Chong Wei books dream semi-final against Dan

Malaysian medal hopeful Lee Chong Wei advanced to the semi-finals of the badminton men’s singles at the Rio Olympic Games on Wednesday.

The superstar eased past Chou Tien Chen 21-9,21-15 in just 42 minutes on the courts of the Riocentro.

After barely breaking a sweat in the opening game, Chong Wei was challenged in the second as the sixth seed mounted a comeback, reducing the deficit to just three.

There was a cracking rally at 19-13, where Chen had the upper-hand on multiple occasions until Chong Wei got a lucky net cord to end the point, leaving Chen with his hands on his hips.

Another fortunate net cord on match point would seal the win for Chong Wei, keeping alive Malaysia’s chances of a first ever Olympic gold medal.

The win books him a place in the semi-final with long time rival and defending gold medallist Lin Dan, who survived a second game comeback to beat Srikanth Kidambi 21-6, 11-21, 21-18 in a thrilling affair.

After firing through the opening game in no time at all, Dan faced a tougher challenge in the second.

The Indian shuttler gained confidence after a fast start to race to a 13-6 lead. A patient gameplan soon saw that move to 19-10 and he closed out the games from there, forcing a decider.

The Chinese star got the better of Srikanth in a number of early rallies open up a 6-3 lead in the final game. But Srikanth rallied with some confident net play to turn it around and take the lead 12-10.

Dan turned on the class for the remainder of the game and showed all of his experience to grind out a win.

The second semi-final will see Chen Long of China take on Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen.

Chen booked his place by defeating South Korean Wan Ho Son two games to one.

Chen claimed the first game 21-11 before the world number nine, Son, fought back in the second, taking a hotly contested game 21-18.

But the London 2012 bronze medalist took the final game by the same margin as the first to progress to his second successive Olympic semi-final.

Axelsen rounds out the last four after he beat Rajiv Ouseph by two games to nil.

The Dane breezed past the Englishman winning the opening game 21-12 before closing out the match with a 21-16 win in the second.