Lin Dan won a showdown that wasn't much of a show as he beat Taufik Hidayat 21-9, 21-12 in a last-16 matchup of Olympic badminton champions on Wednesday.
Lin advanced to the quarterfinals in his title defense, but he wasn’t tested by the retiring Hidayat, the 2004 gold medallist.
The top-ranked Chinese star was much too fast, and Hidayat didn’t help his cause with hesitant play at the net and no luck. In the end, the Indonesian great was smiling in resignation as his smashes landed just wide while Lin, who seemed to enjoy every net cord in his favor, watched his shots consistently hit the lines in his 10th straight win over Hidayat.
Lin awaited Sho Sasaki of Japan or Kevin Cordon of Guatemala, as cheering and applause filled Wembley Arena in stark contrast to the previous night.
The arena was in an uproar as boos rained down on two women’s doubles matches being deliberately thrown.
China’s world champion women’s duo and pairs from South Korea and Indonesia purposely lost points in their final group matches to earn favorable draws in the last 16.
All four pairs faced a Badminton World Federation hearing early Wednesday, charged with not trying their best and embarrassing the sport.
There was no whiff of manipulation as the knockout rounds began, and the hottest player on the tour, Li Xuerui of China, was first into the quarterfinals. The third seed was given a tough workout in edging Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan 21-16, 23-21 in 46 minutes. Tai saved five match points and had a game point but couldn’t recover a Li drop shot.
Tai hit an attempted drop wide to give away her sixth match point, and Li finally cashed it in with a smash which left Tai sprawled face down on the court.
The win was the 33rd in the last 34 matches for Li, who was picked by China ahead of Asian Games champion Wang Shixian less than three weeks ago.
Li next meets unseeded Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong, who finally reached her first major quarterfinals after losing in the last 16 of the last three world championships. Yip outlasted Hongyang Pi of France 13-21, 21-12, 21-5.
On the men’s side, Parupalli Kashyap of India needed more than an hour to put away Niluka Karunaratne of Sri Lanka 21-14, 15-21, 21-9 in a match involving unseeded players.