure of claiming the first gold for Malaysia was shaken off a lot from Lee.

“The pressure must decrease as my teammates were playing well after the long-time hard-working preparation, I felt happy for them. But I have an own objective and no matter what the result will be, I will try my best and enjoy my fourth and last Olympic Games,” said Lee.

“The upcoming semi was considered to be the last Lin-Li match to lots of fans, but not to Lee Chong Wei. It is hard to say,” he added.

Compared with Lee’s easy promotion, Lin came up with a great challenge from 23-year-old shuttler Srikanth Kidambi.

“It is too easy to win the first game, but I fell far behind in the second at the beginning, but the third one meant a psychological test to players,” said Lin.

“Both of us worked hard in the past four years for this, which can prove that we are in good competitive condition at least. I’ ll try my best in the next match,” Lin referred to the coming semifinal against Lee.

China’s Chen Long cruised through Son Wan Ho of South Korea 21-11, 18-21, 21-11, and his opponent in the semifinal will be Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, who defeated Britain’s Rajiv Ouseph 21-12, 21-16.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

    Read More