Sixth title in sight

Chong Wei seals seventh finals to set up clash with Boonsak

VICTORIOUS: Chong Wei celebrates his victory in men’s semi-final against Vietnam’s Tien Minh Nguyen in Kuala Lumpur. — AFP photo

VICTORIOUS: Chong Wei celebrates his victory in men’s semi-final against Vietnam’s Tien Minh Nguyen in Kuala Lumpur. — AFP photo

KUALA LUMPUR: World number one Datuk Lee Chong Wei remained on course for his sixth Malaysian Open title after beating Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh in the semi-final of the Proton Malaysian Open Super Series at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil here yesterday.

Chong Wei, 27, the defending champion, sealed his seventh final with a 22-20, 21-11 victory over his nemesis from Vietnam in just 40 minutes to set up an exciting clash against cross-border neighbour Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand.

“In the first set, I played a bit slow and was extra careful which saw the Vietnamese close in but when tied 20-20, I used my smashes to up the pace and win the first set.

“In the second set, I controlled from the start to finish,” said Chong Wei who will be gunning for his sixth Malaysia Open title after wins in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009.

In last year’s final, Chong Wei beat South Korean Park Sung Hwan 21-14, 21-13 while the only blip in his consecutive run of victories was in 2007 when he lost to Bao Chunlai of China 21-14, 21-18 in the quarter-finals.

Speaking of his opponent Boonsak who reached his first Super Series final after creating an upset of sorts by ousting fourth seeded Peter Gade-Christensen of Denmark 11-21, 21-12, 21-16, Chong Wei said he needed to prepare mentally for the final.

Boonsak who edged Chen Long of China, Andrew Smith Andrew of England and Chong Wei Feng of Malaysia en route to the semi-finals said: “He (Chong Wei) is a player with good attacking play and solid defence. It will be hard to beat him because he plays very fast.

“But I think I can beat him in the final because Chong Wei is under a bit of pressure when playing in front of his own spectators.”

In the women’s singles, unseeded South Korean Bae Youn Joo clinched an unexpected hard-fought victory over top ranked Wang Yihan of China 17-21, 21-13, 21-19 to set up a date with another Chinese player Wang Xin who doused Japanese hopes by sweeping aside Eriko Hirose 21-13, 21-17 in the other semi-final. — Bernama


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