Lin Dan suffers shock All England final loss

BIRMINGHAM (Reuters) - Defending champion Lin Dan slumped to a shock defeat in the final of the All England championships on Sunday, beaten 22-20 25-23 by fourth-seeded Chinese compatriot Chen Jin.

Lin, winner in 2004, 2006 and 2007, had enjoyed a relatively trouble-free passage to his fifth All England final in succession but was hampered by a knee injury on Sunday.

He told a media conference after the surprise reverse: “It’s an old injury which flared up this morning.

“I thought about pulling out in the second game but I did not want to disappoint the crowd. It stopped me smashing properly.”

Chen went into the match with a 0-6 record against the world champion but looked hungry and his task was made easier by some uncharacteristic errors from Lin.

The titleholder, who was wearing a knee strap, led 18-16 in the first game but Chen fought back to take the advantage and generally controlled the second game.

Lin managed to level at 20-20, saving three match points before leading 23-22.

However, Chen saved the game point against him and took the next two points to land his first All England title.

Lin said: “I am disappointed for myself but pleased for Chen Jin. It’s a big success for him.”

Chen, 22, told reporters: “I am very, very happy. I have never beaten him in a tournament but I have beaten him in training and I knew if I played my best today I would have a chance.”

World number four Chen will be hoping to continue his winning streak when he travels to Switzerland this week to defend his Swiss Open title. He will be seeking more qualification points for the Beijing Olympics where only three Chinese can play.

The All England women’s title went to unseeded world number nine Tine Rasmussen of Denmark, who battled past third-seeded Lu Lan of China 21-11 18-21 22-20.

The mixed doubles was won for the third year running by the Chinese pair of Zheng Bo and Gao Ling, who beat number two seeds Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia 18-21 21-14 21-9.

It was an 11th All England title for Gao, who also has six women’s doubles championships to her credit.