BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - World and Olympic champion Lin Dan of China lost his All England title on Friday, downed in a major upset 21-16 18-21 21-17 by sixth-seeded compatriot Bao Chunlai in the quarter-finals.
Lin has contested the last six All England finals, winning four of them, but had no answer to his fellow left-hander.
Seeded two, behind Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, Lin looked to be on his way to victory in the decider when he led 11-7 but a losing run of six points in succession turned the tables.
Bao raced to 20-15 and although Lin saved two match points, a smash down the line that was just out handed victory to his opponent.
Lin had been making his seasonal debut in the tournament after missing the first two Super Series of the year but has looked in good shape.
“Bao was playing really well today but I was okay too. I thought I had a chance,” he told reporters.
Bao said: “I can’t remember the last time I beat him. I played really, really well. I played a faster game which I think gave me the edge.”
Bao’s opponent in Saturday’s semi-finals is unseeded Japanese Kenichi Tago who ousted third seed Chen Jin of China, champion in 2008, 22-20 19-21 21-13.
The other semi-final features world number one Chong Wei against Denmark’s Peter Gade, All England champion back in 1999.
Chong Wei was stretched by South Korean qualifier Shon Wan-ho before emerging a 14-21 21-14 21-14 winner.
Gade edged out former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia 20-22 22-20 22-20 in their last eight clash.
“I knew if I could keep moving him at a fast speed I had a chance,” the Dane told reporters. “Mentally, it was one of my best games ever so I am really happy.”
Remarkably, when Gade won his All England title 11 years ago his opponent in the final was Hidayat, then 17. “He was just a boy,” quipped the Dane, now 33, when asked to recall the match.
In the women’s singles, Dane Tine Rasmussen, All England champion in 2008, saved three match points before rallying to beat world champion Lu Lan of China 16-21 23-21 21-11 in their quarter-final.
Editing by Ken Ferris