Chen Long of China will take on Lee Chong Wei in the final of the Indian Open on Sunday. Their head-to-head stands at 8-all. - AFP
KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei battled his way to the men’s singles final to set up a mouth-watering showdown with Chen Long of China at the Indian Open in New Delhi.
Top seed Chong Wei toiled for 72 minutes to overcome Du Pengyu’s ferocious assault to prevail 21-17, 19-21, 21-15 in the semi-finals to keep alive his hopes of winning a third Indian Open title.
Chong Wei could have beaten Pengyu in straight games as he was in a comfortable 15-11 lead in the second game, but the China’s No. 3 shuttler refused to give up. He displayed some great net play and explosive movements to make a remarkable comeback to set up a rubber game.
Chong Wei, however, stepped up his game in the rubber and was never really troubled by Pengyu.
In the other semi-final, second seed Chen Long came through by the skin of his teeth with a titanic 21-15, 21-23, 21-19 win over a pumped-up Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark in a 79-minute encounter.
In Sunday’s duel between the world’s top two players, the 31-year-old Chong Wei will be bidding to go one-up on Chen Long. The duo have met 16 times and each have won eight times.
National coach Rashid Sidek said Chong Wei would need to make a quick recovery from the exhausting semi-final match to be ready for Chen Long.
“Chong Wei got his act right in the opening game. He played with great intensity, precision and speed to take charge. Unfortunately, he lost it after taking a good lead in the second,” said Rashid.
“Pengyu knew what to do to apply the pressure on Chong Wei and he was quite exceptional at the net. Fortunately, Chong Wei knew what went wrong and got back his rhythm in the rubber game,” added Rashid.
On the final, Rashid said: “Chen Long too was stretched by Jan in the semis. It think the final will be equally contested. Chong Wei lost to him at this year’s Korean Open but got his revenge en route to winning his third All-England title last month. Hopefully, Chong Wei will come out top again.”