'I am still laughing' - Chong Wei despite defeat to Lin Dan in Badminton Asia semi-finals
Defending champion Lee Chong Wei surrendered his Badminton Asia title - losing to his arch-rival Lin Dan in the semi-finals of the 2017 Wuhan -City of Automobile Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan on Saturday.
The packed Wuhan Sports Center Gymnasium, however, was divided in terms of support from the fans as Lin Dan carved out a straight sets 21-13, 21-15 win in 52 minutes over the Malaysian for his 26th win in 37 meetings.
With the win Lin Dan stayed course for his fifth Asia title having won in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015. Chong Wei won the title in 2006 and 2016.
Saturday's win against Chong Wei was Lin Dan's second in a row. He beat the world No 1 and top seeded Malaysian 21-19, 21-14 in the Malaysia Open final in Kuching earlier this month for his first Malaysia Open title.
"I am not upset or disturbed by the defeat to Lin Dan in Wuhan. You win some and you lose some in sports. Look at me...I can still afford to laugh. There is always another time and I will be there," said Chong Wei after the match.
It will be an all-China men's singles final on Sunday with the former five-time world champions taking on world and Olympic champion Chen Long who rode to a 21-19, 21-15 win over compatriot Shi Yuqi in 46 minutes. Chen Long was runners-up to Chong Wei last year.
The women's singles final will be a Japan-Korea affair between top seed and reigning world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying taking on second seeded Akane Yamaguchi of Japan for the coveted title with the Taiwanese gunning for her sixth straight title.
In the semi-finals Tzu Ying who won the Malaysia Open and the Singapore Open in her last two tournaments after winning the All-England in March, was hardly stretched as she strolled to an easy 21-18, 21-16 win against Korean qualifier Lee Jang-mi.
After winning the Hong Kong Open in November last year Tzu Ying has been on a roll since then and ended the year on a high note by winning the women's singles in the Dubai BWF World Superseries Finals.
Yamaguchi broke the hearts of the home supporters when she put China's last hope in the women's singles He Bingjiao out of the tournament - with a 21-15, 21-19 win in a 43 minutes for a place in the final.
China are assured of the men's doubles title with sixth seeds Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen facing compatriots Huang Kaixiang-Wang Yilyu in the final.
Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen battled a one hour three-set thriller to down fourth seeds Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda of Japan 21-15, 13-21, 21-18. The unseeded Huang Kaixiang-Wang Yilyu stunned their third seeded compatriots Chai Biao-Hong Wei 21-16, 21-19 in only 30 minutes.
Rio Olympics champions Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi stormed to the final with the top seeds notching a crushing 21-14, 21-10 win over Korean third seeds Chang Ye-na-Lee So-hee.
In the final they are up against Korea's Kim Hye-rin-Yoo Hae-won - 21-16, 21-19 winners over China's Huang Dongpin-Li Yinhui.
Thailand's fast improving pair of Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai continued their fine run in Wuhan to reach the mixed doubles final. The No 8 seeds stormed to a 21-9, 21-16 win over China's Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping .
In the final they will face China's third seeds Lu Kai-Huang Yaqqiong who ended Hong Kong's Reginald Lee Chun Hei-Chau Hoi Wah run with a 21-10, 21-19 win in a 38-minute affair.
Lin Dan (Chn) beat Lee Chong Wei (Mas) 21-13, 21-15
Chen Long (Chn) beat Shi Yuqi (Chn) 21-19, 21-15
Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (Chn) beat Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (Jpn) 21-15, 13-21, 21-18
Huang Kaixiang-Wang Yilyu (Chn) beat Chai Biao-Hong Wei (Chn) 21-16, 21-19
Tai Tzu Ying (Tpe) beat Lee Jang-mi (Kor) 21-8, 21-16
Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn) beat He Bingjiao (Chn) 21-15, 21-19
Kim Hye Rin-Yoo Hae-won (Kor) beat Huang Dongping-Li Yinhui (Chn) 21-16, 21-19
Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (Jpn) beat Chang Ye-na-Lee So-hee (Kor) 21-14, 21-12
Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) beat Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (Chn) 21-19, 21-16
Lu Kai-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) beat Reginald Lee Chun Hei-Chau Hoi Wah (Hkg) 21-10, 21-19