PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s top shuttler Lee Chong Wei capped a week of awesome badminton by winning the men’s singles crown at the French Open in Paris.
No one had given him a ghost of a chance after he aggravated a knee injury last week but yesterday, he smashed his way pass Bao Chunlai of China to claim the men's singles crown with a 21-11, 21-14 win in 35 minutes.
The jubilant world number two said the knee injury had been a blessing in a disguise considering he had lost to the same player in the Danish Open semi-finals last week.
“I had absolutely no pressure before this tournament because of my knee injury. I knew that I had to play safe against Chunlai and let him make the mistakes,” said Chong Wei.
“I am really surprised and happy with the incredible public support in Paris. They cheered for me and I will definitely come back next year to enjoy it again,” said Chong Wei, referring to the French crowd's chants of “Malaysia Boleh” and “Lee Chong Wei Boleh”.
And Chong Wei certainly gave the 3,000 fans something to cheer about.
With his solid defence and well-executed smashes and drops, Chong Wei broke the rhythm of Chunlai from the start.
The Chinese mounted a brief fight in the second game but there was no stopping the Malaysian as he coolly sealed his third Super Series title this year, after similar wins at the Indonesian and Japan Opens this year.
It was also Chong Wei's first European crown this season, and he achieved it in style – without dropping a game throughout the tournament.
However, veteran doubles pair Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah could not make it a double joy for Malaysia.
Tan Fook-Wan Wah again failed to land their first Super Series title, going down 14-21, 19-21 to former world champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China in the final.
It was the Malaysians’ fourth defeat against the Chinese in 10 meetings.
The Malaysians started the first game in confident mood – especially after having beaten the Chinese in their two previous meetings but could not keep up pace.
The Chinese recovered and wrapped up the first game in 14 minutes.
Wan Wah-Tan Fook came charging back in the second game, taking a 14-10 lead before their opponents went on a seven-point streak before claiming the title in 24 minutes.
Wan Wah accepted their loss gracefully.
“They certainly played better than us. They were faster and were more accurate with their shots. We will keep trying (to win a Super Series title) even though it will be harder the next time around,” said Wan Wah in a telephone interview from Paris yesterday.
The next two Super Series stops are in China and Hong Kong this month before the Super Series final in December at a venue to be decided later.