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Commented by Badmintonmap
All England Badminton Open is the only badminton tournament has a history more than 100 years. Before Badminton became an Olympic game and World Champion Game was introduced, AEO was long deemed as the Mt. Everest for badminton players. Even today, when some tournament pays much higher than AEO, it is still widely accepted as one of the only three games where a laureate can claim a 'World Champion', along with Olympic Game and World Champion Game.
This game between LIN and LEE has been long waited by most badminton fan around the globe.
LIN and LEE are widely deemed as the only two best men's single players today. On the one side, LIN Dan has won 4 All England title along side with any championship he can ever play for, including Olympic, World Champion, Aisan Champion, etc. On the other side, LEE Chong Wei has long been ranked as No. 1 by WBF, but he has won only one majoy title so far: the 100th AEO Men's Single Champion. Will LEE defend his title? Or LIN will won his 5th AEO title? All badminton fans have the same question.
I never gamble against badminton game. But if I ever did, I would have bet on LIN. Even thouhg LEE is the only player today who can give LIN a serious challenge, LIN has won majority of the games among two. He defeated LEE in Korean Open not long ago. However, the result of this game is a bit surprise to me. I have to say, this is a positive surprise: LIN's dominance on Men's single now seems seriously being challenged.
For so many games I watched between these two greatest players today, I have to say LEE has better defense and net play. But on the offsense side, LEE is always short of those lighting-strike like attack that can win the point against LIN. On the contrary, LIN's explosive smash normally helped him excel with narrow margin.
I am very happy to see that LEE finally improve the explosiveness of his attack while still maintaining his strength at defense and net play. LEE use to be too patient to wait for a better opportunity to smash when he play with LIN. This time, he plays much more aggressively and confidently. He now feels comfortable to attack where he use to wait for a better opportunity. And it pays out.
As for LIN, his agility is in question. Particularly when LEE dropshot to LIN's right front court, where LIN has to turn his body and play with with back hand, LIN seems to have trouble to response fast enough. After the game when LIN was interviewed by reporters in China, he said he was swarmped by business activities like shooting TV ads recently. Maybe his waist injury also drag him slower a bit.
There are some other interesting details here.
LEE's coach has long been Misbun Sidek. But this time, we saw one more 'new' face. Rexy Mainaky, 1996 Olympic Men's Double Champion, who is famous for his fast and hard hitting. It seems he gave LEE quite some suggestions. Maybe Mainaky's style did encourage LEE to play more aggressively this time. Another change is LEE's racket, he is using latest Yonex VT80 racket this time instead of Amortec 900p he has been using for a while. Combining aerodynamic qualities of a Z Slash with the thin frame of a Nanospeed 9900 (not as thin as VT70, although the shaft is the slimmest in Yonex range) and given the racquet the head weight of an Armortec, it is claimed by seasoned fans as the best racket in years. Maybe this also gives LEE an edge?