JAKARTA • The highly-anticipated World Championships semi-final clash between two of badminton's biggest stars will not happen.
While Lee Chong Wei - unseeded for this tournament following his recent return from an eight-month doping suspension - fulfilled his side of the bargain, it was Lin Dan who was stunningly dumped out of the men's singles competition in the quarter-finals yesterday.
The five-time world champion from China - who is seeded fifth - could not find an answer to Danish world No. 2 Jan Jorgensen, losing in straight games 12-21, 15-21.
The defeat means that Jorgensen will move on to face Lee in the semi-finals. The Malaysian defeated 13th seed Hu Yun of Hong Kong 21-12, 21-18 in an earlier tie.
Lee is bidding to win his first world title, having lost in the final in the last three editions - twice to Lin and then to Chen Long last year.
PUSHING THE CHAMPION ALL THE WAY
I was so close to getting the second set, but Chen Long played better than me. ''
VIKTOR AXELSEN, who lost narrowly
Defending champion Chen was pushed to the limit, as he fought off a stubborn Viktor Axelsen 21-18, 30-29 in an epic showdown.
The seventh-seeded Dane put up a dogged defence in the second, dragging the contest beyond an hour. "I was starting to prepare for the third game, but luckily I got it," the Chinese world No. 1 told reporters via a translator.
A devastated Axelsen said he struggled to find a rhythm.
"I was so close to getting the second set, but Chen Long played better than me here," the young hopeful told reporters after the match. "Of course when I look back in a few days I can be proud of my performance... but when you are so close to winning, it's pretty disappointing."
Chen will next face fourth seed Kento Momota, who dispatched Hong Kong's Wei Nan 21-6, 21-14.
The 20-year-old Momota, who won the Indonesian Open in June, was hoping to face Axelsen but is determined to do his best against the defending champion.
"Chen Long is the No. 1 seed, so I hope to prove myself against him," the Japanese said.
In the women's singles, world No. 1 Carolina Marin appeared at her most confident as she charged past her toughest opponent yet, seventh seed Wang Shixian of China, 21-17, 21-19. The Spaniard showed no sign of the ankle injury she suffered on Thursday and kept her cool even as Wang put her through her paces in the second game.
Marin will face Korean Sung Ji Hyun after the ninth seed beat India's P.V. Sindhu 21-17, 19-21, 21-16.
Indonesia's unseeded shuttler Lindaweni Fanetri upset Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu-ying, bouncing back from a slow start to defeat the fourth seed 14-21, 22-20, 21-12 before a roaring home crowd.
She meets Indian second seed Saina Nehwal, who overcame sixth seed Wang Yihan 21-15, 19-21, 21-19. This means China will not win the women's title for the third year running.
BWF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Day 6: StarHub Ch201, noon