BADMINTON | MALAYSIAN MASTERS
Experience wins Chong Wei fifth title in all Malaysian final
Top seed Datuk Lee Chong Wei overcame national champion and Malaysia's rising star Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin in the Malaysian Masters Grand Prix Gold.
An all Malaysian treat was served up for the watching fans, some of whom didn’t know who to support more. This was the first time in six years that the final was contested by two home players and it was 33 year old Chong Wei that ended victorious over his compatriot Iskander.
Prior to the final, Chong Wei had a simple message for his 9-year younger opponent. “Keep up the momentum and fight till the end."
"It does not matter that he is playing me for the title. If he can win or even give me a good fight I will be more than happy for him. Iskandar has shown vast improvement in his game and his win over Srikanth [in the semi-final] speaks of that. It does not matter if Iskandar beats me because sooner or later someone has to start winning when I retire," said Chong Wei.
But nice words though they were, Chong Wei had no plans to give up on a title he won back-to-back 4 times between 2009 and 2012. He took the match 21-18, 21-11 and although Iskandar fought well, it was the experience of his older opponent that won through.
“By the second set I was reading his play,” Chong Wei, currently 5th in the world rankings, explained in reference to his control later in the game. “I am now looking ahead to the All-England and Swiss Open.”
Iskandar, referring to his victor as “elder brother”, conceded that he found it difficult as his shots were being expertly anticipated.
“Chong Wei's speed is unbelievable, that was what made it difficult for me to score points. I hope after this I can up my game physically.”
There was British interest in the women’s singles final with Kirsty Gilmour from Scotland losing out 21-15, 21-9 to India’s P.V. Sindhu. Let’s see if Kirsty’s fellow countryman, Andy Murray, can go one step further next week in his racquet sport Down Under.
In the other finals:
Men's doubles - Malaysian professional pair Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong lost to Indonesians Gideon Markus Fernaldi/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 18-21, 21-13, 21-18.
Women's doubles - Top seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi of Japan defeated Chinese pair Tang Yuanting/Yu Yang 21-18, 22-20.