World no, 1 Lee Chong Wei dispatched China's Wang Zhengming with ease in the quarter-finals of the badminton World Championships in Denmark on Friday. - AFP
COPENHAGEN: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei had expected a huge fight from former world junior champion Wang Zhengming of China in the men’s singles quarter-finals of the World Championships.
But it turned out to be one of the easiest matches for top seed Chong Wei as he crushed Zhengming 21-8, 21-11 in 39 minutes to storm into the semi-finals at Bellarup Super Arena.
Chong Wei’s next opponent is another former world junior champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, whom he has beaten in all their previous five meetings.
But it will be a folly to under-estimate the 19-year-old Dane, who will have the home crowd rooting for him all the way.
Resorting to a more patient game against Zhengming, Chong Wei was delighted to keep the nation’s hope alive in the championships.
“I was surprised with the manner I won today. I had expected a stiff fight from Zhengming but it did not happen,” said Chong Wei, who has beaten the youngster in the last 11 meetings.
Indeed, it was one-way traffic all the way for Chong Wei against the Chinese – with the former displaying his vast range of options, both in attack and defence – to outwit the latter.
Chong Wei said that in the absence of Jan O Jorgensen, he expected Axelsen to go the extra mile.
“There have been so many upsets in this world championships… so top player like me must stay alert. Viktor has reached the semi-finals and that in itself is not an easy feat and I will be ready for him.”
Asked about him being the lone flag bearer once again, Chong Wei laughed.
“I am so used to being the only player left in a tournament. I have some team members supporting me here, including Chong Wei Feng. Hopefully, I will be able to produce good results,” added Chong Wei, who is hoping to give the nation a perfect 57th Merdeka Day gift.
Said a delighted Viktor after assuring a bronze medal for his country: “I have nothing to lose against Chong Wei. I know it will be tough but I will give him everything I have.”