Badminton: Lin Dan powers through to semis of worlds

GUANGZHOU, Guangdong - China's badminton superstar Lin Dan booked a place in the semi-finals of the world championships on Friday after swatting aside team-mate and second seed Chen Long.

Both players were given a rapturous reception at the Tianhe gymnasium in Guangzhou, southern China, with the home crowd cheering loudly for both as they came on court.

The first game saw defending champion "Super Dan" and his 24-year-old rival trade point for point, drawing on an armoury of high lifts, smashes and subtle drop shots.

But the game started to go Lin's way after he leapt high in the air to drive home a smash to go up 13-10. On the next point Chen's return sat on the net and refused to drop, gifting Lin - widely recognised as the best player of all time - a four-point lead.

A rampant Lin, 30, went on to take the first game 21-13 before slipping behind at the start of the second, but reigning All-England champion Chen failed to capitalise.

An enthralling encounter went down to the wire with Chen sending his final shot into the net as Lin took the game 22-20, the younger player throwing down his racket in frustration.

Lin's clash with Chen, who is widely tipped to be the successor to his crown as China's top player, was his toughest of the competition so far.

Lin, the four-time world champion and one of China's biggest sports stars, has been on the sidelines for most of the past year to spend time with his family. His form was a mystery until the start of the tournament.

Fans are hoping for another classic final between him and arch rival Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, who plays later Friday. Lin beat Lee in the last two Olympic finals and the previous world championships final in 2011.