Badminton Life

Taufik Returns to Winning Ways

Don't write off Indonesian veteran player Taufik Hidayat. That was the message from the former world and Olympic champion after he swept to victory at the Macau Open.

Although it is only a Grand Prix event - and not part of the Super Series circuit - the Macau Open did boast a strong field, including world number one men's singles player Lee Chong Wei, of Malaysia.

And that is who Taufik defeated in the final to revive what has been a dour time for the bad boy of Indonesian badminton.

The 2004 Olympic champion and 2005 world champion appeared to be heading towards the twilight of his career, having failed to make an impact this year, including losing in the early rounds of the Beijing Olympics.

He also saw his ranking drop to 10th in the world. However, he needed only 38 minutes to beat Lee in the final, 21-19, 21-15 to win his first title of the season.

His last tournament victory was the 2007 Asian Championship. It was also revenge for last year's Macau final, when it was Lee who prevailed.

"The key was to win the first game. Then in the second game, I felt less pressure to play my best," Taufik was quoted as saying by Indonesian media.

For top seed Lee, it was another disappointing outing in an international tournament as world number one. The Malaysian took the top ranking from China's Olympic champion Lin Dan less than two months ago.

However, in three stints as the world's top player, he has yet to win a title. Last month, he was beaten in the final of the Japan Open by Indonesia's Sony Dwi Kuncoro, who prevented Lee from defending his title in Tokyo.

Lee, who lost to Lin in the Beijing Games final, has won two tournaments this year, in Malaysia and Singapore.

Despite two strong performances in reaching the finals in Japan and Macau, the 25-year-old will not be happy with his inability to close out a tournament.

He now trails Taufik 5-4 in head-to-head confrontations, having beaten the Indonesian in their three prior meetings before the Macau Open final.

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