China’s Chen Long struggled to advance to the semifinals. While the man himself was visibly frustrated after the match, Malaysian fans showered him with support throughout social media.
Once he took the lead at 11-10, Chen looked unstoppable and reeled off 16-of-20 points to claim the opening game before storming out of the blocks in the second to forge a six-point lead by the interval.
The top-seeded Long defeated Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand 21-17, 21-18 and will next face either seventh-seeded Viktor Axelsen of Denmark or 11th-seeded Prannoy Haseena Kumar of India. I was well prepared and did not drop a game throughout the tournament.
Going into the match, Saina was the heavy favourite but her opponent caught a very good start.
Lee has topped the world rankings for a record 298 weeks during a long and illustrious career but once again came up short against a Chinese player at the top of his game in a fourth world championship final defeat in as many matches.
“Today he played so well”, Lee, 32, said of his rival after the match.
The former world number one is unseeded for the fi rst time in years at this world championships, having just returned from an eight-month ban for doping.
The Spaniard burst into tears and collapsed on the court as Nehwal’s final shot sailed out, delivering Marin the title she was not sure she would ever defend.
It was only the second time a Chinese player had not featured in the women’s singles final since the Asian badminton powerhouse began competing at the world championships in 1983.
As for the men’s doubles, Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan beat South Korea’s Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong 21-17, 21-19 to set up a clash with China’s Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan; 21-16, 21-23, 22-20 victors against Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa.
It was a case of history repeating itself for the defending champion, who sustained an injury to the same ankle in last year’s world championships in Copenhagen, which she went on to win.
Top-ranked Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei retained their mixed doubles title, edging out Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin in an all-Chinese final.