Mar 11, 2014

    Lee's sizzling All England victory may be his last


    LEE Chong Wei appears to have saved his best for last.

    The Malaysian produced one of his finest performances in claiming the All England Open title for the third time, and then hinted that it could be his last appearance in one of badminton's most fabled tournaments.

    After avenging his loss in the final to China's Chen Long last year with a 21-13, 21-18 victory on Sunday, the world No. 1 said: "I think, maybe, this is my last All England. I'm very happy and I tried my best, because Chen Long is a very tough match for me.

    "I've lost to him (Chen) many times so I think, for this reason, I made sure I tried very hard. I've finished for this year and I don't know if I will be back next year."

    The variety of the 31-year-old Malaysian's game was often mesmerising, and his focus was steely enough to resist determined second-game fight-backs by Chen from 4-10 to 9-10 and from 13-18 to 17-18, and to within the width of the net tape of getting to 18-all.

    Lee admitted that preserving his body for another Olympic bid has become increasingly problematic. "I didn't know how well I would be able to play, but I feel very happy with what I did," he said, referring to an ankle problem that had flared up during the tournament.

    While Chen went home empty-handed, there was joy for his girlfriend, the fourth-seeded former All-England champion Wang Shixian, after she beat top seed and Olympic champion Li Xuerui 21-19, 21-18 to capture the women's title.

    Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli showed they had come a long way since being expelled from the 2012 Olympics for throwing matches, as they saved a match point before beating Ma Jin and Tang Yuanting 21-17, 18-21, 23-21 in the all-Chinese women's doubles final to retain their crown.

    Indonesia regained the men's doubles title when top seeds Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan beat Japan's Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa 21-19, 21-19.

    China's top-seeded mixed doubles pair of Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei were beaten 21-13, 21-17 by Tontowi Ahmad and Lilyana Natsir, the Indonesian title holders. It left China with just two titles, its smallest All England haul in six years.