Chen Jin, the man who has lived for years in the shadow of the greatest player of all time, suddenly emerged into the spotlight to become a surprise World champion on Sunday.
The third-seeded Chinese player did that with a convincing 21-13, 21-15 win over Taufik Hidayat, the gifted but unpredictable former World and Olympic champion from Indonesia.
Chen thus kept his promise to himself that he would go one better than last year, when he finished runner-up to Lin Dan, the compatriot who had become the first player to win a singles title three times in a row.
Right from the start he was the more solid and consistent player and looked the more likely winner.
He was soon 7-0 up, and although Hidayat had flashes of characteristic brilliance, it was only when he pulled back from 6-11 to 10-12 that he seemed to have a chance of getting into contention.
Much of the rest of the time Chen showed better movement, greater discipline, and a more ruthless eye for picking moments to ram home smashes and net kills.
He also denied his opponent too many chances to win points at the net, one of Taufik’s strongest areas.
But few would have picked Chen before a tournament in which Lin was often feted as the greatest player of all time, while others felt that World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei might at last have his moment.
The results (all finals):
Men’s singles: 3-Chen Jin (Chn) bt 5-Taufik Hidayat (Ina) 21-13, 21-15.
7-Lin Wang (Chn) bt 3-Wang Xin (Chn) 21-11, 19-21, 21-13.