PETALING JAYA: A quick tactical change saw World No. 1 singles shuttler Lee Chong Wei regain his supremacy over China’s Chen Long on a day when walkovers and injuries in China camp marred the French Open in Paris yesterday.
Yesterday, Chong Wei was on fire, mixing up his speed and well calculated moves to take down the six-footer Chinese with a 23-21, 17-21, 21-15 win in an energy sapping 77-minute semi-finals to set-up a meeting with Kenichi Tago of Japan.
It was a contrasting style of play by Chong Wei yesterday compared to his less aggressive approach against Chen Long at the Denmark Open just a week ago. The Malaysian had also lost narrowly to the Chinese at the preceding Japan Open final too.
The sweet revenge after the two painful defeats within a month also enabled Chong Wei to keep his perfect record of reaching every final in every tournament he had competed so far – which is a total of 11 to be exact.
Chong Wei’s win, however, must have been a bitter pill to swallow by the Chinese camp.
Just a day ago, they had given Chen Long a free ride into the semi-finals by withdrawing his opponent Wang Zhengming, citing injury as the main reason.
And yesterday, four-time world champion Lin Dan pulled off his antics again. He was on the verge of a victory over Japan’s Kenichi Tago after taking a 25-23, 18-15 lead in the semi-finals when he suddenly walked out citing injury, and leaving everyone stunned.
He was in perfect condition when he dumped team-mate Chen Jin in the quarter-finals a day ago.
This is not the first time that Lin Dan had pulled off such a stunt this year. He had also cited injury in ending his campaign prematurely at the Malaysian Open, Singapore Open and Japan Open.
National coach Tey Seu Bock was happy that Chong Wei got his act right in his third attempt against Chen Long.
“Today, Chong Wei was different and was all focused. He was bent on not losing to this player anymore and played with more aggression. It worked well for him,” said Seu Bock in a telephone interview.
“If not for some mistakes in the second game, he could have even won in a straight games. The plan was to take the first game and then wear the opponent down. And it worked.
“I was not surprised when Chen Long got a walkover in the quarter-finals. They had hoped to keep him fresh against Chong Wei and I am glad that their plan backfired. As for Lin Dan, I heard that he has a leg injury. We are used to this.”
On the final today, Seu Bock said: “Tago has been playing well here. The shuttle is really fast in the stadium and the match can be quite unpredictable. But I hope that Chong Wei will still remain steady to nick his seventh title of this year.” he added.
National coach Rashid Sidek let out a cynical laugh when asked about Lin Dan’s exit and Chen Long’s free ride into the semi-finals.
“Lin Dan was in the lead but he allowed Tago to go through. I do not know what to say about Lin Dan anymore. We are not clear about his intentions but this is not doing badminton any good,” said Rashid.
“I would sum up all these as mind games.”
Men’s singles: Chen Long (Chn) w/o Wang Zhengming (Chn); Kenichi Tago (Jpn) bt Hu Yun (Hkg) 13-21, 21-18, 21-7; Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Shon Wan-ho (Kor) 21-11, 21-11; Lin Dan (Chn) bt Chen Jin (Chn) 11-21, 21-19, 21-16.
Men’s doubles: Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Den) bt Mads Conrad-Petersen-Jonas Rasmussen (Den) 21-23, 21-14, 21-19; Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata (Jpn) bt Chris Adcock-Andrew Ellis (Eng) 16-21, 21-19, 21-10; Jung Jae-sung-Lee Yong-dae (Kor) bt Angga Pratama-Ryan Agung Saputra (Ina) 21-16, 21-12; Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (Chn) bt Mohd Ahsan-Bona Septano (Ina) 21-12, 21-12.
Women’s singles: Li Xuerui (Chn) bt Sayaka Sato (Jpn) 21-15, 21-13; Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (Tha) bt Sung Ji-hyun (Kor) 21-15, 13-21, 21-18; Wang Xin (Chn) bt Juliane Schenk (Ger) 21-11, 21-15; Tai Tzu Ying (Tpe) bt Wang Yihan (Chn) 21-18, 21-13.
Women’s doubles: Ha Jung-eun-Kim Min-jung (Kor) bt Miyuki Maeda-Satoko Suetsuna (Jpn) 21-16, 21-16; Mizuki Fujii-Reika Kakiiwa (Jpn) bt Anneke Feinya Agustin-Nitya Krishinda Maheswari (Ina) 21-9, 21-13; Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang (Chn) bt Vita Marissa-Nadya Melati (Ina) 21-9, 21-7; Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) bt Shizuka Matsuo-Mami Naito (Jpn) 21-16, 21-14.
Mixed doubles: Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) bt Yoo Yeon-seong-Jang Ye-na (Kor) 21-17, 21-18; Xu Chen-Ma Jin (Chn) bt Nova Widianto-Vita Marissa (Ina) 18-21, 21-19, 21-11; Joachim Fischer Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen (Den) bt Lee Yong-dae-Ha Jung-eun (Kor) 21-14, 16-21, 21-17; Tantowi Ahmad-Lilyana Natsir (Ina) bt Chen Hung-ling-Cheng Wen-hsing (Tpe) 21-9, 21-14.
Men’s singles: Kenichi Tago (Jpn) bt Lin Dan (Chn) 23-25, 15-18 rtd.; Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Chen Long (Chn) 23-21, 17-21, 21-15
Men’s doubles: Jung Jae-sung-Lee Yong-dae (Kor) bt Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Den) 21-17, 21-17; Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (Chn) bt Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata (Jpn) 21-11, 13-21, 21-9.
Women’s singles: Li Xuerui (Chn) bt Tai Tzu Ying (Tpe) 21-8, 21-19; Wang Xin (Chn) bt Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (Tha) 15-21, 21-4, 21-7.
Women’s doubles: Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) w.o. Ha Jung-eun-Kim Min-jung (Kor).
Mixed doubles: Xu Chen-Ma Jin (Chn) bt Tantowi Ahmad-Lilyana Natsir (Ina) 16-21, 21-14, 21-11; Joachim Fischer Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen (Den) bt Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) 21-14, 22-24, 22-20.