KUALA LUMPUR: A resilient world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei collapsed at the crucial stage to allow archrival Lin Dan of China to take the honour as the first champion of the richest tournament in badminton history.
In the US$1.2mil South Korea Open in Seoul yesterday, the three-time champion displayed a late burst of power in the rubber game to win the last six points consecutively for a 21-19, 14-21, 21-16 victory to dethrone Chong Wei as the champion.
The hard work and solid netplay over one hour and 15 minutes earned Lin Dan a jackpot purse of US$90,000 (RM275,000).
It was Lin Dan’s first title since withdrawing from three Open tournaments over the last two months – in China, Hong Kong and Malaysia. He had cited a back injury to conceded walkovers to his opponents in the quarter-finals.
There was sheer frustration for Chong Wei after coming so close to becoming the first Malaysian to win three titles in a month after the Super Series Masters Finals in Taipei and the preceding season-opening BWF World Super Series tournament in Malaysia.
It was the 18th defeat for Chong Wei by Lin Dan in 24 meetings. But the runner-up finish was worth a cool
US$45,600 (RM139,000), which was more than the winning purse for the Super Series Masters and the Malaysia Open.
And coach Misbun Sidek saluted Chong Wei for showing toughness in having to play in a third final in a month.
“He played with such tenacity and intensity. He had to be on his toes from one tournament to another and he displayed a high level of play against Lin Dan,” said Misbun.
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p/s :- Chong wei still da best!!