Jakarta: World number one Lee Chong Wei was knocked out of the Indonesia Open in the semi-finals on Saturday in a shock loss to fourth-seed Kenichi Tago of Japan.
The Malaysian could not keep up with Tago in the first game, making unforced errors and placing the shuttle wide of the sidelines.
“Tago played better and more aggressively today,” said Chong Wei.
After dominating the second game, lee lost control again as Tago bagged the match with a cool 21-16, 15-21, 21-16.
In the men’s other semi-final, Jan O Jorgensen defeated second-seed Chen Long from China while Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand knocked out second-seed Wang Shixian in the women’s singles.
Intanon lost the first game against Wang but claimed the next two from the 24-year-old, ending 19-21, 21-16, 21-13 in a match consisting of riveting long rallies.
The Thai player reached deeper down the court than Wang did, proving the faster and more precise, despite several sharp smashes from Wang that left Intanon on her knees.
“I’m so happy today to win after I lost six times to her. I played lots of rally points while Wang played lots of mistakes. I think my defence and attacks were good today,” Intanon said through a translator.
In a second unexpected win, Jorgensen of Denmark beat China’s Chen Long in the men’s singles, 21-19, 21-18.
“This was awesome. Amazing support. It was my first win against Chen Long and it’s in Indonesia. I can’t ask for more. I’m really happy,” an ecstatic Jorgensen said after the match.
China had better luck in the women’s singles, with world number one Li Xuerui defeating Thailand’s Nichaon Jindapon, 21-19, 21-10.
“It was quite difficult to face her in the first game, but I had it pretty easy in the second. I’m optimistic I can beat Ratchanok Intanon and win the final again,” Li said.
To Indonesian fans’ disappointment, China’s Xu Chen and Ma Jin had the home team’s Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir scrambling in the mixed doubles after their first game win, ending 18-21, 21-12, 21-15.
The Indonesians made several unforced errors and at one point lost eight consecutive points.
The hosts have just one hope for glory in the finals, with men’s pair Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan knocking out Korea’s Kim Ki Jung and Kim Sa Rang 17-21, 21-13, 21-10, to meet Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seoung in Sunday’s final.