Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lee Chong Wei angered by timings as China draw controversy

Lee Chong Wei, the defending champion, stomped out of the National Indoor Arena on Thursday and side-stepped journalists after being given little notice of his second round match at the All England Open championships.  

Chong Wei, who ended Chinese dominance in the men's singles in 2010, was given a 10 a.m start time against China's Bao Chunlai, the only hitch being that he was still at his hotel with barely an hour to go before the clash. 

Chong Wei looked very bit the defending champion on court though. He put any grievances behind him and out-smarted the dangerous Bao 21-16, 21-16.

Bao was forced into a number of mind games with the officials, including sweat on the court and constant shuttle changes, which proved his undoing in the end.

Chong Wei avoided the media after telling reporters he would return for post-match interviews following physiotherapy.

An All England spokesperson said: "In the circumstances we quite understand why he was not able to fulfill his obligations. But we will be reminding him what is necessary to do to help the tournament." 

Lee's movement, even without proper warming up, was excellent. So was the variety with which he took the attack to Bao, a hard-to-read left-hander whose switches of direction and angle were hard to read.

Lee looked an even more complete player than while winning the All-England title for the first time last year, putting the shuttle emphatically on the floor when Bao lifted and cleared short, and tremendously quick in the mid-court exchanges.

His biggest moment of danger was when Bao reduced a six point deficit to two at 16-18 in the first game, at which stage the Chinese player failed to get a tumbling net shot over, and followed it with a service return into the net.

Bao also closed the deficit late in the second game, but his performance confirmed the impression of last year, that he has the talent to succeed at the highest level but that here there may have been a slight failure of temperament.
Meanwhile, there were some sceptical glances at the draw this morning after two notable withdrawals in the women's singles. 
Wang Shixian, China's top seed, was given a walk-over by her team-mate Liu Xin, who complained of a fungal big toe.

Then Wang Xin, the world runner-up and No 3 seed here, was also allowed to pass into the third round after her opponent complained of a back injury.

This time her opponent was Li Xuerui, who is ranked seven places below her colleague, and in this instance the ailment was described as a bad back.