JAPAN OPEN 2010 – Chong Wei 1, China 4

Lee Chong Wei prevented another clean sweep for China by beating Lin Dan in Sunday’s finals of the Yonex Japan Open Super Series. By Miyuki Komiya, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos : […]

Lee Chong Wei prevented another clean sweep for China by beating Lin Dan in Sunday’s finals of the Yonex Japan Open Super Series.

By Miyuki Komiya, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos : Yves Lacroix/Badmintonphoto (live)

Tokyo, September 25thThe atmosphere was very tense in the venue before the kick-off of the men’s singles. The audience was really looking forward to watching the final between Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan – a repeat of the Olympic Games final.

For 80 minutes, people were to watch this match on the edge of their seats and with sweaty hands. And in spite of the size of the stadium, the silence was all around, while the two shuttlers were battling.

At the beginning of the 1st game, the rallies were on the slow side. Both players seemed to be waiting for a good opportunity to attack.  When one player finally hit a high lift, the other upped the pace of the rally to nab the point. This sometimes ended up as a missed shot as the two men were obviously tense.

Lin Dan had a good start with a 7-3 lead. The spectators were, at that point, certainly reminded of the Thomas Cup or the Olympics, when Lin beat Lee easily. But on Sunday, Lee Chong Wei was a different man: somehow, more relaxed. He had come here with no targets in mind. He caught back caught back up and shortly thereafter, thanks to 5 consecutive points, he opened up a 13-9 lead. Lin leapfrogged again to 19-17 but the Malaysian enjoyed some unusual mistakes by the Chinese, amongst which was a smash which went way wide.  Chong Wei missed on his first game point but finally, it was Lee who took the 1st game with 2 consecutive points.

The 2nd game saw both shuttlers neck-and-neck until 12-12, where the Chinese sped up the pace of the rallies, showing his natural talent, to nail it 21-16.  In the 3rd game,  rallies started more slowly but the pace soon increased and strong defense on both sides of the net made the rallies long in spite of the amazing attacks raining down each way. Chong Wei seemed in a better control as he took a 19-14 lead and it looked like a done deal, but the Chinese legend once again played some marvelous shots to catch up to 17-19. Misbun Sidek, on his chair was still taking notes while Chong Wei was obviously looking for a way to end it and beat Lin for the second time this year.  A last flick serve and a couple of attacks closer to the net provided him with the last expected point for a 21-17 final win.

“I was able to play my usual game. I had the advantage at 19-17 in the first game and I should have closed it then. I had many chances to get the points and the game, but I couldn’t. In the 3rd game, Chong Wei had a good start and he kept the lead until the end. Actually, I caught him at 7-7, but I couldn’t seem to take the lead. I should have played well from the start in the final,” said Lin Dan, before adding with a smile and a friendly attitude: “I also felt a little tired because of the China Masters last week.”

On the other hand, Chong Wei was of course all smiles after this key victory – especially before the Asian Games in a couple of months.

“I am really happy. This final against Lin Dan was really tough, as I expected,” said the smiling Malaysian.  “It will bring me extra confidence for my next goal, which is to get the Commonwealth and Asian Games titles.  I lose to Lin Dan when I am nervous but today I was more relaxed and could play my own pace. I’m also very happy because this Yonex and the Yonex All England were two of my targets this year.”

He left the press center, but not without signing the T-shirt which will be soon put to auction for Solibad with all of the winner’s signature (check when it’s coming on www.solibad.net)

Cai – Fu perform a hat trick

Malaysia was on a good track to make it two with Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong winning the first game of the men’s doubles final, but unfortunately for the duo, their opponents got their act together in the second and third. Very early on the shuttles, the Chinese took control of the pace and left no space for Koo’s creativity nor Tan’s hard smashes. They dictated the rallies and soon had sealed the third game as well, making it three major tournaments in a row after their success in Paris and Changzhou. Fu/Cai won 18-21, 21-14, 21-12 and Caicelebrated by throwing his shirt, and Fu his shoes, into crowd.

“We are happy to get title here. Our best result in Japan open was finalists in 2004. The Malaysians started really fast today. But we were able to play at our pace using net play in the 2nd game.  Keeping our pace was the key to our win. We managed to do it well today. We try to get titles in all of tournaments,” said Fu. “The most important thing is that we can play our best. Nobody knows which team will win until the end of the match so all we do is not give up until the end,” Cai said.

“When we played Fu/Cai in the final of the 2010 World Championships last month, we lost but we were able to play at our best level. But I couldn’t play well today. The reason might be because I couldn’t concentrate for the match. I felt that my net play was not so good so we changed our playing style and we focused more on defense. Anyway, we couldn’t play our best,” said Koo.

Jiang Yanjiao and Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang made it a final 4 gold medals for China with wins over their compatriots.

All Results HERE

If you are to visit Tokyo for the Japan Open, you should stay in our partner hotel, the Chisun Grand Akasaka, a classy and modern hotel just a few minutes away from the venue, the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. Click HERE to find out more about our partner hotel.

Miyuki Komiya

About Miyuki Komiya

Miyuki Komiya is Badzine's correspondent in Japan. She joined the Badzine team in 2008 to provide coverage of the Japanese badminton scene. She has played badminton for more than 30 years and has been a witness to the modern history of Japanese badminton, both watching players become stronger on court and hearing the players comment on their increasing success over the years. Contact her at: miyuki @ badzine.net