BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom — Lee Chong Wei successfully defended his All-England Open men's singles title when he beat his greatest rival, Lin Dan, the Olympic champion from China, 21-17, 21-1 in Sunday's final.
The top-seeded Malaysian's triumph came as a surprise to many people, for Lin had beaten Lee in three games at the world's first million dollar tournament, the Korean Open, in January.
That was the Chinese legend's 15th success in 22 encounters with Lee, and he had seemed back to somewhere near his best.
But this time Lin rarely tried the fierce airborne attacks for which he has become famous, and Lee's superb movement and excellent shuttle control in the resulting game of cat-and-mouse proved marginally superior.
The defeat means Lin failed to achieve a fifth All-England Open title, which would have been a unique achievement in the open era. The next All-England, not long before the 2012 Olympics, will be his last before his retirement.
"I played safe today -- I didn't go for the points at all," Lee said.
"But I was mentally strong this time."