INDIA OPEN: Wan Ho grabs his first super series crown
SOUTH Korean Shon Wan Ho denied Lee Chong Wei a triumphant return from injury by snatching the India Open crown from the World No 1 in New Delhi yesterday.
Chong Wei, making a comeback after a six-week layoff due to shoulder injury, made too many uncharacteristic errors and handed Wan Ho a 21-18, 14-21, 21-19 victory in 66 minutes.
Chong Wei, the defending champion, started well and led 18-16 in the first game only to allow Wan Ho to score five points on the trot and concede the first game.
Chong Wei led all the way in the second game by playing more aggressively to win 21-14 and also staged a fightback from 13-18 to take a 19-18 lead.
However, the effort was still not enough as Wan Ho got his second wind and took the next three points and his first super series crown.
National coach Tey Seu Bock, in a telephone interview from New Delhi, said Chong Wei's defeat was not due to the shoulder injury.
"Chong Wei made a lot of mistakes and he was unable to play his best today (yesterday). The defeat has got nothing to do with the shoulder injury.
"It was not his normal game. He also became cautious once his opponent started reading his game.
"However, there is nothing to worry about and he will compete in the Malaysia Open grand prix gold as planned. The target is to win the event in Johor Baru and make up for the disappointment today (yesterday).
"Wan Ho was all fired up and played extremely well. He executed his game plan to perfection."
Chong Wei will return to Kuala Lumpur today and begin his title defence in the Malaysia Open on Wednesday.
There were also words of consolation from National Sports Institute (NSI) chief executive officer Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz who had been monitoring Chong Wei's recovery from the right shoulder injury suffered in the All England last month.
"It's never good to lose but perversely, it's alright that Chong Wei has yet to play at his very best at this juncture. Obviously short of match fitness, and I can't be too disappointed seeing him negotiate his way to a Super Series final in the first tournament after returning from injury," stated Dr Ramlan on Oneisn M'sia Facebook page.
"Well done... now to go from strength to strength towards that date in London (Olympics) come August."
The defeat will not affect Chong Wei's World No 1 position and he will also become the top seed in the Olympics as Thursday's world rankings issued by Badminton World Federation not only determine the qualifiers for London but the seedings as well.
Chong Wei will now try to maintain his unbeaten run in the Malaysia Open grand prix gold in Johor Baru after having won the first three editions of the tournament.
RESULTS -- (All Finals) Men's Singles: Shon Wan Ho (Kor) bt Lee Chong Wei (Mas) 21-18, 14-21, 21-19.
Doubles: Issara Bodin-Maneepong Jongjit (Tha) bt Ko Sung Hyun-Yoo Yeon Seong (Kor) 21-17 14-21 21-14.
Women's Singles: Li Xuerui (Chn) bt Juliane Schenk (Ger) 14-21, 21-17, 21-8.
Doubles: Jung Kyung Eun-Kim Ha Na (Kor) bt Bao Yixin-Zhong Qianxin (Chn) 21-17, 21-18.
Mixed Doubles: Ahmad Tantowi-Liliyana Natsir (Ina) bt Sudket Prapakamol-Saralee Thungthongkam (Tha) 21-17, 21-18.