The wait was worth it.
The 1,000-odd Mumbaikars who turned up to see Lee Chong Wei begin his Indian Badminton League campaign were not disappointed. The Malaysian World No. 1 showed them why he is considered a legend by coming up with a high-level performance.
The Mumbai Masters icon player was in full swing at the NSCI here on Tuesday, beating compatriot and World No. 17 Liew Daren of Krrish Delhi Smashers 21-12 21-16 in a match that lasted 36 minutes. It was hard to believe that the same man —who was diving around full throttle to make those returns — had to be stretchered out of the court just two weeks ago during the world championships final against China’s Lin Dan.
Wei ensured Mumbai Masters got off to a flying start and Denmark’s Tine Baun ensured it continued, her easy 21-11 21-13 victory over India’s Arundhati Panthawane handing Mumbai a 2-0 lead.
The Smashers seemed to have done their homework, for it was a well thought-out move to send in Daren to counter Wei than their usual first choice singles player Sai Praneeth. Daren, the 2012 French Open champion, had overcome Wei in the Djarum Superliga in Indonesia earlier this year.
But there was no upset this time. Not when Wei was in full swing.