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Badminton: Li, Chen retain China Open singles titles in Shanghai

World No. 1 Li Xuerui screams in delight and drops her racquet after the 2012 Olympic champion beat World No. 4 Wang Shixian 21-19 in the decider to retain her Victor China Open crown in Shanghai. Photo: AFP.

World No. 1 Li Xuerui screams in delight and tosses her racquet after the 2012 Olympic champion edged World No. 4 Wang Shixian 21-19 in the decider to retain her Victor China Open crown in Shanghai. Photo: AFP.

November 18, 2013: Women’s World No. 1 Li Xuerui, men’s World No. 2 Chen Long and World Championships women’s doubles champions Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli retained their Victor China Open titles in all-Chinese finals in Shanghai.

 

Korean duo Lee Yong-dae and Yoo Yeon-seong won the men’s doubles, while Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir clinched the mixed doubles title in the BWF Superseries Premier tournament.

 

Li, 22, had to come from behind in the final and her exuberant scream as compatriot Wang Shixian, 23, hit beyond the baseline in the last rally underlined how much the 16-21, 21-17, 21-19 win meant to her.

 

The 2012 Olympic champion was thrilled to repeat her Shanghai success, having endured a spell of lean results highlighted by her loss in the World Championships final in Guangzhou and a skin allergy that sidelined her last month.

 

“I failed in the World Championships and I hope I can learn from that experience,” said a relieved Li, who had to emerge from a tense climax with the players tied at 19-19 in the final game.

 

Chen, 24, faced 23-year-old Wang Zhengming – winner of the Adidas China Masters – in the men’s final for the second year and also lost the first game before winning 19-21, 21-8, 21-14. It was Chen’s third Superseries Premier victory this year following wins at the All England and Denmark Open.

 

World No. 2 Chen Long retained his China Open crown by defeating Wang Zhengming in the final for the second straight year. Photo: AFP.

World No. 2 Chen Long retained his China Open crown by again defeating Wang Zhengming in the final. Photo: AFP.

Chen next competes at this week’s Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open against the likes of World No.1 Lee Chong Wei and will then look to cap the season by defending his BMW Superseries Finals title in Malaysia next month, having won in Shenzhen last December.

 

Yu and Wang, the World No. 1 women’s doubles team, routed youngsters Bao Yixin – appearing in her fourth straight final – and Zhong Qianxin 21-13 21-7 in 31 minutes.

 

“Because of injuries we haven’t won for a while, so we’re happy to defend our title here and hope we can give another good performance in Hong Kong,” said Yu, whose partnership with Wang has survived the recent reshuffles among China’s top doubles teams.

 

“The differences in our personalities and playing styles complement each other and we are very good friends. We believe the team will respect our wishes, although it’s not only up to us.”

 

In the men’s doubles, Lee and Yoo avenged their French Open quarter-finals loss to Malaysia’s Hoon Thien How and Tan Wee Kiong.

 

The new pairing have set tongues wagging on the badminton circuit and won 21-13 21-12 for their second Superseries Premier title in just two months together.

 

Lee, who won his sixth China Open victory and 29th career Superseries title, said: “I’m happy we won this championship, but it’s still too early to assess our performances. We need to wait a year before we can do that.”

 

Korea’s Lee Yong-dae (far left) and Yoo Yeon-seong (second left) beat Malaysia’s Hoon Thien How and Tan Wee Kiong in the men’s doubles final.

Korea’s Lee Yong-dae and Yoo Yeon-seong beat Malaysia’s Hoon Thien How and Tan Wee Kiong in the men’s doubles final.

Revenge was also served up in the mixed doubles as Ahmad and Natsir won their fifth major title this year with a tense 21-10, 5-21, 21-17 win over Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen, who denied them bronze at last year’s London Olympics.

 

Natsir said: “Since losing that match, we aim to beat them every time we play them. We’ve been quite successful this year and it’s given us more confidence. We are going home to rest and prepare for the Superseries Finals because we want to end the year by winning that.”

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