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Monday April 29, 2013
Reports by RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: Fatherhood has not slowed down world No. 1 shuttler Lee Chong Wei (pic) at all.
Yesterday, Chong Wei, the proud father of newborn son Kingston, delivered his 13th blow to Kenichi Tago of Japan in the men’s singles final en route to regaining the India Open title in New Delhi yesterday.
Looking more pumped up and determined, the 30-year-old Chong Wei showed more urgency in his game when he powered his way to a 21-15, 18-21, 21-17 win over Kenichi.
And immediately after the win, he dedicated it to his two-week-old baby boy. It was his first Super Series title as a father.
Chong Wei’s victory yesterday was his 13th over the Japanese, who almost beat the Malaysian in the 2010 All-England final.
And yesterday, the determined Kenichi showed that he had taken their rivalry to another level when he almost pulled it off again.
Armed with variety of tricks in his attacking forte, the Japanese pushed Chong Wei to the limit but the Malaysian did not crumble.
After losing the opening game, Kenichi upped the tempo with his fascinating smashes and tight spinning net shots to race to a 11-3 lead and finally wrapped up the second game at 21-18.
The decider was close and both were often locked in long and thrilling rallies before Chong Wei pulled away for his 31st Super Series title.
It was also the Malaysian’s third Super Series title this year after winning the Malaysian and South Korean Opens in January. It was certainly a much better performances from Chong Wei who lost to China’s Tian Houwei in the semi-finals of the Australian Open Grand Prix Gold last month.
Chong Wei was thrilled to bits with his second India Open title and he described the win as more “meaningful”.
“Today, I have won my first Super Series title as a father and I dedicate it to my baby Kingston,” said a delighted Chong Wei, who had also won the title in 2011.
“I could have won the match in straight games today but I lost focus against Tago in the second game. What is important is not the manner of how I won it but the end result.
“Tago has improved. But some of my errors and mistakes in the decider made him look good. Anyway, I am happy to keep my winning record against him intact.”
On his participation in the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold, the top seed and defending champion said: “I am heading back home immediately after this (the victory ceremony). I will arrive tomorrow (today) and I will decide whether I am still up to it.”
National singles coach Tey Seu Bock was relieved that Chong Wei pulled off the win yesterday although it was not his best game.
“It was not a very good second game as Tago was ruthless in his attack and Chong Wei, who is normally solid with his defence, was unable to counter,” said Seu Bock.
“The beauty about Chong Wei was that he was still able to turn it around and nailed the title. He never gives up and I am proud of him.”
In the women’s singles, Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon finally ended her bridesmaid role in the international stage by winning her first and deserved Super Series title in two years with a 22-20, 21-14 victory over Julianne Schenk of Germany.
The 19-year-old Ratchanok, a bright talent from Thailand had finished second at the last four Opens over the last two years, including last month’s All-England but yesterday, she showed her hunger and determination to end her title drought.
Men’s singles: Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Kenichi Tago (Jpn) 21-15, 18-21, 21-17.
Men’s doubles: Liu Xiaolong-Qiu Zihan (Chn) bt Ko Sung-hyun-Lee Yong-dae (Kor) 22-20, 21-18.
Women’s singles: Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) bt Juliane Schenk (Ger) 22-20, 21-14.
Women’s doubles: Miyuki Maeda-Satoko Suetsuna (Jpn) bt Christinna Pedersen-Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den) 12-21, 23-21, 21-18.
Mixed doubles: Ahmad Tantowi- Lilyana Natsir (Ina) bt Ko Sung-hyun-Kim Ha-an (Kor) 21-16, 21-13.
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