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Badminton: Lee Chong Wei, Li Xuerui victors at Yonex Open Japan

World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei (right) ended Hu Yun’s giant-killing run at the Yonex Open Japan. Photos: AFP.

World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei (pictured right) ended Hu Yun’s giant-killing run at the Yonex Open Japan. Photos: AFP.

June 16, 2014: World No.1 Lee Chong Wei secured a hat-trick of titles at the Yonex Open Japan by beating giant-killing Hong Kong star Hu Yun 21-14, 21-12 to claim his 38th World Superseries title.

 

Hu, 32, had beaten the likes of China’s Chen Long and Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen in earlier rounds, but his run was finally ended by the Malaysian star, who was in tremendous form at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

 

Lee, 31, set a high pace at the beginning and but for a brief phase in the second game, the match was his all the way. Hu attempted to curtail Lee’s attacking game by lifting to the backhand corner, but the Malaysian punctured holes with his down-the-line smashes, repeatedly leaping high and firing winners.

 

On a few occasions he showed just how difficult it was for Hu to take any points off him, as he dived full length to deny potential winners, only to drop the shuttle dead in Hu’s court.

 

Lee’s intensity slightly dipped in the second game and Hu was able to assert himself. With a 12-10 lead, it looked like Hu would give Lee something to think about, but yet again the Malaysian shifted gears and won the next 11 points, closing with a final crosscourt smash for his seventh straight victory over Hu.

 

World No. 1 Li Xuerui beat teenage star Tai Tzu-ying to claim the women’s singles title.

World No. 1 Li Xuerui (pictured) beat teenage star Tai Tzu-ying to claim the women’s singles title.

Li Xuerui, the women’s World No. 1, beat 19-year-old Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei 21-16, 21-6 to claim the women’s singles crown. Tai’s range of deceptive strokes unsettled Li through the early part of the match, but after 15-15, the Chinese star shot ahead to take the game.

 

Li dominated the second game, parrying everything that Tai conjured and then fired her own winners when she had worked out an opening. Li now has 10 World Superseries titles from 17 finals and leapfrogged her compatriots Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian to top place on the BWF Destination Dubai Rankings. Tai moved up from ninth spot to sixth.

 

An emotional Lee Yong-dae made a triumphant return to the MetLife BWF World Superseries, teaming up with Korean compatriot Yoo Yeon-seong to win the men’s doubles. Lee, whose one-year sanction imposed in January this year was revoked in April by BWF, and Yoo outplayed World Championship winners Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan 21-12, 26-24 for their fourth World Superseries title as a pair.

 

The Koreans dominated the first game as they repelled Indonesia’s attacks effectively, but Ahsan and Setiawan worked their way back in with a different approach in the second game. Opting for a more parallel game, with Setiawan’s immaculate caresses at the net, Ahsan and Setiawan surged to leads of 13-7 and 19-15.

 

At crucial junctures, however, they were guilty of loose shots, which were seized on by the Koreans who saved two game points to make it 20-20. The Indonesians had three more game points, but Lee and Yoo played brilliantly under pressure, finally taking the title on their second match point.

 

Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo (left) and Ayaka Takahashi celebrate their women’s doubles victory.

Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo (left) and Ayaka Takahashi celebrate their women’s doubles victory.

Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi claimed their first World Superseries title from five finals after beating compatriots Miyuki Maeda and Reika Kakiiwa 21-13, 21-17. With both pairs adept in defence and at long rallies, it was Matsutomo’s sharpness at the net and Takahashi’s heavier smashes that made the difference.

 

China’s Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei defended their mixed doubles title by beating second-time World Superseries finalists Michael Fuchs and Birgit Michels of Germany 21-12, 21-16. Zhao was the standout of the four, as she not only defended Fuchs’ hardest smashes but was also able to fire winners of her own.

 

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

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