KUALA LUMPUR – China’s Lin Dan failed to secure his maiden Malaysia Open Super Series Premiers men’s singles title after suffering a defeat to his compatriot Chen Long at the Putra Stadium, Bukit Jalil, here, yesterday.
The 31-year-old, who last played in the Malaysia Open in 2012, where he was defeated by Malaysian ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei, failed to capture the title in the absence of his nemesis, who is currently serving a suspension due to a doping hearing.
Lin Dan, with the boost from local supporters chanting his name for the first time in the history of the Open, won the first set after a neck-to-neck fight 22-20, before losing the last two sets 13-21 and 11-21 in the one hour and 18-minute haul.
“The defeat is because I was very slow and not confident, I let the opponent to win the second and third sets. As the Malaysian Open is one of the Olympic qualification requirement, I will come back next year and hope to play with Chong Wei (Malaysia’s badminton superstar Datuk Lee Chong Wei),” he told reporters after the match.
The ace shuttler who has a huge collection of titles, such the Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup, All-England, Asian Games, has yet to secure a Malaysia open title.
Chen Long on the other hand, was very satisfied with his performance, especially in the first set, as the world number one had prepared for the worst today.
“As a junior, I take it very positively when most of the crowd supports him.
Wishing good luck for Chong Wei in his Doping hearing and hopes he will be back to game soon,” he said.
The 2014 world champion used the advantage of Chong Wei’s absence to bring back the title to China after 17 years, where Chong Wei himself had won the title for 10 times from 2004, just losing the 2007 edition after a quarterfinal exit.
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, Carolina Marin of Spain ended China’s dominance in this year’s final by defeating Li Xuerui in rubber sets of 19-21, 21-19 and 21-17 in one hour and 11 minutes.
Regardless of the low popularity of the game in Spain, she became the first Spanish and second European, after Dane Tine Rasmussen to win the title.
With the enormous support from local fans, she clinched 8 consecutive points in the third set to come from behind 9-14 to 17-14 to secure her first Malaysia Open title.
“From the beginning itself I knew it was going to be very difficult, but I am very happy with my performance today. When the crowd is with you, it gives you so much of confidence and more power to win the game,” she said.
The champions of the single’s category walked away with prize money of US$37,500 (RM135,934) while the runners-up pocketed US$19,000 (RM68,873).