PETALING JAYA – Lee Chong Wei will be out to regain his world No. 1 status when he faces Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the men’s singles final at the World Superseries Finals in Dubai.
The world No. 2 Chong Wei has set up a mouth-watering clash with world No. 1 and defending champion Axelsen after crushing Son Wan-ho of South Korea 21-17, 21-11 in the semi-finals on Saturday (Dec 16) at the Hamdan Sports Complex in United Arab Emirates.
The 35-year-old Chong Wei lost to Wan-ho in the group match but a re-draw on Friday (Dec 15) saw him playing the Korean again within 24 hours in the elimination round.
Reigning world champion Axelsen too had his sweet revenge when he blew away Shi Yuqi of China 21-12, 21-8 in a 41-minute semi-final match. The Dane had lost to Yuqi in the group match.
Chong Wei said he would go all out to win his fifth World Superseries Finals title.
“I did not push myself against Wan-ho during the group match because I knew that I had qualified for the semi-finals but I didn’t give him any chance today (on Saturday). I was focused and I fought hard to win,” said Chong Wei.
“I’ll fight all out against Viktor too. If I win, I will be the No. 1 player in the world again. It’ll be a great way to end the year,” he said.
Chong Wei fell from his No. 1 standing in June and dropped further to the eighth placing after crashing out in the first round of the World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland in August.
He moved up to the No. 2 spot in the world after winning the Hong Kong Open last month.
The Malaysian has played against Axelsen 11 times since 2011 but unfortunately, Chong Wei has lost in the last two meetings over the last one year – at the World Superseries Finals (group stage) in Dubai last year and the final of the Japan Open in August.
Can Chong Wei turn the tables against the high-riding Axelsen? If he does, it will be Chong Wei’s first title in Dubai and fifth Finals victory.
The three-time Olympic silver medallists Chong Wei has won the Finals in 2008 (Kota Kinabalu), 2009 (Johor Baru), 2010 (New Taipei City, Taiwan) and 2013 (Kuala Lumpur).
Men’s singles: Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt Shi Yuqi (Chn) 21-12, 21-8; Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Son Wan-ho (Kor) 21-17, 21-11.
Women’s singles: Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn) bt Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) 17-21, 21-12, 21-19; P.V. Sindhu (Ind) bt Chen Yufei (Chn) 21-15, 21-18.
Mixed doubles: Zheng Siwei-Chen Qingchen (Chn) bt Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir (Ina) 21-12, 21-17.
SUNDAY FINAL FIXTURES
(From 5pm onwards following the order below)
Mixed doubles: Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet (Hkg) vs Zheng Siwei-Chen Qincgchen (Chn).
Women’s singles: P.V. Sindhu (Ind) vs Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn).
Women’s doubles: Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (Jpn) vs Shiho Tanaka-Koharu Yonemoto (Jpn).
Men’s singles: Lee Chong Wei (Mas) vs Viktor Axelsen (Den). – The Star Online