PETALING JAYA: Five-time world champion Lin Dan finally clinched the Malaysia Open title when he defeated world No 1 Lee Chong Wei here on Sunday, reported the New Straits Times today.
The two-time Olympic champion, who lost to Chong Wei in two previous finals in 2005 and 2006, defeated the Malaysian with a 21-19, 21-14 win at the Perpaduan Stadium in Petra Jaya.
Top-seeded Lin Dan, who will compete at the Singapore Open next, won US$45,000 (about RM200,000) in prize money, while Chong Wei settled for US$22,800.
Earlier in the day, Lin Dan beat Son Wan-ho of South Korea 27-25, 19-21, 21-16 in a match lasting one hour and 24 minutes.
Chong Wei acknowledged that Lin Dan is a great player and accepted his defeat against the Chinese badminton superstar despite feeling disappointed at failing to reign at the Malaysia Open 2017 Championship for the 12th time.
“Today I was not at my best and I am really disappointed but I have to accept the loss because in sports there are losers and there are winners,” he told a media conference after the match, Bernama reported.
According to Chong Wei, the breeze in the stadium affected his rhythm of play because the shuttlecock fell in court when he expected it to fall outside.
He said he was ahead in the first set but Lin Dan had the confidence to catch up, plus several mistakes which he made which resulted in the Chinese ace overtaking him to win the first set.
According to Chong Wei, a win in the first set is very important and Lin Dan succeeded in achieving it and went on to win the second to emerge champion of the Malaysia Open for the first time.
Meanwhile, Lin Dan said he was very happy and satisfied at beating Chong Wei in the final today, namely, to redeem his loss to Chong Wei 11 years ago in the final of the same championship and at the same stadium.
“Both of us played well and we have demonstrated a high quality of play and entertained the crowd.
“Actually, I was in pain after falling on the court during a semi-finals match but I was so enthused about beating Chong Wei in the final today and I am very happy to have done so,” said Lin Dan.
This was the first meeting of the two players after the Rio Olympics last year.