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Badminton: Chen Long ends season with Superseries Finals win

Chen Long beat Hans-Kristian Vittinghus to win the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals. Photos: AFP.

Chen Long beat Hans-Kristian Vittinghus to win the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals. Photos: AFP.

December 22, 2014: World champion Chen Long finished the year on a high by winning the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals title with relative ease.

 

The 25-year-old Chinese was tested in phases by Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, but the Dane could not sustain his challenge through the match and went down 21-16, 21-10 in 47 minutes. From 10-10 in the second game, Vittinghus committed several errors and Chen didn’t drop another point.

 

The delighted Chen, the World No. 2, was more talkative than usual following his fourth major title of the season.

 

Chen, 25, won the title for the second time in three years.

Chen, 25, won the title for the second time in three years.

“Today the China team lost the first two finals and I was unhappy, but as a professional I had to shake it off. I’m happy with my game. This is the first time Dubai is hosting such a big event and I’m very happy with the way it was organised,” Chen said.

 

“I believe that with so many Chinese and Indian people living here, badminton has a great future and I’m looking forward to coming back. I would like to promote the sport in places where it is not yet popular, so people will get attracted to badminton.”

 

Young Taiwanese star Tai Tzu-ying conquered the summit she had failed to last year, as she won the women’s singles final. Tai, 20, and Korea No. 1 Sung Ji-hyun had split their previous eight meetings, but Tai handed was always on top in a 21-17, 21-12 victory.

 

“I didn’t expect it to be this easy. Maybe Sung was not at her best and she made many mistakes,” said Tai, the World No. 9, who peaked only late in the season.

 

“I fell sick twice this year, so that’s why I could not compete at a high level. Having won the Hong Kong Open and this event, I expect that my opponents will study me closely, but that’s something I cannot avoid. I will have to adjust accordingly.”

 

Sung conceded: “Tai is now as good as the top Chinese players. She is very aggressive and powerful. I found it hard to return her smashes.”

 

 Koreans Yoo Yeon-seong and Lee Yong-dae won the day’s only three-game final.

Koreans Yoo Yeon-seong and Lee Yong-dae won the day’s only three-game final.

In the day’s first final, Koreans Lee Yong-dae and Yoo Yeon-seong teetered on the brink of disaster before pulling off one of their most memorable triumphs. China’s Chai Biao and Hong Wei very nearly ambushed the Korean duo, but Lee and Yoo pulled themselves together when it mattered and won 19-21, 21-19, 21-16.

 

Despite a sizeable crowd rooting for them, the Koreans appeared uncharacteristically nervous throughout the first game. Unlike the infallible defence they demonstrated in previous matches, both Lee and Yoo looked rusty and out of sorts, and saved two game points before Hong Wei unleashed a smash that caught Yoo by surprise.

 

“To be honest, we weren’t at 100 per cent in the first game,” Lee said. “We knew we just had to win one game and then we would be back on track. I really wanted to win in Dubai and this ranks as one of our best wins. We knew Chai and Hong are a very aggressive pair; they’re getting better all the time.”

 

Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi handed China their first defeat in a major final in women’s doubles for over a year with a surprisingly one-sided victory. Matsutomo and Takahashi, who lost to Chinese opponents in four Superseries finals this year, finally turned it around by beating world champions Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei 21-17, 21-14.

 

The first game appeared evenly contested, with a 130-shot rally being one of the highlights, but the Japanese patiently wore Tian and Zhao down. Takahashi said their main goal this year had been the BWF World Championships, but they were happy to win the year-ending finale.

 

“We didn’t have a specific strategy,” Takahashi said. “The Chinese are hard to beat because they usually maintain the attack. We never expected to win in straight games.”

 

Zhao made up for the loss in the in the day’s last final, as she teamed up with compatriot Zhang Nan to add the World Superseries Finals title to their impressive collection. The world and Olympic champions had no trouble in seeing off the challenge of younger compatriots Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin, taking just 41 minutes to win 21-15, 21-12.

 

“This is our first time in Dubai and it was important to us that we win the title,” Zhang said. “I hope to come back next year and hope it will be as exciting as it was this year. It was quite tough this time, especially for Zhao, who had to play two events. We will take advantage of the two-month break next year and come back fresh. Of course it is awkward to play your teammates and we wish both pairs could win the title, but this is a sport and there can only be one winner.”

 

Source: BWF (www.bwfbadminton.org); Editing by SportAsia

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