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Badminton: China’s Chen downs Malaysia’s Lee to retain world title

Chen Long celebrates retaining his world title with a win over Lee Chong Wei. Photo: AFP.

Chen Long celebrates retaining his world title with a win over Lee Chong Wei. Photo: AFP.

August 17, 2015: World No. 1 Chen Long and Carolina Marin both retained their singles titles at the TOTAL BWF World Championships in Jakarta.

 

There was to be no magical comeback for former No. 1 Lee Chong Wei after his eight-month layoff as he once again ran into a near-perfect Chen, just as he had last year.

 

The Malaysian wasn’t given a whiff of a chance as the Chinese stood like a rock to everything Lee threw at him. The tone for the match was set early in the match, when Lee hammered three big smashes but each came back.

 

Lee sparkled in phases in the second game, but the amount of work required to gain each point was clearly taking its toll, while Chen was able to regularly rack up points with his unreturnable smashes. Lee just didn’t have the answers to the all-round superiority of his successor at the top of the rankings, who won 21-14, 21-17.

 

“Last year I also cried, but this year I cried even more because it was difficult to win,” Chen said. “For many years, nobody from China has won a major men’s singles event in Indonesia, so I’m very happy to win the title here.”

 

Lee praised the champion. “Today he played so well; he controlled the game,” he said. “I kept changing strategy. When I attacked, he defended; when I rallied, he made me run.”

 

Marin won her title with a 21-16 21-19 win over Saina Nehwal. The Indian had knocked out former champion Wang Yihan of China in an epic quarter-final, but in the final she played second fiddle to the Spaniard.

 

It was Marin who dictated the proceedings from the start and Nehwal showed no sign of the creativity that she had displayed against Wang. Instead, for the most part she scurried around trying to keep the shuttle deep. It was a reactive rather than a creative approach, and the left-handed Marin was able to exact her toll with her range of strokes.

 

Nehwal’s best phase came in the second game. At 8-5 she worked Marin around the court and fired a winner. With a 12-6 lead, the Indian had sufficient momentum to take it to a decider.

 

But Marin had displayed sterling fighting qualities all week and yet again she launched a comeback by winning seven straight points. A misjudgement at the baseline gave Marin the critical lead at 19-18; not long after, she once again had her hands on the title.

 

“I knew she was more tired than me and I just didn’t want to make mistakes when I was down in the second game. I just kept thinking of each point, just wanted to enjoy the final and the crowd,” Marin said.

 

“I felt at home because the crowd was chanting my name. I feel happier this time compared to last time. Both experiences have been great.

 

“This year it was more difficult to win the title. I had a foot injury last month, so I thought I couldn’t play. I started playing two weeks ago and just wanted to enjoy the tournament.”

 

Nehwal rued her missed opportunities, but admitted she had lost to a better player on the day.

 

“She was playing freely and not thinking of winning or losing. Today I didn’t play my best; I could have done better,” Nehwal said.

 

In the second, I had a lead, but points went by very quickly and within no time she was level. I could’ve been more patient then during those four or five points. In the second set, I was on the slower side. I was trying to make rallies happen but the points went very quickly.”

 

Source: BWF (www.bwfbadminton.org); Editing by SportAsia

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