SINGAPORE: Unseeded Indonesian Simon Santoso pulled off a major shock when he thrashed badminton’s world number one Lee Chong Wei to win the Singapore Open for the first time yesterday.
The 28-year-old, considered a rank outsider against Malaysia’s imperious Lee, upset the form book in style with an emphatic 21-15, 21-10 victory in just 48 minutes in the Singapore final.
Santoso reeled off nine straight points to stifle Lee’s second-game revival and take the match, dropping his racquet to the court and raising his arms in celebration in front of a bemused crowd.
The third Superseries tournament win for the 52nd-ranked Santoso cements a stirring comeback by the former world number three, who dropped out of the top 100 last year following back problems.
“I am really satisfied with my performance especially after beating one of the best players, Lee Chong Wei, in the final. I am really happy and proud,” Santoso said.
“I am really happy (because) it’s been a while since I beat Chong Wei and also because I fought hard from the qualification rounds here in Singapore.”
It was only Santoso’s second win in 11 matches against the All-England champion, who had lost just once this year. But Lee, 31, downplayed the loss, saying it was “only the Singapore Open”.
“This is just a Superseries, there are still many other important tournaments. I just take care not to get an injury at the competition,” the 33-time Superseries tournament winner told reporters.
“I just tried and just enjoy for Singapore and not go so hard,” Lee said.
Earlier, Olympic champion Li Xuerui refused to speak to media after she lost the women’s final to her Chinese team-mate and arch-rival Wang Yihan for the second year in a row.
Wang, upset by Li in the 2012 Olympic final, won 21-11, 21-19 -- aided by two critical net points -- after trailing the top seed for most of the second game.
“I feel that both of us performed to the best of our abilities but at one point I was trailing behind Li and on this part I did better as I managed to make a comeback,” Wang said.
“I feel that I was quite lucky and I think those two points affected (Li).”
China’s Bao Yixin and Tang Jinhua, beneficiaries of a walkover in the semis, upset Danish top seeds Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl 14-21, 21-19, 21-15 in a marathon, 71-minute women’s doubles final. In the men’s doubles, China’s Cai Yun and Lu Kai beat Taiwan’s Lee Sheng-mu and Tsai Chia-hsin 21-19, 21-14.
And Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir comfortably defended their mixed doubles title with a 21-15, 22-20 win over fellow Indonesians Riky Widianto and Puspita Richi Dili. AFP