Lee Chong Wei exchanged his shirt with Kenichi Tago after he beat the Japanese in the first singles of the Thomas Cup final on Sunday. - AFP
NEW DELHI: India continued to be a happy hunting ground for Lee Chong Wei as he ended his sixth Thomas Cup campaign on a perfect note.
The world number one stopped Kenichi Tago of Japan, ranked three rungs below, 21-12, 21-16 in the opening singles match.
The straight-games win over the former All-England runner-up meant Chong Wei won all six matches he played in.
Chong Wei, who made his Thomas Cup debut in Jakarta in 2004, only dropped a game in the quarter-finals against Jan O Jorgensen.
There was applause from the predominantly Indian crowd at the venue yesterday and Chong Wei showed his appreciation by acknowledging them.
“India is always a good place for me and I am happy to maintain this.
“I won the Commonwealth Games gold medal here and I won the last two India Opens, too.
“I was very focused on getting the first point for Malaysia and I knew I could still catch up although I was trailing at one point in the second game,” said the 31-year-old, who started playing the first singles for Malaysia at the 2006 Finals in Japan.
Chong Wei was also undefeated at the 2008 Finals in Jakarta where he only played five matches.
At that Finals, he defeated Lin Dan of China but Malaysia eventually lost the semi-final tie 2-3.
The Penang-born shuttler chalked his first success on Indian soil by winning two golds at the Commonwealth Games in 2010. He retained his men’s singles crown and helped Malaysia to a succesful defence of the mixed team title.
Chong Wei then returned to take the inaugural India Open title in 2011, beating Dane Peter Gade Christensen but losing to South Korean Son Wan-ho in the final the following year.
Chong Wei, however, regained the title in 2013 after beating Kenichi in the final.
Chong Wei made another successful title run after beating China’s Chen Long in April this year.