Lee, Rasmussen triumph at Japan Badminton Open (pic)


TOKYO (AFP) — Malaysia's world No.4 Lee Chong Wei and Danish underdog Tine Rasmussen captured the men and women's singles titles at the Japan Open badminton tournament on Sunday.

Lee, who shocked China's world number one Lin Dan in the semi-finals on Saturday, defeated Athens Olympic gold medallist Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia 22-20, 19-21, 21-19 in 65 minutes.


Tine Rasmussen of Denmark returns the shuttle to second-seeded Xie Xingfang of China during the women’s singles finals match of the Japan Open badminton tournament in Tokyo, 16 September. Rasmussen beat Xie 21-15, 21-17.


"It's been my dream to win the Olympics, the world championships, the All England and the Japan Open, so I'm really happy that I won one of the four the first time," said Lee, 24.

Lee combined tenacious court coverage with an array of hard smashes and disguised overhead drops to get the best of Hidayat, who saved five match points in the final game before going down for the loss.

"He is a wonderful player who has won the Olympics and the world championships. I played today as a challenger. I think I was able to play my game," said Lee.

"When he was catching up with me at the end of the third game at 20-19, I tried to calm myself down and wait for his error in a rally."

It was Lee's third title of the season, following his triumphs at the Indonesian Open and the Philippines Open.

Meanwhile Rasmussen, who upset a clutch of the world's top eight players on her march to the title, stunned the two-time former world champion from China Xie Xingfang 21-15, 21-17 for her biggest career title so far.

"I just feel so happy," said the jubilant Dane. "I knew when I was going to play this match, I would just go onto the court and enjoy myself without thinking win or lose.


Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia returns the shuttle to Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia during their men’s singles finals match of the Japan Open badminton tournament in Tokyo, 16 September 2007. Fourth-seeded Lee beat Hidayat 22-20, 19-21, 21-19.

"If I lost, I would be happy anyway. So I was pretty relaxed and I could feel that Xie Xingfang was maybe a little nervous and made some mistakes. But I knew that she was going to fight back to win. I just kept my tactics all the way."

Rasmussen shocked 2006 European champion Xu Huaiwen of Germany, China's Asian champion Jiang Yanjiao, world number one Zhang Ning and finally Lu Lan on her way to the final. She pocketed 13,800 dollars for the win.

"I knew the first one was going to be tough. I played Xu Huaiwen many times and I won only once a long time ago," Rasmussen said of her wins over four Chinese and one Chinese origin in the same tournament.

"I've been close to beating some young Chinese players, but I never felt to beat Zhang Ning and Xie Xingfang, so beating all five Chinese in the same tournament is incredible for me."

Camilla Martin of Denmark, the winner here in 2003, was the only previous European player to have done that.

"I never thought I was going to compare myself with her (Martin), but in this tournament, I absolutely do," added Rasmussen.


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