TOKYO • Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei won his sixth Yonex Open Japan badminton title, defeating third seed Jan Jorgensen of Denmark in the final yesterday.
Lee, a silver medallist in the last three Olympics, triumphed 21-18, 15-21, 21-16. It was his 17th win in 18 meetings over the Dane - the only loss was in the first round of the China Open in 2009.
The 33-year-old world No. 1 had sailed through the men's singles at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium without losing a game. But he had a tougher time in the final, with Jorgensen taking the second game.
The pumped-up Dane came close to ending his seven-year winless streak against the Malaysian but he blew it in the decider.
He did not take his chances well when he was trailing 16-17 in a tense rubber game.
While Jorgensen made several costly mistakes, Lee stayed solid and steady in the crucial stages to break the heart of the Dane once again and continue his domination in Japan.
This was the Malaysian's 44th Superseries title and 65th in total.
Men's singles coach Hendrawan attributed the success to Lee's quick decision-making on court. "Coming into the final, we knew Jorgensen was going to be tough. He gave Chong Wei a tough time at the Indonesia Open in May," the Indonesian told the New Straits Times.
"And we were right, Jorgensen was indeed very strong at the net. It was then that Chong Wei decided to reduce play at the net and started going long."
Lee pocketed US$22,500 (S$30,600), while Jorgensen earned US$11,400.
Lee also won the Japan Open in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010 and 2007.
He had recently hinted at extending his career to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for another shot at an elusive badminton gold, despite earlier indicating that the Rio Games would be his last.
But it was not all bad news for Denmark. Their top women's doubles pair of Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl - silver medallists in Rio - had their revenge on gold-winning Japanese rivals Misaki Matsumoto and Ayaka Takahashi, winning 19-21, 21-18, 21-12.
He Bingjiao of China won the women's singles after beating compatriot Sun Yu 21-14, 7-21, 21-18.
Sun had silenced Japanese fans in the semi-finals after crushing the 12th-ranked Akane Yamaguchi.
In men's doubles, Chinese pair Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen overwhelmed South Koreans Kim Gi Jung and Ko Sung Hyun 21-12, 21-12.