Rhustavito, who won their most recent encounter in the Malaysia Open last 16 in June, credited his solid defence for the upset. With the Indonesian returning most of his attacking shots, a visibly frustrated Lee lost his focus towards the end to fall 21-19 21-18.
“The key to winning was good defence,” said the 28-year-old, who now leads their head-to-head 5-4.
“I was prepared to defend and had worked on it for this match because everyone knows his smashes are powerful. Thankfully, my defence was solid.”
Rhustavito said defeating Lee 21-19 19-21 21-16 in front of his own fans four months ago boosted his confidence for this match. The world No.24 looked unperturbed even when he was behind and the lead exchanged hands a few times.
“Actually, Lee played well. It’s just that I was prepared for his attacks and had the confidence from winning our last match. I entered the court without any nerves,” said Rhustavito.
“From the start it was neck-and-neck so I needed to keep my concentration to ensure a big gap didn’t open up. My preparation here has been great, now it’s up to me to keep producing on court.”
Lee admitted he “just couldn’t get going”.
“I made a lot of unforced errors and didn’t have the required patience,” said the third seed. “Although I’m world No.2 now, I’m not satisfied with what I am. I’m still working on my weaknesses, there are parts of my game I need to be better at to go higher.”
Malaysia also lost fourth-seeded men’s doubles world champions Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, who went down 21-13 21-14 to Wang Chang and Liang Wei Keng. It’s their second loss to the upcoming Chinese pair in as many matches.