# Malaysian ace takes his head to head tally against Zhengming to 15-0
# Chong Wei to face defending champion Chou Tien Chen in the final
# Taiwanese stops Jan Jorgensen in the semis
Datuk Lee Chong Wei was in smashing form when he outplayed China’s former junior world champion Wang Zhengming in the men’s singles semi-finals in the USD275,000 Yonex French Open Superseries in Paris on Saturday.
In the final on Sunday the 33-year-old Malaysian needed only 36 minutes for his 21-7, 21-13 win and a place in the final against defending champion Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan.
It is Chong Wei’s first superseries final this year after suffering heartbreaks in his three previous outings – the Yonex Japan Open, the Viktor Korea Open and the Yonex Denmark Open.
The up and coming Taiwanese, seeded sixth was in a class of his own to pack off second seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark with a 21-11, 21-19 win in 38 minutes.
This is the first time Chong Wei, the former World No 1 and Tien Chen, currently ranked No 5, cross paths. Chong Wei has inched his way up to World No 19 after plunging to an all-time low 180 when he was sidelined for alleged doping.
Chong Wei was in complete control of his match against Zhengming although the Chinese did offer some resistance in the second set. The Malaysian won the first set in only 15 minutes with his sharp smashes and neat drop shots.
In the second set it was a point for point battle between the two but once Chong Wei took the break at 11-8 it was smoothly for the Malaysian – taking the set and match with mock return between his legs although the shuttle was going out.
A place in his first superseries final must have been pleasing but Chong Wei held back his celebrations – knowing that he cannot underrate Tien Chen, who is enjoying one of his best seasons this year.
His march into the final will see the Malaysians moving up a couple of places in the ranking list.
The title comes with a USD20,625 in prize money but that is the least of his concerns for Chong Wei. With his eyes set on the 2016 Rio Olympics, Chong Wei will be more than happy with the improvement he has shown in his comeback after a string of disappointments.
Since coming back to competitive badminton Chong Wei won back-to-back Grand Prix Gold titles – the USA Open and the Canadian Open. Paris could be the beginning of Chong Wei’s return.
SELECTED SEMI-FINAL RESULTS
Datuk Lee Chong Wei (Mas) beat Wang Zhengming (Chn) 21-7, 21-13
Chou Tien Chen (Tpe) beat Jan O Jorgensen (Den) 21-11, 21-19
Wang Shixian (Chn) beat Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) 21-13, 11-21, 21-19
Carolina Marin (Spn) beat Tai Tzu Ying (Tpe) 21-17, 21-17