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LONDON: Datuk Lee Chong Wei has ensured that Malaysia returns home with a medal after he stormed into the final of the men’s badminton singles with a convincing 21-13, 21-14 win over China’s Chen Long at the Wembley Arena.
He will meet China's Lin Dan on Sunday. The top Chinese shuttler easily beat South Korea's Lee Hyun Il 21-12, 21-10 in the other semi-final.
Chong Wei won the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 when he lost in the final to Lin Dan.
Then Chong Wei was the world number one while the Chinese at number two. This time the role is reversed with the Chinese having taken over as the number one in June.
His silver in Beijing was the only medal won by Malaysia in the 2008 Games.
With the silver medal in the bag, Chong Wei said that his aim is the gold.
“I treated tonight’s match as my last and went all out. I did not want to play for the bronze.
“My performance was a surprise to me too as I was able to stay in control and the match strategy worked well.
“I want to go for the gold medal. I have nothing to lose and I do not feel there is much pressure on me. I had promised to make the final and I have delivered.
“To the Malaysians I make this promise – I will do my very best to win that gold. Nothing else matters,” he said.
Chong Wei admitted that this was his best game in London and felt that all the hard work since coming back from an ankle injury was worth it.
“I always had the thought that my Olympic dream would be dashed at any time after the injury. But it is great to be back at my best. And even then I am only 50% of my old self.
“It does not matter who I play in the final. I want to win it. Chen Long was also under pressure to stop me and that is why his game suffered a little.
“But more importantly we knew what to do and I had worked it out with my coaches,” he said.
Chong Wei was in his element in the first set as he took control of the match from the first point. He stormed to a 6-0 lead before Chen Long took a point off him.
From then on Chong Wei build on his lead and to go 11-5 and 19-10. He allowed Chen Long to take two more points off him at 19-13.
A leaping smash by Chong Wei gave him the set point. And another Chen Long blunder at the baseline gave the Malaysian first set at 21-13 in 23 minutes.
Chong Wei used his drop shot and base line to good effect and was helped by the mistakes from Chen Long
In the second set Chong Wei again started off leading and was 6-3 when the Chinese caught up with him.
Chong Wei then reeled off three points to keep his lead and soon moved to 10-7.
From then it was a game of chase as Chong Wei was forced to work hard to keep ahead of Chen Long.
Chong Wei extended his career wining record over Chen Long to 7-4 and then never looked back as he winning 28 eight minutes in 21-14.