London 2012

Gold for Chinese pair

Repeat in men's singles final as Ciina dominates women's event

Last Updated: 03/08/12 5:01pm

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China's Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei produced a stunning performance to claim badminton gold in the mixed doubles at London 2012.

The top seeds were far too strong for their compatriots and second seeds Xu Chen and Ma Jin as they powered to a 21-11 21-17 victory at Wembley Arena.

The bronze medal was won earlier in the day by Danish pair Joachim Fischer and Christinna Pedersen, who beat Indonesia's Tonowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir.

The result rarely seemed in doubt after world champions Zhang and Zhao got off to a superb start, racing into a 12-5 lead.

Zhao, despite apparent trouble from a knee injury, rarely relinquished control at the net while Zhang set up plenty of winners.

Their opponents could not impose themselves and were frequently forced into errors.

Zhang and Zhao led 8-0 in the second game and only had a brief wobble two points from victory as Xu and Ma won four in succession.

But victory was not long delayed and Zhang ran to the crowd to collect a flag from a supporter and threw his shoes into the audience.

Repeat

The men's singles final on Sunday will be a repeat of the Beijing showpiece of four years ago between all-time greats and arch-rivals Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan.

Defending champion Lin had little trouble seeing off South Korea's Lee Hyun-il.

The world number two won 11 of the first 12 points of the match and 12 of the last 14 as he powered past the ineffective seventh seed to win 21-12 21-10.

Malaysia's top seed Lee was made to work much harder by third seed Chen Long and looked more impressive for it as he won 21-13 21-14.

Lee and Lin produced a stunning spectacle when they met in the final of the World Championships at the same venue last year.

Lin survived match point to win and will again be favourite despite Lee's long-established status at the top of the world rankings.

The Malaysian, a perennial runner-up to Lin, will also carry the pressure of bidding to win his country's first Olympic gold in any sport.

Pressure

World champion Wang Yihan beat Saina Nehwal to set up an all-Chinese final in the women's singles final.

Wang defeated Nehwal 21-13 21-13 before Li Xuerei saw off a third Chinese Wang Xin 22-20 21-18 in a tight affair.

Wang used her height advantage to claim the high ground in mid-court, and put Nehwal under relentless pressure with smash after smash.

Nehwal, whose confidence was high having beaten Wang Xin and Li Xuerui in her 14-match winning streak, did her best to move Wang to the corners and drop shot her, but Wang's speed didn't leave the court open for long.

The first game was effectively over after Wang won five straight points to lead 8-3, and although the second was competitive for longer from 11-12 down Wang won 10 of the next 11 points to take victory.

"I would be happy to get the gold medal but for the Chinese team to get all three medals it would be the best," Wang said. "My coach will be very happy."

While the crowd was muted for the all-Chinese semi-final, the match was of better quality. Li had never beaten Wang Xin but this was their first match since November, and Li was no longer an easy-beat for Wang.

Neither let the other get on top for long, with three points the most it would get between them. Li reached game point first, Wang leveled, but Li took her second chance when Wang smashed wide down the line after 26 minutes. It was the turning point.

In the second game, Li got ahead early and had the confidence to stay in front. When she won, her scream was the first real sign of emotion, and let Wang Yihan know who's coming.

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