Lee Chong Wei sounds out Rio Olympics warning in crushing Chen Long at China Open
Malaysian badminton star had earlier beaten Lin Dan, showing he is right back to his best
Former world number one Lee Chong Wei's hopes of finally winning an Olympic badminton gold medal glistened in Fuzhou on Sunday after he crushed top seed Chen Long of China 21-15, 21-11 in the men's singles final at the US$700,000 China Open.
The 33-year-old Lee had beaten "Super Dan" Lin Dan in the semi-finals and he was all business as he ended a 50-minute contest against Chen to become only the third Malaysian singles player to win on Chinese soil.
Wong Choong Hann won the men's singles title in 2002 while Lee's wife Wong Mew Choo pulled off the feat in 2007 when she became the first Malaysian woman to win in China.
The only Malaysian doubles pair to win the title on Chinese soil are brothers Razif and Jalani Sidek in 1989.
Malaysian coach Tey Seu Bock said Lee stuck to the plan and was rewarded with his efforts.
"His attacking and defensive game was solid. Everything worked so well for him. I am so happy for him," said Tey.
"Chong Wei is certainly back to his best after going through uncertain times over the last few months. This will put him in the right frame of mind ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio next year."
A day earlier, Lee played superbly to oust five-time Chinese world champion Lin in the semi-finals.
That was his first win over his arch-rival in about four years and after beating Chen, who is seen as Lee's main rival in Rio, it gave the Malaysian the conviction and hope that he could finally lay his hands on gold after two silvers at the previous two Olympics in Beijing 2008 and London 2012, which Lin won emphatically.
Lin has also won five world titles, beating his great Malaysian rival in two finals. Lee has yet to win a major since bursting on the scene more than seven years ago.
By beating Lin, Lee improved his head-to-head record against Lin to 10-25.
Lee's victory - his second SuperSeries title for the year - also lifted his spirit after the Malaysian star served an eight-month doping ban earlier this year.
Lee took home top prize money of US$52,500.
The women's singles final was won by China's reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui, who defeated world number one Saina Nehwal of India 21-12, 21-15.
Nehwal failed to match the speed and precision of her Chinese rival.