COOL: World No 2 sinks Indonesia's Santoso
LEE Chong Wei has found his groove and that can only mean good news for Malaysia.
The shuttler sealed his place in the quarter-finals of the London Olympics yesterday and promptly declared that his performance against Indonesia's Simon Santoso was just the tonic needed for his bid for the gold.
Chong Wei was at his best, which he said even surprised him, but welcomed it as he looks forward to the semi-finals, that is after he takes care of India's P. Kashyap in today's quarter-finals.
"I am myself surprised at how well I played. I didn't really expect it as I was still thinking of the first match," said Chong Wei after his 21-12, 21-8 triumph.
On Monday, Chong Wei had looked out of sorts as he was stretched to three games by the unheralded Ville Lang of Finland in their group tie. There were no such problems yesterday as Chong Wei pranced around the court to signal that he is well and truly ready for a tilt at the gold.
"I really enjoyed myself on court and I found it easy to move as well. This is just what I needed ahead of the tougher matches ahead. I have beaten Kashyap on the two occasions we have met but I will not underestimate him as every player is dangerous in the Olympics. But I feel good and that is important."
Chong Wei started the match brightly, racing to a 5-1 lead before Simon forced his way back to narrow the gap to 4-5. It remained close till the changeover, when Chong Wei led 11-8.
After the break, Chong Wei began to look more comfortable and the early mistakes were a thing of the past as he cruised to win 21-12 in 17 minutes.
Chong Wei was quick off the mark in the second, racing to a 4-0 lead and despite Simon's best efforts, the Malaysian had found his groove and continued to widen his lead.
He went into the break 11-5 up and upon play resuming, coasted into the quarter-finals with a 21-8 score.
Kashyap overcame a scare to beat Sri Lanka's Niluka Karunaratne 21-14, 15-21, 21-9.
Reigning champion Lin Dan also advanced to the last eight with an easy 21-9, 21-12 win over Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat, the 2004 Atlanta Games gold medallist. Lin Dan will play the winner of the Kevin Cordon (Guatemala)-Sho Sasaki (Japan) tie (late yesterday) in today's quarter-finals.
Also through to the next stage was Lee Hyun Il, who beat Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen 21-17, 21-13 and the Korean will play either Marc Zwiebler of Germany or China's Chen Jin, who squared off late yesterday, today.
Results -- Men's singles 2nd rd: Lee Chong Wei bt Simon Santoso (Ina) 21-12, 21-8 , P. Kashyap (Ind) bt Niluka Karunaratne 21-14, 15-21, 21-9, Lee Hyun Il (Kor) bt Jan O Jorgensen (Den) 21-17, 21-13, Lin Dan (Chn) bt Taufik Hidayat (Ina) 21-9, 21-12.