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The Star Online: Sports


Korean Open: Lin Dan downs Chong Wei to pocket US$90,000

Posted: 30 Jan 2011 06:06 AM PST

SEOUL: China's Lin Dan won US$90,000 - the richest winner's cheque in badminton history - when he beat Lee Chong Wei 21-19, 14-21, 21-16 in the Korean Open on Sunday.

Tne thrilling final lasted a gruelling 73 minutes.

Lin Dan won the first set 21-19 in 26 minutes against Chong Wei.

The Chinese ace was hardly in trouble in the first set and had the upper hand all the way.

Although Chong Wei took the lead briefly at 13-12, Lin Dan regained control again to forge ahead 17-15.

With the score tied at 18-18, Chong Wei misjudged a return to the back of the court by Lin Dan.

This proved to be costly as Lin Dan won the next two points to wrap up the set.

Chong Wei, however, came out flying in the second set.

Before long he was 14-10 ahead and extended his lead to 17-13 and 19-14.

The Malaysian and world No. 1 player then wrapped up the set 21-14 in 22 minutes when Lin Dan put the shuttle into the net while attempting a forehand return.

The rubber set was closely-fought, being tied at 5-5, 10-10 before Chong Wei went ahead 14-13.

But Lin Dan fought back to lead 17-16 and 19-16 before winning 21-16 in 25 minutes.

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Djokovic wins Australian Open title, beats Murray (Updated)

Posted: 30 Jan 2011 03:47 AM PST

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP): Novak Djokovic won his second Australian Open title, breezing past Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 Sunday to extend Britain's near 75-year drought in men's singles Grand Slams.

Murray has now been runner-up in three Grand Slam finals - losing to Roger Federer at both the 2008 US Open and the 2010 Australian Open before his third disappointment Sunday which enabled Djokovic to add to his 2008 Australian title.

Djokovic had to overcome some big obstacles en route to the final, including a win over Federer in the semifinals. And this came just two months after leading Serbia to its first Davis Cup title.

"We have known each other for such a long time," Djokovic said of his Scottish rival. "It was difficult tonight."

Murray has not won a set in a Grand Slam final. Last year, Murray had tears after his loss to Federer. They weren't visible this year, but the hurt may have been just has bad after he lost seven straight games through the end of the first set and into the second and never appeared to be in the match.

The last British man to win a Grand Slam singles title was Fred Perry at the 1936 US Open - more than 270 majors ago.

Murray appeared to have some problems with his eyes during the match, rubbing them frequently during changeovers. But there was no mention of any problems in his presentation speech.

"I'll try to keep it togther this year," Murray said, speaking confidently and talking about "having more chances in the future" as the crowd yelled out "Andy, Andy."

Murray and Djokovic, who are each 23 and were born a week apart, are good friends and often practice together. At the coin flip ahead of the match, Djokovic smiled broadly for photos while Murray looked fidgety and nervous.

After the match, the two hugged, then Djokovic threw his racket, his shirt and then his shoes into the crowd.

The roof was closed on Rod Laver Arena for most of the day due to 38 Celsius (100 Fahrenheit) temperatures, but was opened just before the match started and after the weather had cooled significantly.

Trailing 5-4, Murray double-faulted to lead off the 10th game of the first set. Then he hit a backhand into the net after a 39-hit point. Murray challenged the final point of the set when he thought his forehand stayed in on the backline, but Djokovic walked away with the set in 59 minutes.

Djokovic held serve on four straight points to open the second set, then went up 2-0 when he again broke Murray's service, finishing off the point when Murray's attempted drop shot was returned crosscourt for a winner. Murray had five unforced errors in the first two games.

The Serbian player went up 3-0, then continued his domination in the next game, breaking Murray in four straight points to go up 4-0 and held for 5-0, his seventh straight game win. Murray finally stopped the streak with an ace on game point to trail 5-1, then broke Djokovic in the next game to cut the margin to 5-2.

The third set started with Murray's second break of Djokovic's service in the match, but Djokovic ensure that Murray's advantage was short-lived by breaking him in the next game. After an unforced error wide, Murray pounded his fist and yelled out in disgust.

Things didn't improve for Murray, who held off six break points before Djokovic prevailed on the seventh in the fourth game, hitting a backhand down the line to pass a stretching Murray. Djokovic pumped his fist and let out a loud yell in celebration.

That, too, was short-lived, when Murray broke back in the next game to pull to within 3-2, then held through two break points to level the set at 3-3. Late in the match, Murray appeared to clutch his lower back after a low return on the baseline.

Djokovic soon broke serve again and then served it out.

Djokovic now leads the head-to-head series 5-3, ending a three-match streak for Murray.

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