CLASSY: Malaysian wins third Korea Open and signals he is still a big threat
LEE Chong Wei was in majestic form as he proved that the defeat to Du Pengyu in the Super Series Finals was a rare blip as he outplayed the China shuttler to secure his third Korea Open title in Seoul yesterday.
Chong Wei was in a class of his own en route to a 21-12, 21-15 win over Pengyu in 42 minutes to earn his eighth victory in nine matches and bury the speculation that he will struggle against China's players this year.
Yesterday's win was once again the Malaysian's perfect start to the sport's curtain raiser which has been the case since 2008.
Chong Wei, who was carrying a thigh injury in the Super Series Finals, showed his true form against Pengyu who found it virtually impossible to break the Malaysian's dominance in yesterday's final.
The victory was worth US$75,000 (RM226,000) and Chong Wei will approach the Malaysia Open, which begins at Putra Stadium tomorrow, brimming with confidence. He will seeking a record-breaking ninth title at home.
National singles chief coach Rashid Sidek, in an e-mail from Seoul, said Chong Wei was in total control of the match and never allowed Pengyu to dictate terms.
"His performance today (yesterday) was excellent and he was totally focused. Chong Wei produced a performance that was a class above the rest," said Rashid. "He controlled the rallies and his attacking game was very effective. The preparation over the last few weeks has made a lot difference and he is playing the way he is known for.
"We are also looking forward to a similar performance from Chong Wei next week to win the Malaysia Open again."
Chong Wei is tied with badminton legend Wong Peng Soon winning eight men's singles titles each and his current form, coupled with a weak Malaysia Open field, should see him triumph again at Putra Stadium this week.
In the men's doubles, Ko Sung Hyun-Lee Yong Dae of Korea delighted the home crowd by beating World No 1 Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark 19-21, 21-13, 21-10 in 65 minutes.
Sung Hyun-Yong Dae, who thrashed Malaysia's Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong in the semi-finals on Saturday, will also be the pair to beat in the Malaysia Open.
RESULTS -- (All Finals) Men's singles: Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Du Pengyu (Chn) 21-12, 21-15.
Doubles: Ko Sung Hyun-Lee Yong Dae (Kor) bt Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Den) 19-21, 21-13, 21-10.
Women's singles: Sung Ji Hyun (Kor) bt Wang Shixian (Chn) 21-12, 22-20.
Doubles: Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang (Chn) bt Ma Jin-Tang Jinhua (Chn) 21-17, 21-13.
Mixed Doubes: Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) bt Xu Chen-Ma Jin (Chn) 13-21, 21-16, 21-13.