Datuk Lee Chong Wei is on the verge of giving Malaysia a perfect 57th Merdeka present – to win the elusive world title – when he demolished home favourite Viktor Axelsen in the semi-finals with a 21-9, 21-7 win only 33 minutes at the Ballerup Super Arena in Copenhagen on Saturday.
The 31-year-old World No 1 from Penang will meet either second seed Che Long of China or Indonesia’s fifth seed Tommy Sugiarto, who play their semi-final match later tonight.
“I hope I can give my country a big Merdeka present. It does not matter who I play in the final. There is some pressure but I will give my best…my very best,” said Chong Wei after his victory.
In the same breath Chong Wei added that he is focused on the final, whether it is against Chen Long or Tommy. I have come this far and I am ready to break the jinx.
It was a slow start for Chong Wei when the lanky Dane, a former junior world champion, grabbed the first two points. But once Chong Wei into gear it was smooth sailing for the Malaysian badminton king who has yet to win the title despite entering the final twice before – in Wembley (2011) and in Guangzhou last year.
This was Chong Wei’s sixth meeting with Axelsen and he had little difficulty in stretching his head to head count to 6-0.
“I am disappointed with my defeat to Chong Wei. I gave my best but Chong Wei is in a clsss of his own,” said Axelsen, 20, on his sixth defeat to the Malaysian. Chong Wei’s last win over the Dane before today’s semi-final was also achieved in Denmark during the Yonex Denmark Open last year.
Datuk Lee Chong Wei (Mas) beat Viktor Axelsen (Den) 21-9, 21-7
Ko Sung Hyun-Shin Baek Choel (Kor) w/o Lim Ki Jung-Kim Sa Rang (Kor)
Li Xuerui (Chn) beat Minatsu Mitani (Jpn) 21-8, 21-14
Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) beat Lee So Hee-Shin Seung Chan (Kor) 21-13, 21-10
Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang (Chn) beat Reika Kakiiwa-Miyuki Maeda (Jpn) 21-8, 21-13