Lin Dan joined World No. 1 and arch-rival Lee Chong Wei in the men's semifinals of the Asian Games badminton on Friday, but two-time reigning champion Taukif Hidayat went crashing out.
The women's final on Saturday will be an all-Chinese affair after Wang Xin and Wang Shixian enjoying easy passages.
The 27-year-old Lin, widely regarded as the best player ever, set up a meeting with Hidayat's conqueror Park Sung-Hwan in the last four after the Chinese demolished Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Minh 21-9, 21-16.
The Asian Games gold is the one major title eluding Lin in his illustrious career.
Park, the World No. 11, has previously enjoyed notable success over “Super Dan,” beating him at the World championships in Paris in August, though Lin defeated Park over three games in the men's team final here.
The South Korean proved once more that he was capable of an upset as he battled past Indonesian ace Hidayat, the gold medal winner in 2002 and 2006.
Park took an early lead against an out-of-sorts Hidayat, the World No. 3, and never looked back, winning their last-eight clash 21-15, 21-16.
Park collapsed on the court in victory, banging his fists on the floor. Hidayat looked numb. “I don't feel anything right now,” said Hidayat, a former Olympic champion. “I didn't feel very good day and I played badly. I don't want to give any excuses for why I lost, I just lost,” added the talented, but temperamental Hidayat.
Lee Chong Wei was down early against Thailand's Boonsak Ponsana, who beat the Malaysian star in the men's team event on Saturday, trailing 6-2. But the 28-year-old battled back to lead 10-8 and then pulled away to win the opener 21-13 and the second game 21-17.
He will face China's Chen Jin in Saturday's semifinals after the world title holder overcame a hesitant start to beat Taiwan's surprise package Chou Tien-Chen, ranked 66.
Chen, who has long lived in the shadow of Lin, was behind in the first game before pulling level at 13-13 and 16-16 as he began to find his range, taking the match 21-19, 21-14.
The women's semifinals were a more predictable affair. Hong Kong's Yip Pui Yin was back on court barely 12 hours after she shocked India's golden girl and World No. 3 Saina Nehwal late on Thursday in three games, and it showed as she got off to a sluggish start against Wang Shixian.
Yip was rejuvenated for a while in the second game, but the result was never in doubt, Wang winning 21-14, 21-14.
World No. 1 Wang Xin had a similarly easy time against number 11 Eriko Hirose, thrashing the Japanese 21-7, 21-15 at a sell-out Tianhe Gymnasium.