Badminton: Lee may not defend title

Badminton: Lee may not defend title

Lee Chong Wei produced one of his finest performances, despite an ankle problem, to regain the All-England Open title by beating Chen Long in straight sets in Birmingham on Sunday.

The world No. 1 from Malaysia beat the defending champion from China 21-13, 21-18 - gaining revenge for his loss to Chen in the final last year - for his third All-England trophy and then admitted that he may not be back to try and win a fourth title.

The variety of Lee's game was often mesmerising, and his focus was steely enough to resist determined fightbacks by Chen in the second set from 4-10 to 9-10 and from 13-18 to 17-18 and to within the width of the net tape of getting to 18-all.

Lee, however, said he may not defend his All-England title next year - not because he is retiring, but because this tournament has underlined that preserving his body for another Olympic bid has become increasingly problematic.

"I didn't know how well I would be able to play, but I feel very happy with what I did," Lee said.

"I had this injury before I came here and I just relaxed because I think it may be my last time.

"I think I did my best. Now I want to go home and talk with my coach (Rashid Sidek, a former All-England finalist) and go back to doing some rehab."

Chen was gracious in defeat.

"He played some amazing points," said Chen. "I can accept losing today."

Earlier, China won the women's singles title when Wang Shixian, the fourth-seeded former All-England champion, beat Li Xuerui, the top-seeded Olympic champion, 21-19, 21-18.

It was a match which never caught fire, although Wang did enough to suggest she possesses a wider range of strokes and tactics than when she won the title three years ago.

Li, who sometimes walked gingerly as if she was not in the best shape, led 19-17 in the first game and 14-13 in the second, but could not press her slight advantages home.

"It wasn't too difficult playing a colleague because these days, it happens in finals a lot," said Wang.

"I hope we will win more matches as a team."

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