ASIAN GAMES 2010 Day 6 – Beijing flavour to Guangzhou final

Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei will once again meet in the final of a major event.  2 years after the Beijing Olympics, the arch-rivals will meet each other in […]

Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei will once again meet in the final of a major event.  2 years after the Beijing Olympics, the arch-rivals will meet each other in the final of the .

By Raphael Sachetat, live from Guangzhou.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

He may have not been in the best shape, but Lee Chong Wei proved tonight why he is a world number one: he had the mental strength and the skills to make it to the final of the Asian Games, exactly 30 years after the last Malaysian man who reached this stage, Datuk Punch Gunalan.  Drops, net shots, and patience: that’s the recipe for making it to an Asian Games final and it worked wonders for the Malaysian against a too eager Chen Jin.

It looked as if it was going to be a nightmare for the Malaysian after a quick first game won by Chen Jin 21-14.  Lee seemed slow, unable to attack even if trying in vain.  That led him – and his coach Misbun Sidek – to switch for a much cleverer tactic: wait and see…and play at the net.  Things got tight until 14-14 in the second game, when Chong Wei scored 4 points in a row, thanks to some very precise shots at the net.

These four points were crucial as I got back into a confidence mode after winning them” said Chong Wei.  “I had adjusted my tactic by then as I realized that the shuttles were slow and my attacks ineffective.”

The second game was bagged 21-15 and the third game was to be a long nightmare for Chen Jin, even if the whole packed Tian He Sports Center was singing his name.  Chong Wei did also have his supporters, cheering for him in Chinese.  The clever Malaysian, however, did not rush things.  He let Chen Jin think between points, taking his time between rallies.  Each point was ending in a change of shuttle, given with a smile by the Korean service judge Shon Hee Joo.

Lee led throughout the game:  9-2, then 14-4.  Chen Jin kept applying pressure but with less precision, making mistakes one after the other, while Chong Wei kept bringing the shuttles – scoring mainly on fast cross-court drops and avoiding any strong attacks.  The Malaysian was then up 20-7, and scored on his first match point, showing his flag to Misbun when he had landed the last point.

I just wanted to show that it was Malaysia in the final again.  It’s been so long and I wanted to break the record from 30 years back,” said Chong Wei.

Chen Jin, on his end, realized he had learned a lot from this defeat.  “My loss is due to my mindset.  I cared too much about the match and I was too anxious to win the rallies.  I kept attacking while he was patient enough, even if his condition was not the best.  He is a well rounded player and I will learn from my mistakes tonight,” said Chen.

Beijing bis…

Lin Dan will once again be on the opposite side of the net on Sunday for a rematch of the Olympic gold medal match from Beijing.  There have been a lot of matches since the summer of 2008 between these two shuttlers, but never for such an important event.  And of course, everyone will have in mind Lin Dan’s lesson of badminton.  On Saturday, against Park Sung Hwan, Lin showed he was close to his best and also made sure the Parisian defeat was long forgotten.  Park couldn’t cope with Lin’s speed and even if the reigning Olympic champion did make some mistakes, he was all around a much efficient player than Park and took the remaining ticket for the final 21-14, 21-10.

It was hard to prepare for this match because Park was in good condition and I had lost to him in Paris, but I think I played well today,” said the Chinese.   “As for tomorrow’s match, I’m not thinking about it too much.  I’m happy to play against Lee Chong Wei.  He is the best men’s singles player and whoever plays against him will have to go all lengths.”

For detailed results, CLICK HERE

Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.