Chen Long crushes Hu Yun in Li Ning China Masters final
Mainlander is seen as new dominating force, as straight-sets win in final dashes HK hopes
Mainlander Chen Long was hailed as the heir apparent to the current king of badminton, compatriot Lin Dan, after his straight-sets victory over Hong Kong's Hu Yun in the Li Ning China Masters final yesterday.
The London Olympic Games bronze medallist's crushing 21-11, 21-13 win dashed Hong Kong's hopes of seeing one of their players become the first to claim a men's Super Series event title.
Hu, a China national team member before moving to Hong Kong in 2006, had little complaint after being outclassed by the 23-year-old top seed.
"It won't surprise me if Chen becomes the new king of men's badminton," said China coach Li Yongbo. "He has the quality and his next step will be competing against Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei for major titles. In fact, the era of Lin, Lee, Peter Gade and Taufik Hidayat as the 'big four' in the sport will soon come to an end and Chen will be the key challenger to take over."
London Olympic gold medallist Lin, who will marry his long-time girlfriend Xie Xingfang on Sunday, has rejected speculation he would retire from the sport, while Malaysian Lee has said he would continue to play at least until the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Hu, who achieved the best Super Series event result of any Hong Kong men's player, agreed Chen was the dominating force of the future.
"He is the best player outside the top four and it's a matter of time before Chen replaces them," said Hu. "Although I sustained a minor back injury after the semi-finals which affected my performance today, I could not match his pace and Chen deserves the title."
Chen, who as winner collected US$30,000, said: "I am still not as good as both Lin and Lee, but my target is to replace them as the world's top player and I hope to accomplish it soon."
China, meanwhile, made a clean sweep of all five titles at the US$400,000 tournament.
Top seed Wang Yihang beat compatriot Jiang Yanjiao 21-18, 21-14 in the women's singles final, while Bao Yixin and Zhong Qianxin beat teammates Cheng Shu and Luo Yu 21-12, 21-15 in the women's doubles. In the mixed doubles, top seed Xu Chen and Ma Jin overcame Qiu Zihan and Tang Jinhua 14-21, 21-11, 21-10. Men's doubles duo Chai Biao and Zhang Nan completed the sweep by beating Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa of Japan 21-18, 21-17.