After the shock exit of top seed Lee Chong Wei, it was the turn of Lin Dan to bid farewell to the Yonex World Championships at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris.
The third seed was sent packing by unheralded Park Sung Hwan of South Korea, 21-13,21-13.
And woefully out of form, Indian hope for the world crown, Saina Nehwal crashed out as well losing to China’s Shixian Wang 8-21, 14-21. Also shown the exit was Pi Hongyan of France who lost to third seeded Wang Xin of China 21-13,21-15.
Park will now take on Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat in the semi finals and was elated with his win over Lin Dan as he showered praises over his coach Li Mao.
“I never really feared Lin Dan as he is just another player. I am still not playing my best yet and today I was playing eighty per cent of my ability,” said Park.
“I prepared well for this championships so the win really did not surprise me. The preparations with my coach Li Mao really helped me identify Lin Dan's game and that helped.”
“As for Taufik, I have never beaten him and the semis will be a learning process for me and I will go onto the court, aiming to learn as much as I can about the weakness in Taufik's game and exploit it.”
“Winning today has given me that extra boost but I still have another couple of matches to go before thinking of the title.”
For Lin Dan, the defeat was a bitter pill as he was hoping to land his fourth world title.
“I was too much in a hurry today and all credit to Park as he played very well indeed,” said Lin Dan.
“I was hasty and try as I did to calm down, it just was not happening. Of course I am sad but defeats are normal in badminton as you are often targeted by others.”
Second seed Peter Hoeg Gade had no problems though as he was tactically and technically superior in his demolition of Japan’s Kazushi Yamada, winning 21-19, 21-12 and will take on Chen Jin in the last four.
“This is the best chance for me to win the world title and I am not getting any younger,” said Gade.
“Chen Jin is a potential world champ and it will be very difficult against him tomorrow.”
For Saina, It was the end of a dream that had endured over three tournaments, the Indian Open, The Singapore Super Series and the Indonesia Super Series as Nehwal clinched each of these to climb to a world number two ranking raising hopes that she had the capability to clinch the World title here in Paris.
“I knew I was struggling with my movements,” said Saina. “I did try and rotate the shots but nothing was working.”
It would have been a superhuman effort for Nehwal to comeback into the match.
At 12-16, it did seem that she might claw back but Shixian wasn’t letting any thing past her. At 14-20, Shixian played a rally and then took the match with another Nehwal error.
“She was better then me today and read me well,” said Nehwal about Shixian. “I don’t think I have played this badly in a long time.”
‘It’s very disappointing and it will take some time to come out of this defeat. I had high hopes of going further in the tournament.”
Nehwal did say that she would start training for the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. “Of course, I can’t let the defeat dwell. That’s not the way I am. I will get past the disappointment and start preparing yet again.”