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Lee Chong Wei pulls out

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Wednesday  –  12 – 12 – 12 was supposed to be a memorable date but it turned out otherwise for world No. 1 shuttler Lee Chong Wei (pic).

First, his bid to regain his World Super Series Finals crown suffered a blow when he lost his opening group match to China’s world No. 7 Du Pengyu 12-21, 21-16, 22-20.

Then came the biggest blow – Chong Wei pulled out of the tournament – citing a right thigh injury.

Chong Wei was expected to coast through after taking the first game easily.

But his lack of preparation for the Super Series finale event after getting married last month was laid bare as the stubborn Du Pengyu, roared on by the local crowd, carved out a stunning win in 65 minutes.

Pengyu collapsed to the ground in sheer joy and celebrated as if he had won the title. It surely must have felt that way as this is the first time he has overcome the Malaysian after losing in six previous meetings.

Chong Wei then discussed with his coach Tey Seu Bock and pulled out of the tournament, thus giving up the chance of winning a fourth Super Series Finals title.

Team manager Jeremy Gan confirmed that they had officially informed the organisers of the top seed’s withdrawal.

“I am not in good condition … I have a leg injury coming here. I wanted to skip this tournament as I only got married last month,” said Chong Wei, winner of the event from 2008 to 2010 but lost to China’s Chen Long in the semi-finals in Liuzhou last year during his interview with the Star.

“I wanted to take a longer break and then get ready for the Korean Open and Malaysian Open next month.

“But I was told that I would be fined US$5,000 if I didn’t come here.

“I’ll return home and hopefully recover to play in the Korean Open and Malaysian Open.”

Chong Wei’s withdrawal has left Pengyu in a strong position to reach the last four. He only needs to beat Hu Yun of Hong Kong in his second Group A match today.

The top two finishers from each group advance to the crossover semi-finals.

Chong Wei felt it would be better not to continue if “I am unable to give my best”.

“It’s been a long season, everyone is tired. I’ve been playing in tournaments every month after the London Olympics,” he said.

“Lin Dan (who did not qualify for the Super Series Finals) never played after the Olympics … he took a long break for his wedding while I didn’t have a choice.

“I tried not to put pressure on myself here as I knew I was not in the best condition. physically and mentally.”

And he was proven right.