ALL ENGLAND 2008 – One Tournament too far for Lee Hyun Il

Lee Hyun Il crashed out of the All England this afternoon after been beaten by Chen Yu (photo) of China in three games 21-19, 19-21, 14-21. Although Chen Yu’s world […]
ImageLee Hyun Il crashed out of the this afternoon after been beaten by Chen Yu (photo) of China in three games 21-19, 19-21, 14-21. Although Chen Yu’s world ranking of 9th is higher than Lee Hyun Il’s No. 13, it was the Korean who was the fancied shuttler coming into the tournament on the back of wins at the last week’s German Open and at the Korea Open Super Series in January, which came after a runner-up finish at the Malaysia Open.

By Mark Phelan, Live from Birmingham. Photos : Badmintonphoto

The opening game was typical of two players inside the world’s top 16. The opening exchanges were tit-for-tat with neither player winning more than 3 consecutive points. The game was balanced on a knife edge with the scores locked at 15-15. It was Lee Hyun Il who claimed supremacy by winning the next three points to take an 18-15 lead and in subsequently matching Chen Yu point for point, he took the opening game 21-19.

The second game was another cliffhanger but at the same time dramatically different from the opener. Chen Yu raced to a 13-8 lead and looked to have Lee Hyun Il on the back foot but the Korean won the next 6 points on the trot to tip the balance in his favour and assume an unlikely 14-13 lead.

Once again Chen Yu re-focused his efforts and took the next 5 points and Lee Hyun Il’s answer was again to counter attack and win 5 consecutive points for himself and go into the final few rallies of the game with a 19-18 lead. The final 3 points went the Chinese player’s way as he forced some errors from his Korean opponent and Chen levelled the match at 1 game each.

The final game was all set for an epic finish to this match and at 10-10 it looked like the crowd were going to be treated to a classic finish but Lee Hyun Il seemed to tire very quickly and, given his tough schedule of late, this was hardly surprising. Chen laced together two streaks of 6 and 3 points and some un forced errors from Lee towards the end of the game allowed his Chinese opponent to close out the game 21-14 and the match by 2 games to 1.

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