World number one and defending champion Lee Chong Wei’s quest to win his 12th Malaysia Open title was dashed by his arch rival Lin Dan from China at the Perpaduan Negeri Sarawak Stadium in Petra Jaya, Kuching today.
Chong Wei who had beaten Lin Dan in the 2006 final found the going tough against his arch rival and nemesis midway of the first set although he was leading 11-7 in the first set.
Chong Wei had also led 19-15 in the first set but a number of unforced errors and poor judgement saw the Chinese player who is Chong Wei’s good friend off the court, snatch a 21-19 win.
The second set saw numerous uncharacteristic mistakes from Chong Wei and lost 14-21 in just 55 minutes.
Satisfaction was written all over Lin Dan’s face after the win when he went to the side of the court to celebrate the victory in his usual style of ripping out his t-shirt to flex his muscle to the crowd.
The win was also sweet revenge for Lin Dan who had lost to Chong Wei in the semifinal of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics last August.
It was also the first for Lin Dan in the Malaysia Open.
Both players have indicated they will not be retiring any time soon.
“We may be old players but have no plans to announce our retirement yet.
“In fact, I am hoping that Lin Dan and I can continue playing for a few more years. As as for me, I intend to play as long as I can,” Chong Wei told a press conference.
Asked about his chances in the upcoming World Championships, Chong Wei said there were many rising stars now and also Chinese ace Chen Long to contend with, who pulled out of the quarter-finals of the Malaysia Open due to injury.
Lin Dan, 33, meanwhile, said he planned to be still active on the international stage but did not want to think too much about winning at World Championships.
“I will take it one championship at a time,” he said.
Meanwhile, the mixed doubles title went to world number one pair Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen who beat Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong 21-15, 21-18 in an all-Chinese final, enroute to avenging their defeat to the same pair in the India Open final on April 2.
The women’s singles final was a thrilling encounter which saw Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying, the runner-up in last year’s edition, overcoming world number two Carolina Marin of Spain in a marathon final that went the distance.
Tzu Ying, the current world number one lost the first set 23-25, but bounced back to take the second set 22-20 before cruising to the title with a 21-13 win in the deciding set.
Japan’s unseeded women’s doubles pair Fukushima Yuki/Hirota Sayaka produced a masterclass performance to oust China’s Huang Yaqiong/Tang Jinhua 21-17, 18-21, 21-12 to clinch the title.
In the men’s doubles final which also went the distance, Gideon Marcus Finaldi/Sukamuljo Kevin Sanjaya from Indonesia fought tooth-and-nail against China Fu Haifeng/Zheng Siwei before emerging with a 21-14, 14-21, 21-12 victory to claim the title.
Marcus Finaldi-Kevin Sanjaya who are the fourth seeds in the tournament, had quickly established themselves as the most exciting men’s doubles pair in the world currently. –Bernama