By RAJES PAUL
One is consistent. The other is unpredictable.
And that makes for an intriguing and exciting time when two of the world’s greatest shuttlers – Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei and China’s Lin Dan – take to the courts in the Denmark Open, which begins in Odense today.
World No. 1 Chong Wei is ready to get back to winning ways after losing to Chen Long of China in the final of the Japan Open last month.
The 29-year-old Chong Wei had said after the defeat that he does not want to lose by less than 10 points any more.
Chong Wei lost 8-21, 21-10, 19-21 to Chen Long – the first time he had lost to a player other than Lin Dan.
“The Japan Open defeat was a good learning experience for me. I guess it’s good to lose once in a while as it keeps me on my toes,” said Chong Wei.
“The first game defeat to Chen Long was demoralising. I could not believe that I only got eight points. I will try not to let that happen again.”
Chong Wei’s mission now is to reach his 10th final of the year – and prove that he is the most consistent player this year.
“I have not missed a single final appearance and, hopefully, I can keep the record intact. It will be great if I can win it,” said Chong Wei, who marked his supremacy on the local scene by winning his 10th national title in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
While Chong Wei has been consistent, Lin Dan has been taking everyone for a ride – playing superbly in some tournaments and conceding walkovers in others.
Lin Dan has cited different injuries for conceding walkovers in matches against his team-mates at this year’s Malaysia Open quarter-finals (back injury, against Chen Long), Singapore Open final (stomach problem, against Chen Jin) and Japan Open semi-final (toe injury, against Chen Long).
In Denmark, Lin Dan may meet Chen Long in the semi-finals. It will be interesting to see what Lin Dan will do – concede a walkover or flex his muscles.
“It does not matter what Lin Dan does. China want more people to qualify for the Olympic Games. Some of the things done may seem unsportsmanlike. But I would rather focus on myself and next year’s Olympic Games,” said Chong Wei, who faces India’s P. Kashyap today.
The other players in Chong Wei’s half are Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat; China’s Chen Jin and Wang Zhengming; and Denmark’s Peter-Gade Christensen, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Viktor Axelsen.
Second seed Lin Dan and Chen Long are in the lower half with compatriot Du Pengyu, Japan’s Sho Sasaki and Indonesia’s Simon Santoso.
Courtesy of The Star