SINGAPORE - Simon Santoso's road to the final of the OUE Singapore Open has often felt as long as his fight back from injury.
The Indonesian yesterday belied his world No. 52 ranking and status as a qualifier to upset China's Du Pengyu 16-21, 21-17, 21-17, booking a showdown with Lee Chong Wei today.
Du, the world No. 7, was the second-highest seed in the draw. World No. 1 Lee, the top seed, beat India's K. Srikanth 21-19, 21-18.
"It's been a tough journey coming back," said two-time SEA Games champion Santoso, who has struggled with illness and injuries to his thigh and back in recent years.
"Du is a very agile player and I knew it wasn't going to be easy to beat him. I had to play a very patient game."
Santoso's previous ailments had seen the former world No. 3's ranking nosedive to outside the top 100.
But Santoso, fresh from winning last month's Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold, is now riding high in both confidence and form.
So much that even this repeat of the 2008 final - which Lee won 21-13, 21-5 - fails to intimidate the Indonesian, who has only beaten the Malaysian once in 10 meetings
He said: "It's going to be a good chance for me to measure how well I can perform against Chong Wei, to see the level that I'm at now compared to him."
Lee, meanwhile, admitted that he was tested for the first time in the week-long tournament yesterday.
"I think it's a good thing that it was a tougher for me," said the two-time Olympic silver medallist.