Lin Dan crowned Malaysia Open Superseries badminton champ, Carolina Marin loses
China’s Lin Dan, a two-time Olympic champion, engineered a brilliantly ruthless strategy against arch-rival Malaysian world No 1 Lee Chong Wei to win his first ever Malaysia Open Superseries badminton title on Sunday.
Showing no sign of fatigue, 33-year-old Lin pushed Lee, one year his senior, from back to front, forcing the recent All England Open winner into unforced errors to win 21-19, 21-14 in 55 minutes.
Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying emerged champion in the women’s singles. The world No 1 was, however, made to work hard for her win, defeating Spain’s Carolina Marin 23-25, 22-20, 21-13 in a 85-minute triumph.
The Spanish Olympic champion ended a runner-up for the second week in a row, after India’s PV Sindhu defeated her in the final of last week’s India Open Superseries badminton tournament in New Delhi
CLASH OF MASTERS
In the men’s final, the two badminton veterans started cautiously, and Lee, the title favourite, began securing points with his killer cross-court smashes. But Lin kept his calm, resorting to long rallies, swift returns and precision net play to defeat Lee.
With the unexpected victory, Lin has now won every major title the sport has to offer.
“My main target was to break my jinx at this Malaysia Open. We both played well and showed a high level of badminton. Me are Lee are both ageing, and so I cherish every moment we play each other in a big tournament,” he said.
Although partisan, the crowd cheered both ageing icons, boosting the morale of the shuttlers who demonstrated agility and power play and reminded critics they are not ready to retire.
Lee began the contest as the attacking player, pushing Lin into making unforced errors, but he could not hold on to his 19-15 advantage in the first game. Lin stormed back into contention with six straight points to win 21-19.
Lin continued his domination in the second game, staying focused and sticking to long rallies to build a lead of 11-8.
Lin’s strong challenge for points saw Lee in the final shot hitting the shuttle wide, allowing Lin to take the second game 21-14.
As has become the norm for the Chinese player, Lin dropped his racket, flung off his shirt and collapsed to the floor to rejoice in a victory that had eluded him in 2006.
The Chinese star had never been able to win in Malaysia. Lin reached the final thrice but was defeated by Lee in 2005 and 2006 and by Chinese compatriot Chen Long in 2015.
In 2006, Lin was one point away from the title as he led 20-13 in the deciding game, but Lee staged a phenomenal comeback to win 23-21 at the same venue.
Although he went down in straight games this time, Lee vowed to return stronger.
“It wasn’t my best performance today. I lost some confidence after losing the first game, but overall I am satisfied with my performance,” he said.
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- PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth are among players who will feature in the three-leg Asia Series.
- Kenin lost to ninth-seeded Maria Sakkari 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals. Svitolina lost to unseeded Russian Veronika Kudermetova 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
- With big names missing, the focus will be on Narsingh Yadav, who is making a return after serving a four-year doping ban.
- The men’s and women’s camps will resume after the national meet, to be held on January 30 and 31.