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Malaysian badminton star Lee Chong Wei retires after cancer battle

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Lee Chong Wei is a former World No. 1.

Putrajaya (Malaysia): Ace Malaysian shuttler Lee Chong Wei on Thursday announced his retirement after waging a battle with nose cancer. With this, his 19-year long illustrious career also came to a halt.

Lee, 36, was keen to return to the court post treatment. The shuttler, who spent a total of 348 weeks as world number one announced his retirement in a teary-eyed press conference.

“My decision to retire is a heavy one. I really love this sport. But it is a demanding sport,” Lee told mediapersons. He further said that he would now like to rest and spend time with his family, and even take his wife on a ‘honeymoon’.

A father of two, Lee was diagnosed with early-stage nose cancer last year and had received intensive treatment in Taiwan.

“I have no regrets. More important is my health, the decision to retire is very tough,” said Lee.

Lee also informed that his cancer treatment was now over. “My plan to retire was originally after the Olympic Games. I made this decision due to my health,” he explained.

Terming Lee as a ‘legend’, Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) Chief Norza Zakaria, who was also present at the presser, said: “It is a sad day. Lee is a legend and very dependable. We accept his decision.”

Earlier in 2018, Lee had bagged gold at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast (Australia). He has won 69 international titles and is a three-time Olympic silver medallist.

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Impressive win for Satwik-Ashwini at China Open’s first round

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Satwik-Ashwini

Changzhou (China): India’s mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa stunned Indonesia’s world no 7 combination of Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti in the opening round of the China Open badminton tournament here on Tuesday.

World No 26 Satwik and Ashwini showed their grit as they recovered from a mid-game slump to outwit the sixth seeded Indonesian pair 22-20 17-21 21-17 in a 50-minute match to enter the second round of the USD 1,000,000 World Tour super 1000 tournament.

Jordan and Melati have so far reached five finals, including the 2018 India Open, but they wilted under the relentless pressure created by the Indian pair.

Ashwini and Satwik will now face the winner of the match between Japan’s Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo and Ireland’s brother-and-sister combo of Sam Magee and Chloe Magee at the Olympic Sports Center Xincheng Gymnasium here.

The Indian pair had fallen back 4-7 early on but they reeled off five straight points to turn the tables and then held a slender 11-10 advantage at the break.

Jordon and Melati, however, build up a huge lead of 18-12 after the interval but the Indian duo slowly erased the deficit and caught up at 20-20 and then sealed the opening game.

In the second game, the Indonesian pair moved ahead from 4-4 to enter the breather with a 11-8 cushion. Jordon and Melati continued to march ahead to eventually roar back into the contest.

In the decider, Satwik and Ashwin changed their tactics and jumped to a 4-2 lead initially. The Indian duo kept things under control, entering the break with a 11-6 lead.

Jordon and Melati tried to make a comeback but the Indian pair kept their nose ahead to shut the doors on their fancied rivals.

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World champ Sindhu seeks to dominate in China Open badminton tourney

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PV sindhu

Changzhou (China): World champion P V Sindhu will look to reassert her supremacy when she spearheads the Indian campaign at the $1,000,000 China Open World Tour Super 1000 tournament beginning here on Tuesday.

The World No.5 Sindhu ended India’s long wait for a world championship gold at Basel, Switzerland last month.

She achieved the historic feat after her third successive final appearance. The performance also turned around her erratic season during which she had reached the finals at the Indonesia Open Super 1000 event.

Life after that historic gold has been all about felicitations and the Indian will now have to quickly turn her focus back on badminton as she remains the country’s best bet at the China Open, a title she had won in 2016.

The 24-year-old from Hyderabad will begin her campaign against China’s Li Xuerui, a former Olympic gold medallist and World No.1.sports news headlines

Interestingly, Sindhu had announced her arrival on the international scene when she had stunned the then Olympic champion Li at the China Masters in 2012.

Since then, Sindhu has reached the highest echelons of international badminton, while Li has been dealing with a career-threatening knee injury that she suffered at the Rio Olympics.

The Chinese is currently ranked 20th but has a 3-3 record against Sindhu.

Sindhu had beaten Li at the Indonesia Masters earlier this year and if she can cross the opening hurdle, she is likely to face Canadian Michelle Li, who hasn’t beaten the Indian since 2014.

If everything goes well, then she might be up against China’s third seed and All England champion Chen Yufei in the quarter-final.

World No.8 Saina Nehwal, who had won the Indonesia Masters this year, will also look to put up a good show following her recovery from injuries which bogged her down this season.

The former World No.1 looked good at the world championships before a few controversial umpiring decisions ended her run when she lost to Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark in second round.

Saina will face Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the opening round and is expected to clash with former world no.1 and her nemesis Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals.

China Open, the last Super 1000 event of the World Tour season, will also see the return of two superstars — Olympic champion and three-time world champion Carolina Marin and 2017 World Champion Viktor Axelsen. Both the bigwigs will be back after recovering from their respective injuries.

The Indian campaign lost a bit of sheen with the withdrawal of Kidambi Srikanth and H S Prannoy.

While Srikanth’s knee injury flared up during the world championships, Prannoy is down with dengue.

All eyes will be on B Sai Praneeth, who ended India’s 36-year wait to become the first Indian male shuttler to claim a medal at the World Championships.

The talented shuttler will open against Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihingsanon and is likely to face China’s third seed Shi Yu Qi in the second round.

Former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap too will be in the fray, taking on France’s Brice Leverdez in the first round.

Returning to action after an injury lay-off will be the pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who became the first men’s pair from the country to win a super 500 event at Thailand Open last month.

The duo, who had broken into the top 10, will open against Canadian combination of Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura.

In mixed doubles, Satwik will pair up with Ashwini Ponnappa and meet Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti, the Indonesian sixth seeds.

The other men’s pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will square off against the second-seeded Indonesian pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.

Ashwini and N Sikki Reddy, the Commonwealth Game bronze-medallists, will fight it out against the Taiwanese combination of Cheng Chi Ya and Lee Chih Chen in women’s doubles, while Sikki and Pranaav Jerry Chopra will lock horns with Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich.

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Shuttler Sourabh Verma claims Vietnam Open title

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Ho Chi Minh City: India’s Sourabh Verma registered a thrilling three-game win over China’s Sun Fei Xiang to claim the men’s singles title at the USD 75,000 Vietnam Open BWF Tour Super 100 badminton tournament here on Sunday.

Second seed Sourabh, who has won the Hyderabad Open and Slovenian International earlier this year, recovered from a mid-game slump to beat Sun 21-12 17-21 21-14 in the summit clash which lasted an hour and 12 minutes.

“I am very happy with the way, I played this week. I played three Japanese and these players have similar kind of style. Most like to attack and the little differences in their style is something you have to figure out on the court. So it was nice to beat them,” Sourabh told PTI.

He beat three Japanese shuttlers Kodai Naraoka, Yu Igarashi and Minoru Koga on way to his title win.

“The final was a tough match but I am happy I could play my game and come out victories. This title will give a boost to my confidence,” the Indian said.sports news headlines

It was a third career meeting between Sourabh and Sun. The duo has faced off twice this year at Canada and Hyderabad with the Indian coming up trumps on both the occasions.

Talking about the final match, the world no 38 Indian said: “In the first game, I waited for his weak returns. I realised his defence was a little weak, so I looked to exploit that. He committed too many unforced errors and it helped me.

“In the second game, I was troubled by the drift from one side and he jumped into a huge lead. But after the change of side in the decider, I went back to the strategy that worked for me and I am happy I could win,” added the National champion.

Asked if he will play the USD 400,000 Korea Open World Tour Super 500 event to be held from September 24 to 29, Sourabh said: “I will head back home now and depending on the condition of my body and the time required to recover, I will take a call if I want to go to Korea or not.”

In the finals, Sourabh dominated the proceedings in the opening game as he jumped to a 4-0 lead early on and kept moving ahead. He enjoyed a 11-4 cushion at the break and surged to a 15-4 advantage after the breather.

Sun tried to recover but the gap was too wide to be bridged as Sourabh pocketed the first game comfortably.

The Chinese came out all guns blazing in the second game, zooming to a 8-0 lead. He lead 11-5 at the interval and even though the Indian tried to make a comeback, it proved an uphill task as Sun roared back into the contest.

In the decider, Sun had a slender 4-2 lead initially but Sourabh ensured he enjoyed 11-7 advantage at the breather. The Indian then maintained his lead, despite the Chinese snapping at his heels.

Leading 17-14, Sourabh blasted off the next four points to shut the door on his opponent and win his third title of the year.

The 26-year-old from Madhya Pradesh had won the Dutch Open and Korea Open last year.

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