SEOUL: World number one Lee Chong Wei stormed back to defeat arch-rival and holder Lin "Super" Dan in the final of the Korea Open on Sunday to prevent a rampant China for sweeping all five titles.
The first Superseries of the new season, which is also an Olympic year, saw the 4,000-seat arena in Seoul packed out, and an enthusiastic crowd was treated to some high-quality badminton from the two best players around.
In a tense 75-minute showdown, the Malaysian Lee, the top seed, lost the first game 12-21 to his nemesis, before winning the closely fought second game 21-18.
Lee enjoyed eight smashed winners to seal the third game — and with it the title — 21-14, as the Malaysian made up for the bitter disappointment of losing to Lin, the Olympic champ, in last year’s final.
Lee’s victory however reinforces the notion that Lin, who could retire after his defence at the London Olympics, struggles these days to get up for finals of the lesser tournaments, where Lee often prevails.
In the women’s final, world number three Wang Shixian from China easily beat her compatriot Jiang Yanjiao, who had ousted world number one Wang Yihan in the semi-finals. Shixian ran out a comfortable 21-12, 21-17 winner.
In the men’s doubles, Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng from China lost the first game 18-21 to the South Korean pair of Jung Jae-Sung/Lee Yong-Dae, but they managed to win the second game 21-17 before finishing it off 21-19.
Lee and Jung won the Korea Open in 2009 and 2010 but it was not to be third time lucky on home turf.
In women’s pairings, the Chinese Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei defeated South Korea’s Ha Jung-Eun/Kim Min-Jung, 21-18, 21-13.
Xu Chen/Ma Jin from China beat South Korea’s Lee Yong-Dae/Ha Jung-Eun 21-12, 19-21, 21-10 to take the mixed pairings crown.