PETALING JAYA: Datuk Lee Chong Wei's wish to win his 100th career final did not materialise when he was dethroned by Viktor Axelsen at the Japan Open.
On Sunday, the 34-year-old Lee went down 14-21, 21-19, 14-21 to reigning world champion Axelsen of Denmark in 75 minutes in the men's singles final in Tokyo.
The lanky Dane was in ruthless form from the start and had better control of the game than Lee. It could have ended in a straight game if not for a few lucky shots for the Malaysian.
Lee, a six-time Japan Open winner, did try to raise the game in the decider with some deceptive and tricky shots but nothing could be done to douse the fire in Axelsen.
It was Axelsen's first Japan Open title and Denmark's first since Peter-Gade Christensen won in 1999.
This loss marked Lee's second defeat to the 23-year-old Axelsen in 11 meetings.
However, world No. 7 Lee can still walk with his head held high, as this was a better showing than his first round disaster at the World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland last month.
Men's singles: Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt Lee Chong Wei (Mas) 21-14, 19-21, 21-14
Men's doubles: Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Ina) bt Takuto Inoue-Yuki Kaneko (Jpn) 21-12, 21-15
Women's singles: Carolina Marin (Spa) bt He Bingjiao (Chn) 23-21, 21-12
Women's doubles: Misaki Matsutomoto-Ayaka Takahashi (Jpn) bt Kim ha-na-Kong Hee-yong (Kor) 21-18, 21-16
Mixed doubles: Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (Chn) bt Takuro Hoki-Sayaka Hirota (Jpn) 21-13, 21-8