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Monday November 26, 2012
By ASHREENA PILLAI
PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei came up short in Kowloon, losing to an aggressive Chen Long in the men’s singles final of the Hong Kong Open.
The top seed was unable to stamp his mark against his much younger rival, losing 21-19, 21-17.
Second seed Chen Long’s pressure tactics worked as he unsettled a tired-looking Chong Wei in the first game, pouncing on his every shot.
The match had some brilliant rallies but, in the end, it was Chen Long’s smart net play and superb backhand defence that saw him land his third title of the year. It was his second Super Series success in a fortnight after his triumph at last week’s China Open.
“Having lost to Chong Wei in the Olympics, I’m happy to get a win against him here” said Chen Long, 23.
National singles coach Rashid Sidek blamed the loss to Chong Wei’s lack of preparation.
“We knew it was going to be tough as it has been a busy month for Chong Wei, what with his wedding and all,” said Rashid.
“Chen Long has also shown vast improvement this year and has been consistently putting in quality performances.”
Rashid confirmed that Chong Wei, 30, would be pulling out of next week’s Macau Open.
He said Chong Wei would forgo his favourite tournament to regroup before the season ending BWF World Super Series Finals in Shenzen, China, from Dec 12-16.
There was double heartbreak for Malaysia as Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong also lost to China’s Cai Yun- Fu Haifeng 21-16, 21-17 in the men’s doubles final.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong started well, racing to a 10-4 lead in the first game before things started to turn against them.
Unable to shut the door on Cai-Fu, the world No. 2 pair conceded four points, shrinking their lead to just three at 11-8.
It was an uphill battle from then on as the China pair turned on the power to win 21-19.
Cai-Fu dominated the second game racing to a 17-11 lead before Kien Keat-Boon Heong staged a comeback but it was too late.
It was the third straight Super Series final defeat for Kien Keat-Boon Heong.
China swept the board winning all five titles at stake yesterday.
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