Sun, Sep 24, 2006 - Page 22 News List

Malaysia's Lee out after controversy

SHOUTING MATCH The world No. 1 and top seed Lee Chong-wei was upset after his loss to Bao Chunlai over remarks allegedly made by the Chinese coach

AGENCIES , MADRID

Top seed and world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia tumbled out of the world championships on Friday, losing a fiery quarter-final in controversial circumstances to China's Bao Chunlai.

The Malaysian was beaten 22-20, 12-21, 21-18 by the seventh seeded Bao and was so angry with remarks he alleged were made during the match that he refused all interviews with Chinese media.

Lee also complained about officials' handling of the match.

The excitement of a fine and fluctuating game was marred by its hostile climax and aftermath, with one member of the Chinese entourage making a loud and aggressive interruption of one of Lee's interviews, shouting: "Stop talking."

"I don't want to fight about it now," the Malaysian later told reporters.

"But as far as I saw it the shuttlecock was out on two crucial points. I don't think the decisions were fair. It was 50-50 out there and I could have won, although Bao played very well," Lee said.

"The Chinese coach shouted at me during the match and threatened to break my legs. He was using psychological pressure to upset me," he added.

Lee was on top during the opening exchanges, but Bao mounted a determined fightback and eventually took the first game.

The Malaysian stepped up a gear to take the second comfortably, but with the decisive game balanced on a knife edge at 17-all, a disputed line-call gave Bao the edge.

Another borderline call gave Bao a match-point and although Lee saved one, he eventually succumbed to the Chinese.

"I'm the world number one and maybe the pressure of trying to become the first Malaysian to win the worlds got to me," said Lee.

Bao said that the fact that Lee had beaten him in their previous meetings meant he had nothing to lose.

"I felt very calm and balanced," he said. "I learned a lot from this match."

EDGED OUT

Bao, who won the Korean Open last month, now faces Lee Hyun-il of South Korea who edged out China's world No. 3 Chen Jin 21-14, 19-21, 21-12.

The other semi-final is an all-Chinese affair pitting world number two Lin Dan against Chen Hong.

Lin rattled up a 21-10, 21-9 win over Malaysia's Muhamad Hafiz Hashim.

"I focused on every point and it was all over very quickly," said Lin. "The fact that there are three Chinese in the semi-finals proves we have the strongest players in the world."

Chen ended Peter Gade's hopes of becoming the first European since fellow Dane Peter Rasmussen to win the world title.

"I felt like I could go all the way, but he was tremendously good and very sharp out there today," said Gade. "I just couldn't break his rhythm and get control."

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