LIUZHOU, South China, Dec. 17 — After the shocking first-round exit at the London world championships, Chinese badminton hopeful Chen Long gradually found back the rhythm.
Following his 21-16, 16-21, 21-18 win over world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the semifinals of the BWF World Superseries Finals, the 22-year-old is obviously in the form of his life at the moment.
Chen Long controlled the tempo of the match and almost made no mistakes on the court. His victory and his recent sound performance sent a message to the world that he has indeed broken the Lee Chong Wei-Lin Dan stranglehold and he should now be the player to watch.
Every successful man fails at some time, even "Grand Slam" winner Lin was stunned by an unheralded player in his opener at the Athens Olympic Games, Chen is definitely not excluded.
In his maiden worlds journey this August, he suffered an unbelievable loss in the first round to Kevin Cordon from the Central American republic of Guatemala.
However, failure tells you about your weaknesses, shortcomings and lack of preparations. "It’s my first world championships. After this I have the chance to get more experience."
Just like what Chen said, the failure in the worlds is not an end, but a start.
After the worlds, Chen made a strong comeback, winning China Masters, Japan Open and Denmark Open in a row to join an elite bunch of shuttlers who win three consecutive BWF World Superseries crowns. The world No. 3 has also outshone four-time world champion Lin, who has only back-to-back Superseries titles.
A down-to-earth Chen kept clam after the win in Denmark. "This is just a normal tournament, I do my best in each match."
Chen did what he said afterwards by entering the semifinals of all the tournaments he participated, including the on-going Finals.
In the season-ending event which is open to the top eight shuttlers in the world, Chen joined the group A along with Lin, former Olympic champion Hidayat Taufik of Indonesia and Japan’s Tago Kenichi.
Chen stretched Lin in the opening match to three sets before losing the close match 21-15, 19-21, 21-17, but he was too good to Taufik and Kenichi, winning the next two matches to enter the last four.
In Saturday’s semifinals, Chen proved once again his capability by defeating Lee for the third time in 2011. Lee highly commended Chen’s performance, saying Chen was the second biggest opponent of him besides Lin.
Talking about his tips in such a miraculous comeback, Chen said, "it’s nothing special, I just try to be more active on the court and be more patient when lagging behind. I’m still young and my physical condition is good."