BWF Hong Kong Open 2019: Lee Cheuk Yiu scripts huge upset, beats Anthony Sinisuka Ginting to lift trophy on home soil

In arguably the best match of the year, unseeded home favourite Lee Cheuk Yiu recorded an unforgettable win over Anthony Sinisuka Ginting.

Lee Cheuk Yiu Anthony Ginting
Lee and Ginting after their victory Hotstar screengrab

It turned out to be a fairytale ending much more than what anyone could have expected. Unseeded local player Lee Cheuk Yiu recorded a famous win in the BWF World Tour Super 500 Hong Kong Open final over Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in a nail-biting encounter with a controversial finish. The final result was 16-21, 21-10, 22-20 in the Hong Kong player's favour.

The match started with the favourite Ginting looking in full control. Lee seemed incapable of rising to the occasion. But after the mid-game interval, the unseeded shuttler started to unleash some of those skills that got him to the final. Still, it wasn't enough as the Indonesian won the game.

But in the second game, Lee's play took off. He started to play those whiplash-like smashes and drop shots that had proved so effective in the semi-final a day earlier. Ginting looked out of his depth. Since both players are fast movers on the court and like to be aggressive, the speed of the contest was very exciting. Cheuk Yiu easily took the game into the deciding game.

The Hong Kong lad was looking unstoppable now. His net play was incredibly good. Again and again, he played tight-spinning net shots that were simply impossible to return. At the mid-game interval, Lee was leading 11-5 and looked well on way to the title.

Lee Cheuk Yiu
Lee after winning the title Hotstar screengrab

But then, nerves and the occasion started to get to him. He wasn't playing with the fluency as before. Ginting slowly started to catch up with him and, in a clever ploy, stopped giving his opponent the opportunity to play the deadly smashes. However, the Indonesian did commit some unforced errors at crucial stages that prevented him from turning the screws completely on the crowd favourite.

As the match moved towards its conclusion, Cheuk Yiu over-hit a couple of important smashes. Still, both players ended up on 18-18. Soon, Ginting had a match point. But just when everyone thought that the home player had lost this battle of nerve, he produced a brilliant attack to save the match point. Then, with another bold play, he got a match point for himself.

In the rally that followed, Lee decided to adopt the same strategy that worked for him throughout the match. He went for a tight-spinning net-shot. But Ginting was ready and decided to move in for the kill. And he succeeded, or so everyone thought, for a second.

Suddenly, everyone realised, as the home player started celebrating that the umpire had judged the kill from Ginting as a foul for having hit the shuttle before it had crossed the net, and given the victory to the underdog.

The raucous crowd and the winner started celebrating wildly as Ginting looked disconsolate. In a show of great sportsmanship, the victor went to his opponent and tried to get him back to his spirits.

When the replays were shown, it seemed as if the umpire had got it wrong. But this was all irrelevant as the fairy-tale ending was achieved. Lee Cheuk Yiu now has a major World Tour title under his belt.

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