- Associated Press - Sunday, August 5, 2012

LONDON — Lin Dan lived up to the hype, and China lived up to the expectations.

The top-ranked Lin led the way as China swept all five badminton gold medals at the Olympics, defending his title Sunday by beating Malaysian rival Lee Chong Wei 15-21, 21-10, 21-19 in men’s singles.

“He’s such a brilliant rival that I am quite lucky,” said Lin, who invited Chong Wei to his wedding. “I treasure the opportunities of playing him.”

When Chong Wei’s final shot landed long, Lin sprinted around Wembley Arena until he was tackled by his coaches. He didn’t rip off his shirt as he did when he won the title at the 2008 Beijing Games, but he threw it into the crowd and saluted them.

On the other side, Chong Wei slumped to the court, his hopes of winning Malaysia’s first-ever Olympic gold ruined again. But of Malaysia’s three silver medals, he now owns two of them.

“I am very disappointed with a silver medal again,” Chong Wei said. “I worked very hard but what’s done is done.”

A short time later, Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng won the men’s doubles final to complete China’s golden sweep. They defeated Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark 21-16, 21-15.

On Saturday, Li Xuerui won the women’s singles title and Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei won the women’s doubles. Zhao teamed with Zhang Nan to win the mixed doubles title.

In the men’s singles final, some of the rallies were eye-popping, with fist pumps early for points won and grimaces for points lost.

Chong Wei’s crosscourt flick at the net over Lin’s shoulder sent the Chinese player scampering back. He scooped the shuttle over from way down and eventually won with a jump smash.

But he had trouble with his range, sending easy shots long, and yet another error gave Chong Wei the first game.

“The whole match was fierce, it was so close,” Lin said.

In the second, Lin finally turned it on, defending Chong Wei’s best shots and watching the Malaysian pile up errors. Eventually, Chong Wei decided the score wasn’t worth chasing and he let the shuttle go to save energy for the third game.

Chong Wei’s decision paid off early. He scrambled and scraped ahead on Lin’s errors. Chong Wei went 9-5 up but Lin protested and the point was overturned by the umpire as TV replays showed Chong Wei’s shot was wide.

Chong Wei led 15-13 and 18-16 but each time Lin tied it up by lifting his game. Chong Wei led 19-18 but then he let the shuttle pass him, and it landed in. Lin earned match point with a beautifully weighted drop at the net and raised the tension by casually changing shuttles.

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