Badminton Life

Lee Chong Wei Triumphs In Masters Finals

Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei finally ended a barren run while holding the men's singles world number one ranking when he triumphed in the season-ending BWF World Super Series Masters Finals in Kota Kinabalu.

Lee is enjoying his third stint as world number one, regaining the summit in September. However, he has always been dogged by talk that he is mentally unable to wear the crown.

This reputation was given more credence by his inability to win tournaments while being ranked number one, especially with his main rival Lin Dan, of China, missing from most of the events.

But Lee ended his bad run by beating Denmark's surprise finalist Peter Gade-Christensen 21-8, 21-16 to win the US$40,000 first prize.

It was his second victory over the Dane during the week as he had won in straight games during an earlier group encounter.

Lee said the victory came at a good time as he was preparing to make a challenge for next year's All England men's singles title.

"My target next year is the All England and the World championships," he said. "I will compete in the Malaysian Open next month but I will skip the Korean Open to give myself two months to prepare for the two important tournaments."

Gade-Christensen, a former world number one, said he was unable to cope with Lee's pace and power and gave full credit to his opponent.

"At present Lee and Lin Dan are the two best players in the world and in a class of their own," he said.

Olympic champion Lin and the rest of the Chinese squad pulled out of the tournament to focus on a training camp. The Chinese team also said they were tired after a long season.

Lee had finished on top of his Group A preliminary pool by beating Gade-Christensen 21-19, 21-17, compatriot Wong Choong Hann 21-14, 21-13 and Hong Kong's Chan Yan-kit 21-13, 20-22, 21-8.

That gave him a semi-final against Indonesia's 2004 Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat, who finished second in Group B. Lee won 21-5, 21-10 to set up his final against Gade-Christensen.

The Dane advanced to the final after a stunning 21-10, 21-10 victory over Indonesia's second seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the semi-finals.

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