Badminton star Lin Dan shocked by Indonesian Kuncoro in Singapore Open
China favourite pays for topsy-turvy form as Indonesian silences Indoor Stadium crowd
It was evident who the fans had turned up to see at the Singapore Indoor Stadium yesterday.
Almost the entire 7,000-strong crowd stayed for the final match of the day and, when he finally took the court, a resounding roar filled the arena.
They celebrated every shot he made and, unfairly, cheered every failed attempt by his opponent.
Yet, it was not enough to get Lin Dan over the line as he suffered a shock 21-10, 17-21, 22-20 semi-final loss to Indonesian qualifier Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the OUE Singapore Open.
Regarded as one of best players in the history of badminton, with two Olympic gold medals and five World Championship titles to his name, the one knock on Lin Dan throughout his career has been his temperament.
As the highest seed left in the last four, the Chinese was the favourite to go on and win the Singapore Open but, not for the first time in his career, he was his own enemy.
He looked absolutely disinterested as he lost the opening game in just 16 minutes.
He woke up and squared the tie by taking the second set 21-17 but, just when it looked as though he was on the verge of sending his supporters home happy, Kuncoro produced a brilliant response to claim the rubber set.
It was a curious display by Lin Dan.
"He (Kuncoro) managed to play better than me," he said, with nary a sign of emotion, after the defeat.
"He has played better than me throughout the tournament.
"My performance in the first set was not good… I lost that set too quickly and it took me too long to get myself into the groove."
Kuncoro will play South Korea's Son Wan Ho in today's final, with the Indonesian looking to reclaim the title he won in 2010.
"This is definitely a comeback for me as it's been a while since I won anything," said Kuncoro, who won the gold medal in men's singles at both the 2003 and 2005 SEA Games.
"I'm very happy to have played such an awesome game.
"The first set went by really fast, but then it started to get closer and I just had to concentrate on taking it point by point.
"I knew being a little hesitant cost me the second set so, when it came to the third, I just had the mindset that it was the final game and I needed to give it my all in being aggressive and keep attacking."
Son, his opponent in the final, also showed good form, beating Hong Kong's Angus Ng 22-20 21-6 in his semi-final.
Said the 27-year-old: "I don't want to think too much about winning, otherwise I end up making too many mistakes.
"I just want to focus on giving all that I've got.
"It's the first time in a very long time that I've made it to a final.
"So I just want to finish the tournament knowing I've done my best, and that will give me confidence for the Olympics."