Badminton Life

Sony Ruins Lee Chong Wei's Japan Title Hopes

Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei is still looking for his first title as world number one.

Olympic silver medallist Lee is enjoying his third stint as the world's top-ranked player. And he was hoping the Japan Open, where he was defending champion, would provide the stage for his first tournament victory as number one.

However, Indonesia's Sony Dwi Kuncoro, beaten by the Malaysian in August's Olympics quarter-finals, had other ideas.

Sony romped to a 21-17, 21-11 victory in the Tokyo final to avenge his Olympic defeat and leave Lee struggling to keep up.

Sony, who won his second Super Series title, was quoted as saying: "I feel happy to show that I am no less capable than Chong Wei.

"It hasn't been easy since I lost in Beijing. I was really devastated but came back with three weeks of training, hoping to beat Chong Wei again," added 24-year-old Sony, who won a bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

"Now I can continue with badminton in a positive way."

Lee blamed his exhausting schedule since winning the silver medal in Beijing for his final defeat.

The Malaysian was forced to attend numerous post-Olympic functions after returning form Beijing, which hampered his training schedule.

Lee was beaten in the Beijing men's singles final by China's Lin Dan.

"I was so tired that I was outpaced and outdone by Sony's rhythm. I made one mistake after another," said Lee. "I want to rest up and readjust myself before deciding when I will play next."

The women's singles title was won by China's rising star, Wang Yihan. She defeated Hong Kong's Zhou Mi 21-19, 17-21, 21-15 for her first major international title.

Zhou, who represented China at the 2004 Olympics, beat China's Olympic bronze medallist Lu Lan in the semi-finals but ran out of steam against Wang in the final.

Wang found herself behind in each game but show great resilience in the first and third games to come back and win them.

"After I was being led, I carefully played the shuttle each time," said 20-year-old Wang, the world university champion. "I gave all I had without doubts in my mind."

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