Still searching: Two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China has never won the Malaysian Open title despite playing in three finals in 2005, 2006 and 2015.
KUALA LUMPUR: Shuttler Lee Chong Wei and nemesis Lin Dan are skipping the Indian Open to conserve their energy for a potential clash at the Malaysian Open in Kuching from April 4-10.
Yesterday, world men’s singles No. 1 Chong Wei pulled out of the Indian Open, which starts in New Delhi next week.
The 34-year-old Chong Wei was stretched to the limit en route to winning the All-England last week. He wants to take a rest before heading to Kuching.
Without Chong Wei, Malaysia’s representatives in India are Zulfadli Zulkiffli (men’s singles), Tan Wee Kiong-Goh V Shem (men’s doubles) and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles).
As for China’s Lin Dan, he bounced back to win the Swiss Open title on Sunday after a disappointing All-England outing. Like Chong Wei, his next tournament is the Malaysian Open.
National coach Tey Seu Bock is anticipating strong performances from Chong Wei and Lin Dan in Kuching.
“We pulled Chong Wei out of the Indian Open based on his form in training. The All-England victory took a toll on him.
“He’s not at his best right now. An extra week of training will give Chong Wei the time to be ready for the home tournament,” said Seu Bock.
He added that he was impressed by Lin Dan’s 21-12, 21-11 victory over compatriot Shi Yuqi at the Swiss Open.
“Lin Dan is still hungry for titles. He’ll be even stronger at the Malaysian Open. The presence of Lin Dan and Chong Wei will make the men’s singles competition more interesting in Kuching,” said Seu Bock.
Despite being a five-time world champion and twice winner of the Olympics, Lin Dan has never won the Malaysian Open. He reached the final three times, but lost to Chong Wei in 2005 and 2006 and compatriot Chen Long in 2015.
In the draw released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) last week, top seed Chong Wei has been drawn in the same half with third seed Chen Long, Yuqi and Tian Houwei of China; Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong and Indian K. Srikanth.
The 33-year-old Lin Dan, the seventh seed, is in the lower half with second seed Jan O Jorgensen and Viktor Axelsen of Denmark; Jonatan Christie and Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia; Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan and Son Wan-ho of South Korea.
SWISS OPEN FINAL
Men’s singles: Lin Dan (Chn) bt Shi Yuqi (Chn) 21-12, 21-11.
Men’s doubles: Chai Biao-Hong Wei (Chn) bt Liu Cheng-Zhang Nan (Chn) 13-21, 21-16, 21-15.
Women’s singles: Chen Xiaoxin (Chn) bt Chen Yufei (Chn) 21-19, 21-14.
Women’s doubles: Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan (Chn) bt Gabriela Stoeva-Stefani Stoeva (Bul) 21-16, 21-15.
Mixed doubles: Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) bt Praveen Jordan-Debby Susanto (Ina) 21-18, 21-15.