By Rizal Abdullah
Hours after his latest defeat to his arch-rival Lin Dan – this time in the Wuhan – City of Automobile Badminton Championships in Wuhan – Malaysia’s world No 1 Datuk Lee Chong Wei headed for home – in the mood to celebrate his wife’s Datin Wong Mew Choo’s birthday on Monday (May 1).
Chong Wei, the defending champion fell to a 13-21, 15-21 defeat to Lin Dan in the men’s singles semi-finals at the Wuhan Sports Center Gymnasium on Saturday. Earlier this month the Malaysian ace was beaten 19-21, 14-21 by Lin Dan in the Malaysia Open final in Kuching.
“I must admit that I did not play that well against Lin Dan (in Wuhan)…but I am not too upset. Just look at me, I am still able to smile and laugh. There is always another time another place,” said Chong Wei after the match.
Chong Wei was the defending Asia champion. He beat China’s Chen Long in the final last year. He won his first title in 2006.
Lin Dan is a four-time Asia champion and won in 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015.
If one that pleased Chong Wei is the massive support he has from his fans and supporters in Wuhan. The packed stadium cheered the Malaysian. His huge fan base in China is not surprising as he is a “role model” to many of them.
To a question if he will return to Wuhan, which is “home” to the Badminton Asia Championships until 2020, Chong Wei, who has no plans to quit the sport just yet, said:
“Possibly. Will see how things go. I have not ruled out yet.”
After his defeat on Saturday the Malaysian wasted no time to change his return flight to midnite Saturday. 
“At least I have more time to plan my time to celebrate my wife’s birthday. I can now go a look for a nice birthday present for her,” said Chong Wei with a big smile after posing for pictures with his fans who had come to the hotel (New World Wuhan Hotel) where he stayed to bid him farewell. 
Chong Wei was very obliging and even signed autographs on T-shirts even before entering the car.
Lin Dan, who also has his own band of supporters in his country, will face Rio Olympics and World champion Chen Long in the final on Sunday.
The second seeded Chen Long, however, will have a tough time against the fourth seeded Lin Dan, a five-time world champion and two-time Olympics champion.In the semi-finals Chen Long won his 46-minute battle against compatriot Shi Yuqi 21-19, 21-15.
Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying, the top seed and world No 1 is on a hot streak and will be gunning for his sixth title in a row since November last year when she won the Hong Kong Open. This was followed by the BWF World Superseries Finals in Dubai.
This year Tzu Ying started her campaign on a bright note and won the prestigious All-England in March. She skipped the India Open but won the Malaysia and Singapore Open in successive weeks.
The Taiwanese will face Akane Yamaguchi of Japan for the coveted title. Tzu Ying was hardly stretched as she strolled to an easy 21-18, 21-16 win against Korean qualifier Lee Jang-mi.
Yamaguchi broke the hearts of the home supporters when she put China’s last hope in the women’s singles He Bingjiao out of the tournament – with a  21-15, 21-19 win in a 43 minutes for a place in the final.
China are assured of the men’s doubles title with sixth seeds Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen facing compatriots Huang Kaixiang-Wang Yilyu in the final.
Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen battled a one hour three-set thriller to down fourth seeds Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda of Japan 21-15, 13-21, 21-18. The unseeded Huang Kaixiang-Wang Yilyu stunned their third seeded compatriots Chai Biao-Hong Wei 21-16, 21-19 in only 30 minutes.
Rio Olympics champions Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi stormed to the final with the top seeds notching a crushing 21-14, 21-10 win over Korean third seeds Chang Ye-na-Lee So-hee. 
In the final they are up against Korea’s Kim Hye-rin-Yoo Hae-won – 21-16, 21-19 winners over China’s Huang Dongpin-Li Yinhui. 
Thailand’s fast improving pair of Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai continued their fine run in Wuhan to reach the mixed doubles final. The No 8 seeds stormed to a 21-9, 21-16 win over China’s Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping .
In the final they will face China’s third seeds Lu Kai-Huang Yaqqiong who ended Hong Kong’s Reginald Lee Chun Hei-Chau Hoi Wah run with a 21-10, 21-19 win in a 38-minute affair.

Men’s Singles
Lin Dan (Chn) beat Lee Chong Wei (Mas) 21-13, 21-15
Chen Long (Chn) beat Shi Yuqi (Chn) 21-19, 21-15
Men’s Doubles
Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (Chn) beat Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (Jpn) 21-15, 13-21, 21-18 
Huang Kaixiang-Wang Yilyu (Chn) beat Chai Biao-Hong Wei (Chn) 21-16, 21-19 
Women’s Singles
Tai Tzu Ying (Tpe) beat Lee Jang-mi (Kor) 21-8, 21-16
Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn) beat He Bingjiao (Chn) 21-15, 21-19
Women’s Doubles
Kim Hye Rin-Yoo Hae-won (Kor) beat Huang Dongping-Li Yinhui (Chn) 21-16, 21-19
Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (Jpn) beat Chang Ye-na-Lee So-hee (Kor) 21-14, 21-12
Mixed Doubles
Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) beat Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (Chn) 21-19, 21-16
Lu Kai-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) beat Reginald Lee Chun Hei-Chau Hoi Wah (Hkg) 21-10, 21-19
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