It was a first for South Korean veteran Son Wan-ho in Malaysia while Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon added another feather in her cap in the singles finals in the Perodua Malaysia Masters at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.
The 30-year-old Wan-ho, seeded fourth, won his first title on Malaysian soil when he defeated China’s reigning Olympic champion Chen Long 21-17, 21-19 in a 55-minute the men’s singles final. He pocketed USD26,250 in prize money while the loser settled for USD13,300.
“I am very happy to win my first title in Malaysia. More importantly it is good start for the year as I look towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” said a delighted Wan-ho after his win.
“My strategies worked against Chen Long,”
Chen Long went into the final winning 11 of their 15 previous meetings but Wan-ho who had an easy passage into the final after getting walkover from Malaysian professional Liew Daren in the semi-finals.
Two-time world champion and winner of the Rio Olympics gold Chen Long defeated defending champion Viktor Axelsen 21-13, 21-18 in his semi-final match.
For Ratchanok, the head-to-head count now stands 6-3 in her favor against Spain’s Carolina Marin when she dumped the Olympic champion in straight games with a 21-9, 22-20 in 41 minutes.
With the win Ratchanok ended any hopes of a European nation winning a title in the Malaysia Masters.
After easily taking the first game at 21-9 in 15 minutes Ratchanok gave away a 19-14 lead in the second and allowed the Spaniard to draw level at 20-20 but checked the slide to wrap up the match at 22-20 in 26 minutes. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH