Sun, Sep 22, 2013 - Page 19 News List

World No. 1 cruises into final

DOMINANT:Lee Chong Wei has not dropped a game en route to the Japan Open final, while in the women’s singles, Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying lost yesterday


Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan hits a return during her women’s singles semi-final against Akane Yamaguchi of Japan at the Japan Open badminton tournament in Tokyo yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Malaysia’s world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei crushed fifth-seeded Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam to reach the Japan Open final yesterday, brushing aside controversy at home over the resignation of his coach.

The top seed and defending champion whipped the world bronze medalist 21-10, 21-5 in 29 minutes in their semi-final at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Lee will play the seventh seed and hometown favorite Kenichi Tago today, hoping to lift a record fourth Japan Open title.

Tago beat China’s Gao Huan 21-12, 21-12 in the other semi-final.

On Thursday, Rashid Sidek tendered his resignation as Malaysia’s national singles coach, according to press reports from Kuala Lumpur.

Rashid — who was not in Tokyo — reportedly said he was frustrated and disappointed with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) over its treatment of coaches.

“Before I left Malaysia I was aware of various issues concerning the coaches, but I am an athlete and for now I want to concentrate on my game and win,” Lee said through an interpreter after his semi-final triumph.

Asked how he felt about the BAM, Lee said: “As an athlete, it may be impossible for me to change anything about the association. After going home, I will consult everyone and think if I should make any decision.”

Lee has not lost a single game in reaching the final, while second seed Chen Long of China crashed out in the first round.

Lee jumped to a 7-0 lead in the first game against Nguyen and never looked back, although the Vietnamese came as close as 17-9 at one point.

In the second game Lee scored 10 straight points to 14-2, dazzling with smashes and net kills. After yielding a few points, he finished Nguyen off by returning his smash close inside the baseline.

“Nguyen is a kind of player who can return wherever you hit so I kept on hitting patiently and went all out for any good chance I found,” Lee said.

An all-Japanese women’s final was set up after Akane Yamaguchi beat Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying 26-24, 21-14 and Shizuka Uchida shocked fourth seed Wang Yihan of China.

In the women’s doubles semi-finals Danish No. 3 seeds Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl beat second seeds Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi of Japan 21-16, 21-14. They will play tops seeds Ma Jin and Tang Jinhua in the final after the Chinese duo bounced back to defeat fourth-seeded Indonesian pair Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth and Rizki Amelia Pradipta 17-21, 21-14, 21-12.

In the men’s doubles Chai Biao and Hong Wei of China beat second seeds Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark 21-11, 15-21, 21-19, while top seeds Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia defeated Kang Jun and Liu Cheng of China 21-12, 18-21, 21-18 in the other semi-final.

The final of the mixed doubles will be an all-Chinese affair between top seeds Xu Chen and Ma Jin and No. 2 seeds Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei.

Xu and Ma beat third seeds Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen of Denmark 21-17, 23-21, while Zhang and Nan cruised past unseeded compatriots Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin 21-9, 21-8.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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