New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) 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 Sunday.
Lee wasn’t in the best of form this time around but managed to do what was required to win.
Lee, who won here in 2011 and lost the final last year, won his 13th consecutive 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.
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.
Indonesian top seeds Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir beat South Korea’s Sung Hyun Ko and Ha Na Kim in the mixed doubles. The World No.2 Indonesians won 21-16, 21-13 here at the Siri Fort Sports Complex to clinch the title.
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.
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.
At one point in the game, the sixth seed took an eight-point lead (12-4) over the World No.1 but Lee tried fighting back. Tago showed mettle and used all his experience to take Lee into the decider for the first time since 2011 Japan Open.
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.
Final results (in order of play):
Mixed doubles: 1-Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir (INA) bt Sung Hyun Ko/Ha Na Kim (KOR) 21-16, 21-13.
Women’s doubles: 4-Miyuki Maeda/Satoko Suetsuna bt 2-Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl (DEN) 12-21, 23-21, 21-18.
Women’s singles: 3-Ratchanok Intanon (THA) bt 2-Juliane Schenk (GER) 22-20, 21-14.
Men’s singles: 1-Lee Chong Wei (MAS) bt 6-Kenichi Tago (JAP) 21-15, 18-21, 21-17.
Men’s doubles: 8-Xiaolong Liu/Zihan Qiu (CHN) bt 3-Sung Hyun Ko/Yong Dae Lee (KOR) 22-20, 21-18