19 Jun 2006 K.M. Boopathy IT was an epic battle in which Lee Chong Wei somehow saved eight match points to subdue World No 1 Lin Dan of China to win his third consecutive Malaysia Open title in Kuching yesterday. Even sweeter for Chong Wei was the fact that he had beaten Lin Dan for the second year running, this time in even more heart-stopping fashion. It was always going to be a tight affair between the world’s top two players with Chong Wei winning the first game 21-18. Lin Dan won the second by a similiar margin. But the decider was the one that had the fans at the edge of their seats. Lin Dan’s aggressive approach saw him leading 9-4 before surging away to hold match point at 20-13. Chong Wei looked downcast and his title appeared to have been lost. Then, the fightback began as Chong Wei regained service and won seven points in a row to, as unlikely as it had seemed minutes earlier, to force deuce. But Lin Dan, who inexplicably seemed to have lost the cool that has made him such a dominant player on the international circuit, regained service and held match point again. But Chong Wei had not come so close to be denied as he drew level at 21-21 and promptly took the next two points to join Rashid Sidek as the only Malaysians to have won a hat-trick of Malaysian Open titles. Chong Wei went down to his knees, more in disbelief than in joy while a stunned Lin Dan, who subsequently annoyed the fans when he refused to don a traditional hat during the prize giving, stormed off. "It was unbelievable. I never thought I could win the title, not after Lin Dan had taken a such a big lead," said Chong Wei. "But I did not want to give up without a fight. I just focused one point after another. I also sensed at 12-18 that Lin Dan was getting nervous and kept piling the pressure on him. "I never expected to complete the hat-trick but having done it, I am aiming for the world title now." Chong Wei received US$9,600 (RM34,560) while Lin Dan had to settle for US$8,280 (RM29,808) for his efforts. As for Chan Chong Ming-Koo Kien Keat, they clinched their second title of the year when they beat Lin Woon Fui-Fairuzizuan Tazari 14-21, 21-11, 21-17 for the men's doubles crown in an all-Malaysian final. Meanwhile, China swept the other three titles. Olympic champion Zhang Ning clinched the women's singles title when she defeated surprise finalist Tracey Hallam of England 21-12, 21-13. Gao Ling-Huang Sui came from behind to beat compatriots Du Jing-Yu Yang 9-21, 21-16, 21-17 to grab the women's doubles crown. Gao Ling took her second title when she partnered Zhang Jung in the mixed doubles and secured a 19-21, 21-14, 21-15 win over Jonas Rasmussen-Britta Andersen of Denmark. RESULTS — (all finals) Men's singles: Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Lin Dan (Chn) 21-18, 18-21, 23-21; Doubles: Chan Chong Ming-Koo Kien Keat (Mas) bt Lin Woon Fui-Fairuzizuan Tazari (Mas) 14-21, 21-11, 21-17; Women's singles: Zhang Ning (Chn) bt Tracey Hallam (Eng) 21-12, 21-13; Doubles: Gao Ling-Huang Sui (Chn) bt Du Jing-Yu Yang (Chn) 9-21, 21-16, 21-17; Mixed doubles: Zhang Jung-Gao Ling (Chn) bt Jonas Rasmussen-Britta Andersen (Den) 19-21, 21-14, 21-15.