Lee Chong Wei cemented his position as the No. 1 shuttler in the world when he won the US$200,000 Yonex French Open on Sunday – his seventh title of the year and 39th of his career.
Using precision smashes and great defence, Chong Wei (right), denied Japan’s Kenichi Tago the opportunity to win his first OSIM BWF World Superseries title with a devastating 21-16, 21-11 victory in 39 minutes.
It was his eighth victory over Tago from as many matches and the second time Chong Wei has defeated the Japanese ace in a Superseries final, the first coming in last year’s All England tournament in Birmingham.
It was also belated birthday present for the Malaysian, who turned 29 on Oct 21. His victory in Paris means he has now won an incredible 20 Superseries titles from 48 such tournaments since 2007.
Chong Wei won three Superseries titles in 2007, twice more in 2008, four times in 2009, six in 2010 and so far in 2011, he has won in Malaysia, England, India, Indonesia and France, with two more OSIM BWF World Superseries events next month in Hong Kong and China.
His other two titles in 2011 came at the BWF Super Series Finals 2010 which was played in January and the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold in May. He also won his National Grand Prix title for the 10th consecutive time last month.
On Sunday, Tago tried to match Chong Wei’s aggression but found it difficult to crack his opponent’s defence. He managed to stay in the game until 12-12, only for Chong Wei to up the pace and win nine of the next 13 points.
Tago was the aggressor once again in the second game and took a 5-3 lead when once again, the world No. 1 found several extra gears in his arsenal to zoom ahead, winning 14 of the next 15 points, including nine straight unanswered winners to take a 17-6 lead.
Chong Wei then eased off the gas, allowing Tago to win another five points before he wrapped up the match.