Chong Wei suffers shock defeat in Odense
World No 1 and top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia fell to a shock defeat in the men's singles quarter-finals in the USD700,000 Yonex Denmark Open Superseries Premier on Friday.
The Malaysian, hot favourite for the title, was shown the exit on his 34th birthday by Frenchman Brice Leverdez who won the 76 minute battle 21-17, 20-22, 21-19 for a semi-final clash against Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk.
It was Chong Wei's first defeat at the hands of the French No 1 in seven outings. Leverdez described his win over Chong Wei as one of his sweetest wins in his badminton career.
Tanongsak ended Danish newcomer Anders Antonsen's fine run in his home tournament with a 21-17, 14-21, 21-15 win in 66 minutes.
But the shock defeat of Chong Wei, a silver medallist at the Rio Olympics in August, became the talk of the town. However, reports coming out of Odense revealed that the Malaysian suffered cramps in his legs which affected his movements on the court.
Chong Wei took the defeat in his stride and is now looking for the Franch Open.
"I did not play well," said the Malaysian ace who has three Olympic silver medals - in Beijing (2008) and London (2012).
Korea is assured of a place in the men's final with No 6 seed Son Wah-ho facing compatriot Lee Hyun-II in the semi-finals after the completion of the quarter-final matches.
Wan-ho needed three sets to beat Chinese youngster Shi Yuqi 21-13, 15-21, 21-18 in 66 minuteswhile Hyun-II also needed three sets to get past Hong Kong's Vincent Wong Wing Ki 6-21, 21-13, 21-13.
World and Olympic champion Carolina Marin rode on her vast experience to advance to the last four but had to struggle past China's Sun Yu 21-19, 16-21, 27-25 in a titanic 95 minute battle.
He fightback in the rubber saw the Spaniard make up a seven-point deficit after being 7-14 down but clawed her way back into the picture to nail a 27-25 win and take the match.
In the semi-finals the Spaniard, known for her shrieks and screams on the court, will face Japan's Akane Yamanguchi. The eighth seeded Japanese upset compatriot and No 3 seed Nozomi Okuhara 21-13, 21-14.
In the second semi-final Taiwan's Tai Tzu Ying, the No 5 seed, who edged past No 4 seed Sung Ji-hyun of Korea 12-21, 25-23, 23-21, will face Homg Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi - 21-19, 21-12 winner over Japan's Sayaka Sato.
Malaysia's No 1 men's doubles pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong ( Image above), the No 4 seeds, are also through the semi-finals after a 21-18, 25-23 win over Chinese youngsters Li Junhei-Liu Yuchen.
Quarter-Final Results (Selected)
Brice Leverdez (Fra) beat Lee Chong Wei (Mas) 21-17, 20-22, 21-19
Son Wan-ho (Kor) beat Shu Yuqi (Chn) 21-13, 15-21, 21-18
Lee Hyun-II (Kor) beat Vincent Wong Wing Ki (Hkg) 6-21, m21-13, 21-13
Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Tha) beat Anders Antonsen (Den) 21-17, 14-21, 21-15
Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (Mas) beat Li Junhei-Liu Yuchen (Chn) 21-18, 25-23
Angga Pratama-Rickey Karanda Suwardi (Ina) beat Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (Jpn) 21-19, 21-7
Carolina Marin (Spn) beat Sun Yu (Chn) 21-19, 16-21, 27-25
Cheung Ngan Yi (Hkg) beat Sayaka Sato (Jpn) 21-19, 21-12
Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn) beat Nozomi Okuhara (Jpn) 21-13, 21-14
Tai Tzu Ying (Tpe) beat Sung Ji-hyun (Kor) 12-21, 25-23, 23-21