KUALA LUMPUR: China’s Lin Dan did not disappoint his home fans when he put on another classic performance to crush Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei in the semi-final of the China Masters at Changzhou yesterday.
Three-time world champion Lin Dan underlined his superiority yet again when he survived a titanic battle in the first game en route to beating top seed Chong Wei 22-20, 15-21, 21-7 in a 65-minute match yesterday.
Chong Wei did well to force a decider but his fightback proved to be an anti-climax when he ran out of steam.
It was Lin Dan’s third win over Chong Wei this year after his wins at All-England and the Sudirman Cup in Guangzhou.
Yesterday’s victory showed once again the gulf between these two players.
National chief coach Rashid Sidek, however, said that credit should be given to Chong Wei for stealing a game from the fourth seeded Lin Dan in his own den.
“It is never easy to play against Lin Dan – especially in his own backyard. Chong Wei did well to apply pressure in the first two games but he could not cope in the decider,” said Rashid.
“The level of play between these two players is high but the defeat showed that Chong Wei still has a lot of work to do to narrow the gap.
“Chong Wei is currently the world number one based on the points and his consistency in international tournaments but we have to accept the fact that Lin Dan is the better player.
“Now, Chong Wei must find a way to break the barrier. Hopefully, he can continue to go far in next week’s Japan Open.”
Today, Lin Dan will take on Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand in the final and he will be more than determined to make up for the failure in last year’s edition.
The crafty Ponsana is the only non-China player to make the final today after disposing of World Championships runner-up Chen Jin of China.
Malaysian veterans Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah also stumbled at the semi-final hurdle when they found China’s second ranked pair of Guo Zhengdong-Xu Chen too hot to handle.
The Malaysians went down 12-21, 19-21 to the young China pair, who exposed their lack of aggression.
The first game was a total disaster and the old timers tried to redeem themselves in the second but the pumped-up Chinese players were just too good, outplaying the Malaysians with some fast attacks and solid defensive play yesterday.