Malaysian whips Lin Dan to set up final with Taufik By RAJES PAUL PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei showed that he is back in the groove with a smashing win over newly-crowned world champion Lin Dan of China in the semi-finals of the Japan Open in Tokyo yesterday. After a sluggish start, the 25-year-old Chong Wei upset Lin Dan 21-19, 21-15 in 41 minutes to reach his first-ever final in the Japan Open. He will play against Indonesian Taufik Hidayat today for the title. Taufik eliminated compatriot Simon Santoso 21-14, 21-16 in the other semi-final. If Chong Wei lifts the title, he will be the second Malaysian player to do so after Mohd Roslin Hashim in 2001. The victory over Lin Dan yesterday was only the fourth for Chong Wei in 11 matches against the world number one. For Lin Dan, it ended his hopes of a hat-trick of Japan Open titles. It was certainly a huge relief for Chong Wei. It came in the wake of disastrous outing in the World Championships last month. Playing at “home” in Bukit Jalil, he crashed to an uncharacteristically tame defeat by Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia in the third round. National coach Misbun Sidek was happy that Chong Wei managed to pull off the victory. “Despite trailing (5-11 in the first game), Chong Wei did not allow Lin Dan to stay in control. He got his strategy right after the interval and played calmly to win one point after another,” said Misbun in a telephone interview. “He was mentally ready for Lin Dan today. This time, there was no distraction and there was no outside disturbance. He had been really focused here from day one. “For me, the second win over Lin Dan this year (the first was at the Sudirman Cup world mixed team championships in July) is really meaningful. “It shows that Chong Wei can beat the top players if he really puts his mind to it.” Misbun said that the match between Chong Wei and Taufik today would be a clash of the titans. “Both are intelligent players. Chong Wei's fitness is up to the mark and because of that, he is able to control the game. Like Chong Wei, Taufik is also coming out from disappointment at the world championships and he does look impressive here,” he said. “Both wants to win the title badly. It will be an interesting match tomorrow.” At the China Masters in June, Chong Wei pulled off a breakthrough win – beating Taufik for the first time in two years in the semi-finals. Meanwhile, in the women's singles, Denmark's Tine Rasmussen continued her fairy-tale run by beating China's Lu Lan 21-19, 21-9 to set up a meeting with another Chinese, Xie Xingfang. En route to the final, she had beaten European champion Xu Huaiwen of Germany, China's Jiang Yanjiao and top seed Zhang Ning. In the men's doubles, the Indonesian-American combination of Candra Wijaya-Tony Gunawan will be out to win their first title this year when they take on Indonesians Luluk Hadiyanto-Alven Yulianto.