Lee Chong Wei looks to fend off Chen Long in Malaysia Open


Malaysia's top-ranked badminton star Lee Chong Wei is determined to bounce back on home turf this week after a weekend loss in Korea to hard-charging world number two Chen Long of China.

The Malaysian Open kicks off Wednesday with the 31-year-old hometown hero smarting from his loss to Chen on Sunday in the singles final of the Korean Open.

The top two seeds are expected to cruise through their respective halves of the draw in Malaysia and could clash again in the final in Kuala Lumpur.

Lee has dominated world badminton, holding the top ranking nearly uninterrupted since 2008 and winning seven titles last year.

But Chen, 25, is mounting a challenge to the Malaysian two-time Olympic silver medallist, beating Lee in their last four meetings and holding an 8-7 edge in head-to-head competition.

For all his dominance, Lee's career has been defined in part by his struggles against China's Lin Dan, who defeated Lee in the last two Olympic gold-medal matches and the two most recent World Championship finals.

Chen has since emerged as China's strongest men's player, though he has struggled with injuries.

Lee vowed to regroup at home and spend 2014 focusing on the sport's biggest prizes.

Determined to win the Malaysia Open for the 10th time, the Malaysian star said: "Everyone is dangerous."

"What happened in Korea is over. My target is to win 10 times. I know I am the hunted.

"That is why I can't just think of Chen Long. Everyone is dangerous," he told reporters Tuesday.

Lee had earlier said that he will adopt a calm and cool strategy to win tournaments this year.

"I will turn my attention to the Malaysia Open and then take it a little easy. I will plan my tournaments carefully this year as there are many big tournaments," Lee said.

"My target for 2014 will be the All England and of course the World Championships."

The prestigious All-England championships take place in March, while the worlds are in August.

The women's singles competition, meanwhile, is a more open race among five key contenders.

From China, they include Olympic champion and current world number one Li Xuerui, former world champion Wang Yihan, as well as Wang Shixian.

World champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand and Taiwan's Tai Tzu-ying also are in the hunt.

Wang Yihan defeated Ratchanok on Sunday for the Korean Open title.

In doubles, women's champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang have withdrawn as the latter has yet to recover from an injury she suffered during the BWF World Superseries Finals last month.

The other two reigning world champions — Indonesia's Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan for the men, and the mixed Indonesian pairing of Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir — are also contesting.

Denmark's Christinna Pedersen will compete in both the women's and mixed doubles.

Pedersen won in both events at the BWF World Superseries Finals last month in Malaysia.


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