Dwi Kuncoro settles score at Japan badminton open (pic)


TOKYO (AFP) — Indonesian badminton ace Sony Dwi Kuncoro upset world number-one Lee Chong Wei 21-17, 21-11 to win the Japan Open here Sunday, avenging his quarter-final defeat to the Malaysian at the Beijing Olympics.

“I feel happy to show that I am no less capable than Chong Wei,” Dwi Kuncoro said after winning in 41 minutes. He lost no games on his way to winning his second Super Series title of the year following the Indonesian Open in June.

“It hasn’t been easy since I lost in Beijing. I was really devastated but came back with three weeks of training, hoping to beat Chong Wei again,” said 24-year-old Dwi Kuncoro, who is ranked sixth in the world.

“Now I can continue with badminton in a positive way,” said the Athens Olympics bronze medallist.

Lee, the defending champion and top seed, said he had been exhausted after weeks of silver-medal celebration and training after losing to China’s world champion Lin Dan in the Beijing final.

“I was so tired that I was outpaced and outdone by Sony’s rhythm. I made one mistake after another,” said the 25-year-old. “I want to rest up and readjust myself before deciding when I will play next.”

In the women’s final, China’s up-and-coming Wang Yihan beat former world number one Zhou Mi of Hong Kong 21-19, 17-21, 21-15 to win her first major international title.

The men’s final saw Lee jump to a 16-12 lead after 10-all in the first game.

But Dwi Kuncoro caught Lee at the 17th point and went on to win the set as the Malaysian slumped with a number of unforced errors.

Dwi Kuncoro led the second game all the way from an opening 5-0 gap, outpacing Lee with a variety of shots including three solid jumping smashes. The match ended when Lee’s backhand shot at 20-11 landed outside the baseline.

The Indonesian, who bowed to Lee 21-9, 21-11 in Beijing, was scheduled to compete next week at the eighth Super Series event, the China Masters in Changzhou.

But Lee has pulled out from the event to rest up and restore his form.

He will also miss the Macau Open while his archrival Lin stays idle until early October.

The women’s tournament was played in the absence of China’s Olympic gold and silver medallists, Zhang Ning and Xie Xingfang.

Wang, the 20-year-old world university champion, came from behind in each game to overcome Zhou, 29, who won the Olympic bronze medal for China in Athens and switched her allegiance to Hong Kong last year.

Zhou, the winner of another Super Series event in South Korea in January, took a 9-5 lead in the opening game but Wang tied her at 12-all. The Shanghai university student again came back from 14-18 to catch Zhou at 18-all.

At game point, Zhou deflected Wang’s smash wide.

In the second game, Wang also rallied from 14-20 down, winning four straight points but losing the set when Zhou smashed in.

The final game saw Zhou jump to a 8-4 lead, but a persistent Wang tied her at 10-all. At 13-all, Wang applied the pressure and the match ended when Zhou’s drop shot went short.

“After I was being led, I carefully played the shuttle each time,” Wang said after her first ever encounter with Zhou, who was briefly her national teammate. “I gave all I had without doubts in my mind.”



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