Vietnam's top bad-minton ace, ranked 7th globally, took third place at the World Championships after a straight-sets loss to Lin Dan from China.
That the 7th seed Vietnamese was shutout and eliminated by unseeded Dan in the semifinals was not actually a surprise for spectators at the event in Beijing last week.
Lin Dan, dubbed Super Dan, has not played in international contests recently and has fallen to the 286th spot in the BWF rankings, yet he is the reigning champ. Lin Dan won the BWF World Championships trophy in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011. He also successfully retained the Olympic title in 2012 in London after winning the Olympic title in 2008 in China.
Lin Dan, who is considered the best badminton player of all time, was just too good for Minh.
"Winning the World Championships bronze is the best achievement for me after playing the sport professionally for more than 10 years," Tien Minh said. "I'm very happy and satisfied with this result."
Playing against the champ who had beaten him at all of their three previous meetings, Tien Minh looked inferior, but not by much. The Vietnamese player was quite relaxed.
The experienced Lin Dan launched beautiful and fierce attacks and proved to be "a really great player" as Tien Minh himself said after losing 21-17 and 21-15 to the Chinese contestant.
"Though I've beaten Tien Minh again, I'm surprised at his great progress this time," said Dan.
The world No. 3 and third-seed Du Pengyu from China also won the bronze medal along with Tien Minh after losing to the world No. 1 Malaysian Lee Chong Wei in the semifinals.
The bronze medal helped Tien Minh earned 8,400 points and he will jump to the world top five in the BWF rankings to be released next week.
Tien Minh will next fly to India to play for the club Pune Vijetas in the Indian Badminton League from August 14-31. The Indian club offered to pay Minh US$44,000 for the tournament.