Body & Sports

Lee Chong Wei beats Lin Dan to lift the Japan Open title

Updated: 2010-09-27
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Victor and vanquished: Datuk Lee Chong Wei celebrates his hard-fought victory over China’s Lin Dan at the Japan Open final. The world No. 1 battled for 80 minutes to triumph 22-20, 16-21, 21-17.

 

Lee Chong Wei signing autographs for his supporters after defeating Lin Dan of China in the Japan Open men’s singles final in Tokyo yesterday.

 

World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei played one of his best matches this season to prove a point and he achieved it with victory over Lin Dan of China to lift the Japan Open title in Tokyo yesterday.

Chong Wei battled for 80 minutes – his longest match thus far this season – to carve out a 22-20, 16-21, 21-17 win against his archrival in a high-quality final to win the title for a second time after 2007.

His success prevented China from making a clean sweep of titles for a third consecutive time this season in international tournaments after the world championships in Paris last month and in the China Masters last week.

 

It was the first time that Chong Wei had lived up to his status as the world No. 1 in a tournament featuring Lin Dan.

And to make it even more memorable, the win yesterday took Chong Wei to equalling his previous season’s best of seven Open titles.

Chong Wei was happy to take down the three-time world champion after his failure to do so for more than a year.
"I finally nailed him after a long time. This is a big relief,” said Chong Wei in a telephone interview.

Chong Wei last defeated Lin Dan at the Swiss Open in March last year and he now has a 7-15 head-to-head- record against the Chinese superstar.

"I have put in a lot of effort by reading and analysing his game since the horrible defeat by him in the Thomas Cup Finals (in May). Today, I changed my style of play and it worked well for me,” he said.

"I will not be too wrong to say that this is the best match of the year for me. It is not easy to stay there on court for 80 minutes – giving one’s best in every rally. I am totally happy that my fitness saw me through.”

 

The first game was a delight to watch as both Chong Wei and Lin Dan tried to outfox each other with their deception at the net and precision in attack.

Only one or two points separated them throughout the first game and fortunately, a determined Chong Wei pulled through after they were tied at 20-20.

Lin Dan upped the tempo in the second game and always stayed one step ahead to force a rubber game.

Chong Wei’s excellent defence and solid attacks made all the difference in the decider. He also kept his cool and confidence to stay on top of his game to romp home for the important win.

The Malaysian hoped that the win would appease the hearts of his fans following an unexpected quarter-final defeat at the world championships. Then, he suffered a back injury and was beaten by Indonesian Taufik Hidayat.

"I could not stop anyone from belittling me after the defeat at the world championships. After all, there were high expectations on me to deliver but I did not. Hopefully, this win will make up for it,” he said.

"I will probably meet Lin Dan again at the Asian Games (in Guangzhou in November) and the win here has given me a lot of confidence. I hope to work even harder to face he challenges against him again.”

Chong Wei’s immediate goal is achieve a career season best when he competes in the New Delhi Commonwealth Games for individual and team titles for Malaysia.

"There is a good chance for me to achieve the best year in my badminton career. I have never won more than seven titles and I hope to achieve it at the Commonwealth Games,” he said.

Chong Wei will return home today and he is expected to leave for New Delhi tomorrow. But he is likely to request for a late departure to catch up on his breath. It is likely to be granted as the Games badminton competition only begins on Oct 4.

How Chong Wei won the title
First round: Beat R.M.V Gurusaidatt (Ind) 21-5, 21-9.

Second round: Beat Kenichi Tago (Jpn) 16-21, 21-13, 21-12.

Quarter-finals: Beat Bao Chunlai (Chn) 21-10, 21-10.

Semi-finals: Beat Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 21-13, 21-18.

Final: Beat Lin Dan (Chn) 22-20, 16-21, 21-17

Other final results

Men’s doubles: Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (Chn) bt Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (Mas) 18-21, 21-14, 21-12.

Women’s singles: Jiang Yanjiao (Chn) bt Wang Xin (Chn) 23-21, 21-18.

Women’s doubles: Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang (Chn) bt Cheng Shu-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) 21-17, 21-6.

Mixed doubles: Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) bt Tao Jiaming-Tian Qing (Chn) 21-19, 22-20.

 

SOURCE: The Star

 

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