On form Lee could face Long rematch in HK
HONG KONG: Former world number one Lee Chong Wei looks set to cement his return to the top of world badminton if he can manage a second win in as many weeks over top seed Chen Long at the Hong Kong Open. Lee appears to be back on form after a shock victory over Chen to take the title at the China Open last week.
The Malaysian has made a number of early tournament exits as he struggled with his fitness after he returned to court following an eight month doping ban earlier this year, which saw him drop out of the world rankings. “I had a great run in the China Open, but I cannot be expected to win all the time,” Lee told local media in Malaysia. “The same players will be in Hong Kong and those who lost will be out to make amends. I’d rather focus on my recovery than worry about others.” Lee could meet Chen in the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Open, which begins Wednesday. A win over Chen would then see him meet arch rival Lin Dan in the semi-finals, if the Chinese badminton legend manages to bowl through the first rounds. Lee also dismissed the five-time world champion in a tight three-set semi-final in Fuzhou last week, slightly righting a match record that has up until now favoured Lin.
Lin has twice denied the Malaysian an Olympic gold, and with the next summer games just over eight months away 33year-old Lee already has his sights on that so far elusive top podium position.
“Chong Wei is certainly back to his best after going through uncertain times over the last few months. This will put him in the right frame of mind ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio next year,” said Malaysian team coach Tey Seu Bock.
Women’s world number one Carolina Marin will be looking to scoop up her fifth Super Series title of the year in Hong Kong. The 22-year-old Spaniard also won the World Championship in August for the second year in a row, but she was knocked out in the quarter finals of the last week’s China Open by former world number one Wang Shixian of China. India’s Saina Newhal will be be hoping to clinch her second Super Series title of the year in Hong Kong after loosing out to Olympic champion Li Xuerui in the final at Fuzhou.
The Indian world number two has been plagued by injury and illness in recent months and made early exits in Japan, Denmark and France, but could settle the score with Li in a semi-finals rematch. — AFP
FUZHOU: Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia hits a return against Chen Long of China during their men’s singles final match at the China Open badminton tournament in Fuzhou. — AFP