Lee Chong Wei acknowledges the crowd after beating Indian player P. Kashyap in the Indian Open quarter-finals on Friday. - AFP
KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei broke the hearts of Indian fans for the third day in a row to reach the men’s singles semi-finals of the Indian Open in New Delhi.
Top seed Chong Wei got off to a slow start but stepped up a gear to snuff out the fire of P. Kashyap, the last Indian man remaining in the tournament, with a 21-15, 21-13 win in 40 minutes on Friday.
Over the last two days, two-time Olympic silver medallist Chong Wei was victorious over Ajay Kumar (first round) and Sourabh Varma (second round) – also in ruthless fashion.
Today, three-time All-England champion Chong Wei will play China’s Du Pengyu, who outpaced former world junior champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 21-11, 22-25, 21-19.
Pengyu has beaten Chong Wei only once in 12 meetings, but the Chinese should not be considered a weak opponent.
On today’s semi-finals, national coach Rashid Sidek said: “Chong Wei is looking good. If he keeps his momentum going, the match is his for the taking.”
Rashid added that Chong Wei’s win over the three Indians was a good morale booster ahead of the Thomas Cup Finals in New Delhi from May 18-25.
Malaysia are in Group C with South Korea, Germany and India.
“Based on Chong Wei’s performances here, it will be quite impossible for India to steal the first point. Kashyap is their No. 1 player right now,” said Rashid. “I am sure Chong Wei’s solid showing will motivate his team-mates to do well in the Finals next month.”
Chong Wei is only Malaysian left standing in the Superseries tournament as Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei, the SEA Games champions, and Chan Peng Soon-Lai Pei Jing were shown the exit door.