Moving into the quarterfinals at the world championships, Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan looked poised to add another chapter to their rivalry.
No. 1 seed Lee is doing what he was expected to do at this tournament: dominate. To reach the quarterfinals, he beat 14th seed Wang Zhengming 21-12, 21-7.
It was a convincing win, as Lee used his power and quickness to defeat his opponent. Wang offered up a game performance, but he was overmatched from the outset.
That was a telling performance for Lee after squeaking by in his previous round. Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka took the first set against the world No. 1, 21-14. Lee then narrowly survived the match by pulling out the second set 21-18.
However, he seemed buoyed by his comeback win rather than exhausted.
Meanwhile, Lin has been solid coming into this tournament off his year-long break from the sport.
"Super Dan" was a little sloppy at the start of his match against Malaysian Chong Wei Feng. He quickly faced a 2-7 deficit in the first set.
However, Lin settled and took control. He went on to win the first set, 22-20, and then easily cruised in the second, 21-10. Other than his early struggles in that match, the two-time Olympic gold medalist has been brilliant.
He has yet to drop a set in his three matches, and until Wei posted 20 against him, the most points he'd surrendered in a set was 17.
While this strong performance from the defending champion is certainly no shock, it is at least a little surprising that he has returned so seamlessly to the sport that has made him a superstar. He entered this tournament as a wild card, and now he is just a win away from the finals.
Who will win the semifinal?
His next match will not be easy. He is set to face No. 2 seed and Chinese teammate Chen Long, who has been outstanding.
He has yet to give up more than 18 points in a set at this tournament. Chen, who is widely considered Lin's heir apparent, took the bronze in London and looks poised to add this title under his belt.
But Lin isn't ready to pass the torch yet. He still has the edge on Chen. As Chan Kin-wa of the South China Morning Post reports, Lin beat his compatriot 2-0 as they prepared for this event, and Lin's even further along in his comeback now.
This should be a great match, but I expect the experience of Lin to carry him to the championship round. And the smart money is on him facing Lee.
Barring a big upset from Tommy Sugiarto, Lee will roll into the championship having not lost a set. Sugiarto has been solid in this tournament, but the eighth seed doesn't have the explosiveness to handle Lee.
All of this should be good news to fans. The Lin-Lee rivalry is the best thing going in badminton, and it looks like they are about to add a new chapter.