London, Aug 14: Olympic champion Lin Dan had a thrilling preparation for the defence of his title at next year''s Games here when he saved two match points to beat top-seeded Lee Chong Wei in a sensational world championship final today.
The Chinese star held off the challenge of the Malaysian heir apparent by 20-22, 21-14, 23-21 in 81 minutes after trailing 19-20 and 20-21 in the final game of the best contest yet between the two great men''s singles rivals.
Lin''s triumph was the highlight of a day in which China again set records, becoming the first nation successfully to defend all five world titles. It achieved the full hand at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin in Paris last year.
It was also Lin''s fourth world title but it would not have happened had he not unleashed a thrilling jump smash on the first match point against him and then lifted the shuttle deep enough to bring an overhead drop error from Lee on the second.
That certainly showed with Lin''s celebration, in which he ripped his shirt off and leapt across the court to indulge in a melee of hugging with members of the Chinese team.
Lin later added that he thought Lee played very well, which was true, but the outcome is a significant blow for the favourite who had been hoping to become the first player from Malaysia to win a world title in preparation for his Games bid in the same Wembley arena next year.
Lee was 20-16 up in the first game and was unable to convert any of those four game points, eventually winning it from 20-all with a lunging kill and a smash.
He also led 10-9 in the second game and 16-13 in the third but fell away disappointingly both times when all looked set fair. Much of this had to do with Lin''s fighting spirit however.