'This one's for you, son'

World No 1 and top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia claimed his second India Open Super Series title in three years, beating Japanese sixth seed Kenichi Tago in the men’s singles final here at the Siri Fort Sports Complex yesterday.

Lee wasn’t in the best of form this time around but managed to do what was required to win.

Wei to go! Lee Chong Wei smashes against Kenichi Tago during their singles India Open final at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in New Delhi yesterday. PIC/AFP

Lee, who won here in 2011 and lost the final last year, won his 13th match 21-15, 18-21, 21-17 in as many meetings against the World No 9. This was only the third time Tago stretched Lee to the decider in 13 meetings.

Intanon beats Schenk
Meanwhile, it was heartbreak again for German second seed Juliane Schenk, who lost her sixth consecutive match in nine meetings to Thai third seed Ratchanok Intanon in the women’s singles final. Schenk had lost last year’s final too against Li Xuerui of China.

Ratchanok, who had reached Super Series finals twice before, in China Open and All England, won 22-20, 21-14 in 44 minutes to bag her first tier two event.

In the much awaited men’s final, Lee was in his elements in the first game, hitting impeccable body smashes which were impossible for the Japanese to retrieve.

Ratchanok Intanon with her medal

After a steady start, the World No 1 kept extending his lead using all-round court game tiring out Tago, who appeared out of focus and made several errors on his smashes.

However, in the second game, Tago took the fight to Lee, hitting accurate smashes down the line which caught the top seed off guard.

In the decider, both players started aggressively, displaying brilliant skill, keeping each other in range. But from 7-all, Lee took flight, hitting body smashes and went on to extend the lead to 16-9. Tago tried to fight back as he brought Lee’s lead down to 17-16 but Lee was all class after that, with three down-the-line smashes in the next three points, sealing the match in his favour.

“Last year, I lost the final but this time I am very happy I won and I dedicate this victory to my baby son. I am happy with my performance this week. Tago played very well and put up a good fight and made me lose the second game. I have won 13 times against him and I hope to continue that,” the two-time Olympic silver medallist told reporters. 

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