A safety-first approach paid off handsomely for world number one Lee Chong Wei when the Malaysian downed old foe Lin Dan of China 21-17 21-17 to retain his All England badminton title on Sunday.
Third seed Lin was seeking a fifth success at the prestigious tournament but Chong Wei had too much in the locker.
The pair are the outstanding duo of the last decade but Lin has generally outperformed his rival at global level and the head-to-head before Sunday stood at 15-7 to the Chinese.
Chong Wei, cheered to the rafters by a sizeable Malaysian contingent in the crowd, emerged top dog this time to claim his second All England crown.
“It’s very satisfying,” the winner told reporters. “I played safe this time, from point to point.”
For the second year running Chong Wei fielded a call from Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
“He said, ‘good job’. It’s midnight in Malaysia but he always seems to support me,” said the top seed.
The 28-year-old is now looking forward to the world championships at Wembley in August. “I hope all my supporters can be in London and help me there,” he added.
After an even start the Malaysian stretched into a 15-10 lead in the first game when Lin looked unsettled by a line call.
Amid rallies of the highest quality, Chong Wei led 16-13 in the second and battled on grittily to land the spoils, falling on his knees at the end in delight and relief.
It was sweet revenge after he lost in the final to Lin in 2009 when the Chinese claimed his fourth All England title.
Lin, Olympic gold medallist and former world champion, said: “Things didn’t work for me quite as well as I hoped. I was making more errors than usual.”
China still emerged from the tournament with three of the five titles after successes in the women’s singles and doubles and the mixed doubles.
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