MALAYSIA’S top men’s singles shuttler Lee Chong Wei aims to set the record straight against China’s Chen Long in the final of the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold Championships at the Bandaraya Stadium today.
Yesterday, world No. 1 Chong Wei was the only Malaysian singles player left standing following the exits of seasoned campaigners Wong Choong Hann and Wong Mew Choo in the semi-finals.
Chong Wei had one of his easiest semi-finals ever, galloping to a 21-9, 21-8 demolition of Hong Kong’s Hu Yun in just 19 minutes.
“I was expecting a tough match from Hu Yun after seeing him play in the Sudirman Cup. But I was really surprised with the easy win against him today,” said Chong Wei.
Indonesian Open champion Chong Wei said he was prepared to face the strongest challenge in the tournament when he comes up against Chen Long.
And all that the Malaysian wants is sweet revenge.
At the India Open two months ago, Chen Long had sent Chong Wei packing to a shock first round defeat.
But then, the Malaysian was not at his best because he was suffering from food poisoning.
“Chen Long is a new player trying to make a name for himself. I will be meeting him for the second time and, this time, I hope to win,” he said.
“This youngster is an all-rounder. I do not want to be over-confident or take him lightly.
“I want to win my fourth Open title this year and make the fans happy,” added Chong Wei, whose other triumphs this year were in the Malaysian and Swiss Opens.
Chen Long, who snuffed out the challenge of Choong Hann with a 21-10, 21-16 win in the other semi-final yesterday, is equally determined to continue with his fine run in the tournament.
“I came with a game plan to push my opponent to the limit. I am glad that my strategy worked well. There was stronger resistance (from Choong Hann in the second game) but I stayed focused,” said the 20-year-old player. “I will be out to do the same against Chong Wei tomorrow (today).
“This time it will be tougher against him.
“In India, his condition was not so good. Although I have beaten him once, the gap between us is still wide.”
Chen Long, who hopes to take over as China’s best player when Olympic champion Lin Dan calls it a day, said he enjoyed playing in Malaysia – and it’s not because he had won the Asian junior title in Kuala Lumpur two years ago.
“I simply love the hawkers’ food here. They are very delicious,” said Chen Long.
There was also disappointment for Mew Choo, who ran out of steam after a strong start against China’s Wang Xin.
After losing 18-21, 14-21, Mew Choo admitted that her confidence was at the lowest ebb.
“I wanted so much to do well here to get back my confidence but I failed.
“I did give a good fight in the first game but I did not have enough strength to muster a strong assault in the second,” lamented Mew Choo.
“I am shaping up well after my injuries but my game is still in a shambles. I am trying to get back my touch, to be the old Mew Choo – the fighter – but I am still struggling.
“I have about one more month to work on this and, hopefully, I will be ready for the World Championships (in India next month).”
Today’s women’s singles final will see two Chinese qualifiers battling for the title, with Wang Xin taking on junior compatriot Wang Shixian, who pulled off an upset 21-14, 21-15 win over the world No. 5 Pi Hongyan of France.