Kuching: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan booked a mouthwatering clash at the Malaysia Open final, where two of the greatest badminton players ever will renew their rivalry for the 38th time in Kuching, Sarawak on Sunday.
Playing in front of about 4,000 home crowd on Saturday, top seeded Lee Chong Wei showed his dominance in the Malaysia Open semi-finals against Vincent Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong. Wong who surged to World No. 12 in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) ranking, had no credible answers for the can-do-no-wrong Lee, who walloped the Hong Kong player 21-12, 21-9 in 40 minutes.
Lee and his old foe Lin Dan will be able to write another chapter in one of the greatest rivalries in sport when both meet in the men’s singles final on Sunday. In 2006, Lee Chong Wei dashed Lin Dan’s hope at the same venue where Lee rallied back from 13-20 in the decider, to beat Lin Dan 23-21. Lee won the first set 21-18, but lost the second set 18-21.
“Tomorrow’s match will be a much-anticipated final, I hope the fans can come to support me, and I will try to play my best,” said Lee after the match.
The No. 7 seed Lin Dan, chasing his first Super Series title of the year, however needed 84 minutes to survive a fierce examination from No. 5 seed Son Wan Ho of Korea.
Son Wan Ho threatened to shatter the badminton fans’ hopes of a Lee Chong Wei-Lin Dan final as his outstanding blend of offensive and defensive badminton – particularly in crunch moments – saw him force Lin Dan into a deciding set. Nevertheless, the momentum swung decisively towards Lin in the third set, and the Chinese badminton superstar edged past Son in a pulsating contest with 27-25, 19-21, 21-16.
In women’s competition, Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan was stretched into the decider by Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea, before winning 20-22, 21-13, 21-12. Tai will meet No. 2 seed Carolina Marin who notched up a victory against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 23-21, 21-19 in 54 minutes.