Mon, Dec 16, 2013 - Page 20 News List

Lee sets badminton record, Taiwan’s Tai falls to Li

AFP, KUALA LUMPUR

Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan returns to Li Xuerui of China yesterday during their women’s singles final at the BWF World Superseries Finals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Photo: EPA

World No. 1 Lee Chong-wei yesterday became the first player to win four titles in the season-ending Badminton World Federation (BWF) Superseries Finals when he crushed Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto.

It is the Malaysian badminton ace’s seventh Superseries title this year — the most he has ever won in a calendar year — following victories in South Korea, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Japan and Hong Kong.

The Olympic silver medalist, who won the tournament from 2008 to 2010, easily beat Sugiarto 21-10, 21-12 on home turf.

Lee used the full length of the court to move his opponent throughout the match, with the fourth seed still feeling the strain of beating Japan’s Kenichi Tago in three games on Saturday.

“I sensed he was not 100 percent [fit] and attacked him from the start,” Lee said.

Lee took a quick 4-0 lead, before Sugiarto earned his first point and later went on a run of eight straight points for a 13-2 lead.

The second game followed a similar pattern, with Lee winning points at will.

The 31-year-old said he could maintain his form next year.

“To me, age is just a number. I don’t see why I can’t continue as I still have the desire to win titles,” he said.

In the women’s singles match, Olympic and defending champion Li Xuerui of China crushed Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan.

Despite losing the final, the Taiwanese player could go home with her head held high after staging a seemingly impossible rally on Saturday to win against Wang Shixian of China, whom Tai had never defeated before and who has turned in consistent performances all season.

Tai, 19, bounced back from three match points down in the third game, diving at 19-20 to save the last match with a remarkable shot that Wang could not counter to ultimately win 15-21, 21-19, 22-20.

In the women’s doubles finals, third seeds Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark became the first European winners in the event when they defeated fourth-seeded Chinese pair Ma Jin and Tang Jinhua 21-19, 21-12.

On a roll, Pedersen teamed up with Joachim Fischer Nielsen in the mixed doubles to defeat world champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China 12-21, 21-19, 21-10.

With this, the Dane became the first player in history to win two titles in the same Superseries Finals.

In the men’s doubles, world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia defeated South Korea’s Kim Ki-jung and Kim Sa-rang.

The US$500,000 Superseries Finals bring together the top eight performers in each of the five categories based on points earned from 12 Superseries tournaments.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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