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August 15, 2009

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Top seeds tumble out of the worlds

MALAYSIAN world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and women's top seed Zhou Mi of China's Hong Kong were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the world championships in Hyderabad, south India, last night.

Lee's hopes for a much-awaited last-four clash against Chinese favorite Lin Dan were dashed when Indonesian sixth seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro defeated him 21-16, 14-21, 21-12.

Kuncoro, runner-up to Lin at the last edition in 2007, played superb cross-court smashes and took full advantage of Lee's below-par netplay in a fast-paced encounter.

Kuncoro, a 21-16, 21-16 winner over Chetan Anand of India in the previous round, will face Lin again after the two-time champion from China struggled past third seed Peter Gade of Denmark 22-20, 21-16.

In the women's draw, world No. 1 Zhou was toppled 15-21, 18-21 by China's twice former champion and fifth seed Xie Xingfang.

Xie, the Beijing Olympics silver medalist who won in 2005 and 2006, wore down Zhou with long rallies, often pinning the former China player to the backcourt.

Former champion Taufik Hidayat halted Danish youngster Jan O Jorgensen's giantkilling run 21-19, 21-19.

The Indonesian fourth seed trailed 17-19 in the opening game against his unseeded 21-year-old rival, who toppled Korean eighth seed Park Sung-hwan and 16th seed Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand in the last two rounds.

However, the 28-year-old relied on his wealth of experience to clinch three superb points and pocket the first game before going on to win the match.

Hidayat will next take on Chinese second seed Chen Jin, who beat Indonesia's Simon Santoso 21-10, 21-13.

There was no Danish delight in the women's section either, after seventh seed Lu Lan of China knocked out third seed Tine Rasmussen 21-15, 21-13 in the quarterfinals.

Rasmussen, 30, just back after a four-month layoff due to a heel injury, made too many unforced errors and was often caught out by the speed of her younger opponent.

"I'm playing after a long time, I was not very confident," Rasmussen told reporters. "Today my fitness level was not there."

French eighth-seed Pi Hongyan rallied to down German 11th seed Juliane Schenk 15-21, 21-15, 21-19 and will face Xie in the last four.

Lu will take on compatriot Wang Lin. The second seed beat India's sixth seed Saina Nehwal 21-16, 21-19.

Nehwal beca me the first Indian woman to win a major title in June when she won the Indonesian Open with a three-set win over Wang in the final.

However, it was a bad day for the Chinese in mixed doubles, with all three pairings being eliminated in early play. Winning through at their expense were the top-seeded Koreans Lee Yong-dae and Lee Hyo-jung and two Danish pairs: Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen plus Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl.


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