Arbi stretched by unseeded Chinese: Badminton

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The Independent Online
Heryanto Arbi, the world champion, had to battle to reach the semi-finals of the All-England Championships in Birmingham last night. The Indonesian was taken the full distance by an unseeded Chinese player, Luo Yigang, before moving within two wins of his third All-England title in five years.

Arbi started slowly, as he had on Wednesday against England's Mark Constable, looking casual and error-prone in the first game, which he led 8-6. He then lost nine successive points, serving only four times.

The second game showed Arbi, whose ranking has slipped after injury problems, is almost back to his dynamic best as angled smashes, jump smashes and attacking combinations switching direction from each wing regularly breached Luo's defences.

Luo fought back from 4-9 down to 7-9 and in the third game from 2-10 to 5-10, but never threatened again and was unable to extend the rallies as he had in the first round when overcoming the fifth seed, Thomas Stuer- Lauridsen.

One Chinese player is through to the semi-finals, the Olympic silver medallist, Dong Jiong, who beat the unseeded Dane Peter Rasmussen 15-12, 15-8. After losing the first game, Rasmussen found Dong's tremendous speed and defensive reflexes too much to cope with.

Dong's victory earned him a semi-final against the top seed and title holder, Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen, the Dane he played in the Olympic final in Atlanta. Hoyer-Larsen beat Indonesia's Budi Santoso 15-7 15-12.

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