One of the greatest, if not the greatest, men's singles players of all time, Lin Dan has made it through to the men's singles finals of BWF World Tour Super 300 Gwangju Korea Masters event. He would be taking on Japan's Kanta Tsuneyama who showed impressive skills in winning against Lin's compatriot Lu Guang Zu in a tightly-contested match.
5-time World Champion and 2-time Olympic gold medalist Lin Dan earned an easy win over his compatriot Zhao Jun Pen 21-12, 21-11 in just 38 minutes. Both players in this match were unseeded but the inherent quality of the gold medalist from Beijing and London games was too much for Zhao to maintain.
In the other semi-final, an exciting contest was witnessed. Japan's Tsuneyama won this semi-final in three games and just over an hour but in reality, he should have clinched the match much more easily.
The first game saw Tsuneyama putting up a clinical show where he overpowered his opponent Lu easily with some skillful shot-making and good net-play. His deceptive drop shots were especially effective. The Chinese player did play some good shots himself and showed signs of fight but it was too late and he went 0-1 down.
The second game saw a closer fight as Guang Zu started troubling Tsuneyama with those very shots that looked dangerous in the first game and also showed more fight in retrieving. He also decided to prevent his opponent from getting the advantage in rallies early on. Still, the quality of Tsuneyama was good enough to give him a 17-12 lead.
But this is where the Japanese shuttler started faltering. Unlike his more successful compatriot, current World Champion Kento Momota, Tsuneyama relies more on skill and seems less patient at times. It was this lack of patience that got him to commit errors, and, combined with the rising standard of Lu's game, lost him the second game.
Kanta Tsuneyama was still the favourite as he clearly looked the better player. The third game also began with him taking an early advantage. But his Chinese opponent was constantly using a very good smash and using Kanta's impatience to keep himself in the game. Just when it seemed that Tsuneyama broke away, he again allowed his opponent to come back.
But he held on to his nerve and eventually sealed the match 21-14, 18-21, 21-17. He now faces Lin Dan in final. The legendary player is akin to a Lion in winter but his tonnes of experience would be hard to overcome. An interesting contest ensues.