Badminton World Federation (BWF)

Losing at the worlds still bothers me, says Malaysian ace Lee Chong Wei

The former world No 1 is safely through to the second round at the Hong Kong Open but holds bad memories of his poor campaign in Glasgow in August

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 10:27pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 10:56pm

Former world number one Lee Chong Wei says he’s still feeling the pain of his disastrous World Championships campaign this year in Glasgow, where he was dumped out in the first round.

The Malaysian ace recorded his worst-ever result at the worlds in the Glasgow tournament in August after losing to Brice Leverdez of France in his opener. Lee was opening up on his disappointment of not being able to win a badminton “major” yet again after playing second fiddle to his great rival, Lin Dan, of China in recent years.

So far Lee has failed to lift a world title and the Olympic gold medal has proved beyond him, winning three silvers on the trot at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

“I still find it hard to overcome this disappointment [at the worlds],” said Lee, who negotiated his first-round match successfully at the Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open on Wednesday.

Lee showed flashes of brilliance again in thrashing China’s Tian Houwei 21-9, 21-7 but it hasn’t been a good year for the 35-year-old Malaysian, who suffered a surprise quarter-final defeat to Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka-long at last week’s China Open in Shanghai among other notable losses in 2017.

“It’s normal losing a match. Ng played very well in China while I am still struggling to regain my best form. Ng has made a lot of progress after I last played him in Dubai. I am 35 and I’m facing a lot of challenges from the younger players. It’s not easy.”

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After losing to Leverdez at the worlds, Lee has experienced many ups and downs. He reached the final of the Japan Open but was eliminated in the first round of the French Open and then the second round of the Denmark Open. Last week, he suffered his first defeat against Ng in six encounters.

His recent inconsistent performances have alarmed even Lin Dan, who said Lee has been losing “many times this year” but the Chinese great will be tested himself when he takes on Ng in Thursday’s second round.

Ng defeated Lin Dan at the Hong Kong Open in 2015 and is looking for a repeat of that victory but the Hong Kong ace said it won’t be easy.

“Lin Dan may not be at his best but he’s still a quality player who cannot be underestimated,” said Ng after cruising into the second round after thrashing Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan 21-10, 21-13.

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Other home players Vincent Wong Wing-ki and Wei Nan also reached the second round of men’s singles.

In the women’s singles, home favourite Yip Pui-yin overcame her first-round hurdle, thanks to the advice of her former head coach Chan Chi-choi. Now 30, the 2006 Asian Games silver medallist Yip also suffered a lot of early round defeats recently.

“I always want to give my best in all my matches but my former coach said this is not good enough,” said Yip, who beat Lee Jang-mi of South Korea 14-21, 21-15, 21-15, “He said I had to have the proper mind set of beating my opponents every time I play on court and it worked today.

Angus Ng Ka-long wins Hong Kong Open – first home champion in the tournament’s 34-year history

“Lee [Jang-mi] is a good player. She beat Olympic champion Carolina Marin last month and it was not easy playing her, especially in the third game when my legs were starting to get sore. I was able to hang in there and get the job done.”

Yip faces another battle in the second round with another South Korean standing in her way, the number three seed Sung Ji-hyun.