China rules the roost

Lin Dan.-AP

The World Championship at Kuala Lumpur marked the arrival of Anup Sridhar on the big stage. The unseeded Indian stole the thunder with the biggest upset of the tournament, defeating Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia.

Later, Anup humbled the former All-England champion Muhd Hafiz B. Hashim of Malaysia before losing to World No. 1 Lin Dan of China in the quarterfinals.

Anup breezed past Juergen Koch of Austria 21-15, 21-19 in the first round. Next was the stunner, as the Indian handed Hidayat a 21-14, 24-26, 22-20 defeat for the biggest win of his career. Anup kept up the momentum in the round of 16 and knocked out Hafiz B. Hashim 21-19, 18-21, 21-15 with aggressive net play.

The quarterfinal saw Anup match Lin Dan stroke for stroke in the first game and in fact, he made good of an early deficit and led 20-19, before the wily Dan turned it around and won on extra points at 22-20. Dan gave little chance for the gallant Indian in the second, racing to a 21-9 victory.

“A little more recovery time after Hashim’s match would have helped me to do better,” said Anup.

As in the past World Championships, China continued to dominate, winning three of the five titles at stake. Indonesia bagged the other two titles — the men’s doubles and mixed doubles.

Lin Dan made it a memorable back-to-back title-triumph in the men’s singles with a 21-11, 22-20 win over Sony Dwi Kuncoro. Dan, thus, broke his KL jinx as he had never won a major title at Kuala Lumpur before. H e also emulated his idol, Ying Yinag, who was the only other player to have won two successive singles titles. The Chinese girls maintained their vice-like grip on the women’s singles with Zhun Lin taking the crow n with a 21-18, 21-12 win over Wang Chen of Hong Kong.

Zhun Lin.-AP

Host Malaysia’s hopes of ending a 30-year drought at the championship went in vain, and a medal-less show at home has already sent the Badminton Association of Malaysia into a tizzy. A major shake-up is very much on the cards.

The results (all finals):

Men’s singles: Lin Dan (China) bt Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Indonesia) 21-11, 22-20.

Women’s singles: Zhu Lin (China) bt Wang Chen ( Hong Kong) 21-18, 21-12.

Men’s doubles: Markis Kido & Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) bt Jung Jae Sung & Lee Young Dae (S. Korea ) 21-19, 21-19.

Women’s doubles: Yang Wei & Zhang Jiewen (China) bt Gao Ling & Huang Sui (China) 21-16, 21-19.

Mixed doubles: Nova Widianto & Lilyana Natsir (Indonesia) bt Zheng Bo & Gao Ling (China) 21-16, 21-14.

A Special Correspondent