BIRMINGHAM, UK: Lin Dan recovered from a game down for the second day in succession to reach his first All-England final for four years on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) but women’s world champion Carolina Marin was a shock casualty.
Lin, the 32-year-old two-time Olympic champion, who hopes to win the sport’s oldest title again as part of his bid to qualify for the Rio Games, came through 18-21, 21-15, 21-9 against his unseeded Chinese compatriot, Xue Song.
For long periods, Lin unaccountably made little attempt to put the shuttle on the floor, and instead became involved in lengthy clearing and lifting rallies, which extended the contest to fully 82 minutes.
The day before Lin lost the first game to Jan Jorgensen, the fifth seeded Dane, but once his recovery had gathered momentum finished the match with brilliant combinations.
“I don’t know why I have lost the first games in these matches,” said Lin.
“And today I think I made a major mistake. I don’t know why that happened. It shouldn’t happen. I really need to go away and find out.”
Lin, bidding for a sixth All England title, will face compatriot Tian Houwei, the eighth seed, who overcame surprise semi-finalist, Hans Vittinghus, the unseeded Dane, by 15-21, 21-14, 21-14.
Marin, the top-seeded titleholder and world champion, became the latest in a cull of all the favourites at the tournament when she was beaten in a long-drawn out and perhaps ominous semi-final encounter.
The 22-year-old Spaniard was beaten 11-21, 21-16, 21-14 by Nozomi Okuhara, the hard-working, patient and consistent eighth-seeded Japanese player who gradually developed an effective pattern which, it became increasingly clear, would win her the match if she could maintain it.