World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei thanked the home crowd for helping him beat archrival Chen Long in the semi-finals of the Maybank Malaysia Open presented by Proton on Saturday.
Chong Wei was trailing 8-5 in the deciding game, but found his second wind to surge into the lead and take the match 21-18, 17-21, 21-13.
“The fans were fantastic and I don’t think I would have won if the match was not held in Malaysia,” said a delighted Chong Wei.
“They really lifted me when I needed it most and that is why I celebrated so much after clinching the winning point.”
Chong Wei will now play Kenichi Tago in the final, knowing a victory will equal Wong Peng Soon’s record of winning eight men’s singles titles.
“It feels good to have beaten the world No.2 (Lin Dan) in South Korea last week and now the world No. 3. It is an important boost as the Olympics will be held this year,” said Lee.
“The Chinese players are so hard to beat and to have beaten my two biggest rivals has given me the confidence to go out and try to win my eighth Malaysian title.”
Tago reached the final when Chen Jin conceded the match while 3-2 down after injuring his ankle.
“It is not a serious injury, neither is it an old one. I just landed awkwardly and didn’t feel comfortable at all,” said Chen Jin. “I’m disappointed but I didn’t want to take any risk.”
Tago said: “I’m bitterly disappointed as I was really pumped up to face him. It will be difficult against Chong Wei tomorrow as this is his home ground and he is also the world No. 1.
“I have lost two previous Superseries finals to him(All England and French Open) and hope to be third time lucky.”