Saturday, May 25

Chong Wei ends title drought with Hong Kong Open victory

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Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei poses for the media after winning the men’s singles final against China’s Chen Long at the Hong Kong Open badminton tournament in Hong Kong. — AFP photo

HONG KONG: Former badminton world number one Datuk Lee Chong Wei clinched the Hong Kong Open yesterday by defeating Olympic champion Chen Long 21-14, 21-19, defying expectations that the all-time great may be reaching his end.

China’s Chen, who beat world number one Viktor Axelsen of Denmark to win the China Open for a fourth time last week, was stunned by 35-year-old Malaysian Lee, whose world ranking has fallen as he approaches the latter stages of his career.

Lee’s triumph came at a time when his old nemesis Lin Dan of China suffered defeats in the China Open and the quarter-finals in Hong Kong earlier this week.

In the women’s singles world number one Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan stunned India’s Pusarla V Sindhu 21-18, 21-18 as the young top seeds slogged it out in a 45-minute battle.

Olympic silver medallist Sindhu, 22, also lost out to the 23-year-old Taiwanese star in last year’s Hong Kong Open.

China’s Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong took just 35 minutes to seal a 21-15, 21-13 victory over Danish shuttlers Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen in the mixed doubles final.

Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia beat Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding of Denmark 21-12, 21-18 in the men’s doubles final.

Top seeded Chinese duo Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan clawed their way back from a deficit in a battle lasting one hour and 10 minutes, defeating Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu 14-21, 21-16, 21-15 in the women’s doubles final. — AFP