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BADMINTON: Chong Wei's reign ends


LEE Chong Wei's reign as the World No 1 for three years and 11 months came to an end yesterday as China's Lin Dan reclaimed the top spot in the latest world rankings released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

Chong Wei took the No 1 spot from Lin Dan on Aug 20, 2008, four days after being humiliated by the China ace in the Beijing Olympics final and maintained the ranking after consistent performances since.

Lin Dan held the No 1 ranking for more than four years since 2004, the longest ever, until he was dethroned by Chong Wei but the change will not affect the seedings for the Olympics.

The seedings, based on the May 3 rankings, has Chong Wei as the top seed with Lin Dan seeded second followed by China's Chen Long and Chen Jin as the joint third seeds.

Meanwhile, at the Singapore Open super series, Liew Daren avenged his All England defeat to Lee Hyun Il when he upstaged the South Korean to reach the quarter-finals yesterday.

Daren had to dig deep for his 21-18, 12-21, 21-13 win in 55 minutes for his third victory over Hyun Il in five meetings.

Daren's win must have spurred Chong Wei Feng, who also sealed his first quarter-final appearance in a super series event when he beat Hu Yu of Hong Kong 21-17, 21-14 in 39 minutes.

Daren next plays Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Minh, who overcame India's Ajay Jayram 12-15, 21-14,

Daren, in a telephone interview from Singapore, said he was looking forward to a place in the semi-finals although he has never beaten Tien Minh before.

"I played well today (yesterday). It feels good to reach the quarter-finals in a super series event after some inconsistent results. I am optimistic of advancing to the semis," said Daren.

"I played with more control and speed to beat Hyun Il. I feel confident after this victory and I believe I can overcome Tien Minh."

Wei Feng will play either Kenichi Tago of Japan or China's Wang Zhengming, who were playing late last night, in the quarter-final.

In the men's doubles, Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah also made the last eight, beating Naoki Kawamae-Shoji Sato of Japan, who have qualified for the Olympics, 21-15, 17-21, 21-16 in the second round.

Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong were involved in a late second round clash yesterday against fourth seeds Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia. Mixed doubles Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying also advanced to the last eight, beating Japan's Noriyasu Hirata-Miyuki Maeda 22-20, 18-21, 21-14 and will meet South Korea's Yoo Yeon Seong-Jang Ye Na next.

SELECTED RESULTS, 2nd rd (Malaysia unless stated) -- Men's singles: Chong Wei Feng bt Hu Yun (HK) 21-17, 21-14; Liew Daren bt Lee Hyun Il (Kor) 21-18, 12-21, 21-13.

Men's Doubles: Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa (Jpn) bt Ow Yao Han-Chooi Kah Ming 21-16, 21-10; Hong Wei-Shen Ye (Chn) bt Mak Hee Chun-Teo Kok Siang 21-18 21-15.

Women's Doubles: Mizuki Fujii-Reika Kakiiwa (Jpn) bt Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean 21-14, 21-13.

Mixed Doubles: Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying bt Noriyasu Hirata-Miyuki Maeda (Jpn) 22-20, 18-21, 21-14; V. Diju-Jwala Gutta (Ind) bt Tan Aik Quan-Lai Pei Jing 21-15, 21-15.

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