The four-time world champion, who won this title in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009, narrowly beat Chong Wei (right), 21-19 in the first game and led 6-2 in the secondwhen the two-time defending champion, who was aiming to become the first Malaysian since Wong Peng Soon to win three titles on the trot in 1952, signalled he could not continue.
In the post-war era, only Rudy Hartono with eight (1968-1974 and 1976), and Erland Kops with seven (1958, 1960-1963, 1965 and 1967) , have won the world's oldest tournament more, when it was regarded as the unofficial world championship.
Chong Wei had suffered the right shoulder injury against Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka in Friday’s quarter-finals, but soldiered on against South Korea’s Lee Hyun Il in the semi-finals a day later.
He felt the pain before the match against Lin Dan (left), but said he wanted to play so as not to disappoint his fans, who made the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham feel like home.
Chong Wei had called for the trainer twice during the match, but managed to carry on. However, on the third occasion, he decided to call it quits as he didn’t want to aggravate the injury further.
It was a wise move with the London Olympics just four months away. It was sweet revenge for Lin Dan, who has lost last year's final to Chong Wei in straight games.
Super Dan was playing in his eighth final in the last nine years and was the only reigning world champion to win a title on Sunday.
Earlier, women’s singles champion Wang Yihan was stunned by teammate Li Xuerui in straight games while Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang were defeated by Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei in the women’s doubles.
In the men’s doubles, South Korea’s Jung Jae Sung-Lee Yong Dae (right), outfought their great rivals and four-time world champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng in three games to win their second All England crown.
The second seeds, who were also champions in 2008, threw away the first game after leading for almost its entirety, but fought back to take the next two to win 21-23, 21-9, 21-14.
It was the 21st meeting between the pairs and Jae Sung-Yong Dae now lead their head-to-heads 11-10.
For full results, click here.
Singles: Lin Dan (China) bt Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) 21-19, 6-2 Retired.
Doubles: Jung Jae Sung-Lee Yong Dae (South Korea) bt Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (China) 21-23, 21-9, 21-14.
Singles: Li Xuerui (China) bt Wang Yihan (China) 21-13, 21-19.
Doubles: Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei (China) bt Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang (China) 21-17, 21-12.
Mixed doubles: Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir (Indonesia) bt Thomas Laybourn-Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Denmark) 21-17, 21-19.