On form Lee could face Long re­match in HK

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

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

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