LEE CHONG WEI delighted his passionate followers this afternoon by defeating Chen Long in devastating fashion to lift his third men’s singles title at the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena (NIA).
The world number one from Malaysia, who was appearing in his sixth successive All England final, made an aggressive start and went on to score a 21-13 21-18 against the second seed to avenge last year’s final defeat by the Chinese star, who had also overpowered him in the Korean Open final in January.
But this win means the Malaysian has won both of the first two MetLife BWF Superseries Premier events on the year as he followed up his 10th victory in the Malaysian Open in January.
And the All England crown will put him in good heart for his return to Britain later in the year to defend his Commonwealth Games title in Glasgow 2014 before going in search of an elusive first world title in Copenhagen at the end of August.
Lee Chong Wei said: “I am really happy and I tried my best today because I know Chen is a good player who I have lost to several times and I know I need to play my best to beat him.
“I think this my last All England, but who knows, I might come back next year but that is why I tried my best to finish first this year. I don’t know what will happen.
“I have suffered from several injuries, especially my ankle has caused me problems and I was not 100 per cent fit before coming to the All England so I need to go back in rehab, before knowing what the future brings.
“Today there was a great atmosphere and I would like to thank all my Malaysian and English fans for supporting me.
Chen Long said: “He was definitely more patient than me today and I think I rushed on court.
“I’d beaten him four times previous consecutively, today I just tried to play my normal match but he played really well.
“I think he played some amazing points so actually I can accept winning or losing either way today.
“There are a lot of matches every year, a lot of big tournaments and if we meet it is in the finals like this so the rivalry will continue I hope.”
China began the day seeking four titles but only ended up with the two they were guaranteed before the start, the women’s singles and doubles.
Wang Shixian lifted the women’s crown for the second time by defeating 2012 winner Li Xuerui 21-19 21-18 while top seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang overcame new pairing Ma Jin and Tang Yuanting in a fine women’s doubles, coming from behind to win 17-21 21-18 23-21 in the longest final at 81 minutes.
Wang Shixian said: “I am very happy to win but at the same time this only shows my performance this week at the tournament. There are still a lot of big tournaments waiting for me to win so hopefully I can keep on going.
“Winning matches gives you confidence, my main goal is to win more matches against players from other countries so I just want to keep on practising so I can win matches against them.
“I think I was more patient today, I made fewer mistakes compared to other games.
“The last point I wasn’t actually sure whether the point was in or out so when the umpire ruled it out I was really, really happy and from the bottom of my heart is happiness.
“I really like the arena here, somehow the atmosphere felt like a concert to me and I really like having the Chinese supporters in the audience so I really work hard for them.”
Chong Wei wasn’t the only player winning an All England title for the third time. Indonesia’s world champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir won the mixed doubles crown for the third year running when they defeated China’s Olympic champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei 21-13 21-17 in a repeat of last year’s final.
They said: “It’s not just a simple hat-trick, it’s a third victory in a row and we are obviously happy with our performance and want to build up momentum to earn more honours after this.
“We have many supporters at home and we are very grateful for that and we are also very happy to have friends, coach, training partners because of whom we’re able to increase our ability.
“We are particularly pleased with the Indonesian fans who are here supporting us.
“Even though we feel that we have achieved plenty we want even more and at the moment our focus is on the Asian Games and we’d like to get the gold medal at the World Championships.”
But Japan’s quest for a first men’s doubles title ended in disappointment for the second year running.
World champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan defeated Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa 21-19 21-19 in the men’s doubles.
Ahsan said: “We are very grateful with the result but we are not completely satisfied as we would like to produce honours in the future.
“It was very tense out there but we just tried to focus on the game, we were not so concerned about the score, but we simply concentrated on each point in the game.
“We are delighted with the fans and would like to send out a thank you to all of them. It made us feel like home.”
The Japanese pair said: “From the first stage against China it was really tough so we’re quite happy to have reached the final.
“Our aim is of course to win the tournament but on the other hand the All England is such a prestigious event so we wanted to play more in this tournament as it’s such an honour to play here.”
Men’s singles: (1) Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt (2) Chen Jin (China) 21-13 21-18 (59 mins)
Women’s singles: (4) Wang Shixian (China) bt (1) Li Xuerui (China) 21-19 21-18 (50 mins)
Men’s doubles: (1) Mohammad Ahsan & Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) bt (2) Horiyuki Endo & Kenichi Hayakawa (Japan) 21-19 21-19 (45 mins)
Women’s doubles: (1) Wang Xiaoli & Yu Yang (China) bt Ma Jin & Tang Yuanting (China) 21-18 18-21 23-21 (81 mins)
Mixed doubles: (2) Tontowi Ahmad & Liliyana Natsir (Indonesia) bt (1) Zhang Nan & Zhao Yunlei (China) 21-13 21-17 (42 mins)