AN overjoyed Lee Chong Wei kissed the Jalur Gemilang on his T-Shirt and it drew the loudest cheer in the packed Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
It was a moment to savour for the world number one Chong Wei when he lifted the Malaysian Open men’s singles title for the sixth time in a most convincing fashion.
The win ended his agonising wait for his first back-to-back Open badminton title in his career. He had won the Korean Open last week.
Yesterday, a cool and confident Chong Wei took only 34 minutes to blow away Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand with a 21-13, 21-7 win in one of the most lop-sided finals in the home tournament.
“I have never seen a big crowd like this for the Malaysian Open. My parents were here too to watch me play for the first time in the stadium. I am so happy,” said the 28-year-old Chong Wei.
It was an awesome win for the Malaysian.
He was only troubled briefly in the opening game when Boonsak fended off some fierce attacks to take a 11-10 lead.
Chong Wei came out of the interval transformed and turned the tempo of the game to show the Thai how fast he could be on the court.
With superb speed, he toyed around with Boonsak to take a 9-0 lead in the second.
He turned every smash into winners. His determination was so glaring yesterday that the Malaysian even dived for a shot despite taking an impressive 15-5 lead. And that show of fighting spirit won thunderous cheers from the fans.
He was so fired up that there was nothing a demoralised Boonsak could do to stop the Malaysian from winning his sixth home title.
The 28-year-old Chong Wei was impressed with his own condition as he was able to maintain a high level of play for two weeks continuously.
“I could still maintain my fitness and go all out to win this title. It was not only about physical but also mental preparation,” said Chong Wei.
“Boonsak got off to a good start but I did the right thing to increase the speed after trailing at 10-11.
“This is the first time that I was able to win a back-to-back title and that is an achievement for me.”
Chong Wei promised that he would not raise false hopes after winning the Korean and Malaysian Opens.
“This is a good start for me. But I know my priorities. My main goal is to help Malaysia at the Thomas Cup Finals and also come good at the World Championships and Asian Games,” he said.
He said that the world is waiting to see him win titles when the three-time world champion Lin Dan of China is around.
“Yes, everyone wants to see this fight between Lin Dan and I take place. This may happen at the All-England and Swiss Open next month and I will be ready. It is my personal challenge to do better than him this year,” he said.
When asked if he had enough of winning the home title, he said that he would be out to erase the record of Chan Peng Soon, who won eight titles during the 40s and 50s.
“As long as I am playing, I will come back here to win the Malaysian Open. I will be out to do better than him,” he said.
Chong Wei’s immediate goal is to maintain his unbeaten run in the local circuit by winning his ninth title in the National Grand Prix Finals, which will be held in Johor Baru from Feb 4-7.
Boonsak was a shattered man after the defeat and said: “Chong Wei was just too fast. I could not do anything after he took a 9-0 lead. My game just fell apart.
“I have to improve my fitness, work harder, playe faster if I want to take on Chong Wei. I will work on this,” said Boonsak.
In the women’s singles final, Wang Xin of China nailed her first Super Series title when she defeated South Korea Bae-Youn-joo 19-21, 21-17, 14-6 (ret). Youn-joo gave a good fight before limping out and conceding the last game because a twisted ankle.