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Lin Dan leads PLA into National Games semis
Updated: 2013-09-04

Lin Dan leads PLA into National Games semis

Lin Dan of PLA team returns a ball to Huang Yuxiang of Zhejiang team during men's badminton team event at the 12th National Games in Jinzhou, Northeast China's Liaoning province, Sept 1, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]

JINZHOU, China - Badminton superstar Lin Dan led the People's Liberation Army team through to the semifinals of the team event at the 12th Chinese National Games on Tuesday.

Lin, representing the PLA delegation, claimed a hard-fought 21-12, 9-21, 21-10 victory over teenager Xue Song of Guangdong province in the opening match of the last group stage round. But the PLA team lost to Guangdong 3-2.

However, the PLA eventually took the second place in the six-team round robin with three wins in Group F, and entered the top four for the first time together with the group winner Beijing.

"I really want to (save energy to) perform well in the singles events, but there are lots of young players in our team pinning their hopes on my shoulder, so I must spare no effort to win the match in the team event,"  said Lin, who will later compete in the singles event, in which he was crowned in the 2005 and 2009 editions of the Games.

In Group E, Fujian province, spearhead by world No 2 Chen Long, cruised into the semifinals after winning all the five group matches. Defending champions Jiangsu province ranked the second with four wins.

In Wednesday's semifinals, the PLA will meet Fujian, meaning Lin and Chen could have a rematch after their clash in the quarterfinals at last month's Guangzhou world championships, in which Lin won in two tough sets.

In August, Lin made successful return to action after one year off since the London Olympics, becoming the first man to win five world championships singles titles.