Athens champion Zhang, 33, is ranked seventh in the world
China's women are guaranteed a medal in the women's badminton singles after all three of their players reached the semi-finals.
Defending champion Zhang Ning was in tears after overcoming a spirited challenge from France's Pi Hongyan, who was born in China, 21-8 19-21 21-19.
Indonesia's Maria Yulianti awaits after beating India's Saina Nehwal.
Top seed Xie Xingfang beat Germany's Huaiwen Xu 21-19 22-20, and will meet team-mate Lu Lan.
Lu beat Malaysia's Mew Choo Wong 21-7 29-27.
In women's doubles South Korea's Lee Hyo-jung and Lee Kyung-won beat Japan's Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna 22-20 21-15 to reach the final.
The Korean's victory ended the run of Maeda and Suetsuna who had beaten Chinese favourites, and defending Olympic champions, Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen earlier in the competition.
Lee and Lee will play China's second seeds Du Jing and Yu Yang, who beat compatriots Wei Yili and Zhang Yawen 21-19 21-12, on Friday.
In the men's doubles, China's Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng thrashed American's Howard Bach and Bob Malaythong 21-9 21-10 in just 29 minutes.
They will play South Koreans Lee Jae-Jin and Hwang Ji-Man in the semi-finals.
Lee and Hwang, ranked 13th in the world and one of the surprise packages of the tournament, defeated Japan's Keita Masuda and Tadashi Ohtsuka 21-12 18-21 21-9.
The other semi-final sees Denmark's Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen, who defeated Poland's Michal Logosz and Robert Mateusiak 17-21 21-11 21-15 take on top-seeded pair Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia.
Kido and Setiawan beat Malaysia's Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong 21-16, 21-18.