PETALING JAYA: Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei went down to China Lin Dan in a men's singles final marred by several dubious line-calls in the Hong Kong Open at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium yesterday.
Disbelief: Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei reacts after losing a point during the final yesterday. – AFP
Lin Dan, the world No. 1, came back from a game down to beat world No. 2 Chong Wei 9-21, 21-15, 21-15 in a pulsating contest that saw the Malaysian protesting several line-calls.
“Quite a lot of his shots were outside. Everybody could see it,” said Chong Wei, who lost last week's China Open final to Bao Chunlai.
“This also happened in the China Open final. Maybe playing in Hong Kong is the same as in China.”
His claims marred an absorbing final between badminton's top two ranked players, although Chong Wei was also hampered by a knee injury he sustained in October.
Chong Wei looked to be the favourite to win the title after registering an easy 21-9 win in the first game.
Lin Dan won 9-21, 21-15, 21-15. – AFP
But world champion Lin Dan came back strongly to win the next two games to take home the US$20,000 (RM68,000) in 51 minutes. It was his fourth Super Series triumph this year.
Chong Wei received US$8,000 (RM27,200).
The 24-year-old Lin Dan was clearly rattled as Chong Wei raced to an 8-3 lead in the first game, calling for the line judges to tuck their plastic passes away in a move that brought guffaws from the crowd. Chong Wei easily wrapped up the first game at 21-9.
Even Chong Wei, who won three Super Series titles this year, was surprised with the easy win in the first game. But things changed in the second game as Lin Dan regained his rhythm.
Southpaw Lin Dan, with some good smashes and net play, took a 10-5 lead in the second game. Chong Wei looked under pressure as he had problems retrieving Lin Dan's smashes and was trailing 12-18 before losing 15-21.
In the rubber game, a gifted point for Lin Dan was the turning point.
The linesman called a Lin Dan smash out but the umpire over-ruled the decision and awarded the point to the Chinese, much to the dismay of Chong Wei.
Lin Dan went on to clinch the decider 21-15 against the rattled Chong Wei.
National chief coach Yap Kim Hock said in a telephone interview that he was satisfied despite Chong Wei's loss.
“Chong Wei controlled the first game but in the second game he looked tired, as he had been playing too many tournaments.
“His recurring knee problem also affected his game. Lin Dan looked the more fresher player.
“Chong Wei will take a one-week break before resuming training,” added Kim Hock.
Earlier, Lin Dan's girlfriend and top seed Xie Xingfang defeated compatriot and world champion Zhu Lin to win the women's title 21-19, 21-14.
The Hong Kong Open, the last leg of the inaugural Super Series, is set to be the last tournament of the year. Badminton chiefs are scrambling to save a planned Super Series Masters Finals after organisers in Qatar failed to find sponsors.