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Badminton: Lin Dan, Saina Nehwal savour Superseries wins in Sydney

Lin Dan continued his return to action by winning the Australian Open in Sydney for his first World Superseries title since March 2012. Photo: AFP.

Lin Dan, the reigning Olympic and world champion, continued his recent return to action by winning the Australian Open in Sydney for his first World Superseries title since March 2012. Photo: AFP.

June 29, 2014: World champion Lin Dan of China won his first MetLife BWF World Superseries title in over two years when he beat Simon Santoso 22-24, 21-16, 21-7 in 75 minutes to win the longest of Sunday’s five finals at The Star Australian Open.

 

Santoso ended Lee Chong Wei’s Superseries winning streak in April by upsetting the Malaysian World No. 1 in the Singapore Open final and the Indonesian played his part in a classic battle in Sydney until midway through the second game, after which he caved in under Lin’s mastery.

 

Santoso, who had a 1-10 career record against Lin, fought back from 17-13 down in the first game and saved two game points before clinching the opener.

 

Lin, 30, then upped the intensity, while the 28-year-old Santoso began to falter under the stream of near-perfect clears, precision smashes and sharp net shots from his rival, who claimed the second game and easily won the third for his first Superseries win since winning his fifth All England title in March 2012.

 

Last August, Lin won a fifth World Championships title in Guangzhou in a rare competitive appearance since retaining his Olympic crown at London 2012, but the Chinese superstar has returned to action in recent months.

 

In April, he won the China Masters Grand Prix Gold and the Badminton Asia Championships in Korea. In May, he won both his matches for China in the Thomas Cup in India, while two weeks ago he reached the quarter-finals of the Yonex Open Japan before losing to eventual champion Jan Jorgensen.

 

Saina Nehwal, 24, also ended a long Superseries drought when she won her first title on badminton’s top circuit in 20 months, having last won at the Denmark Open in October 2012.

 

The popular Indian was up against Carolina Marin and continued from where she left off in her semi-final win over top seed Wang Shixian of China, with her athleticism and attacking abilities wearing down the left-hander in a 21-18, 21-11 victory.

 

The Spaniard did sparkle from time to time with her deceptive left-handed shots catching Nehwal off-balance, but overall the Indian dominated from start to finish. Nehwal’s relentlessness in chasing down Marin’s shots broke the Spaniard’s spirit in the second game, although the Indian admitted she was playing in some pain.

 

“I didn’t think I’d be playing today because of blisters on my feet,” said Nehwal, who won bronze at London 2012.  “I had to ask my physiotherapist at the start of the day whether it would be fine.”

 

Lee Yong-dae and Yoo Yeon-seong achieved a hat-trick of Superseries men’s doubles titles when the in-form Koreans beat Chinese Taipei pair Lee Sheng-mu and Tsai Chia-hsin 21-14, 21-18. Lee and Yoo achieved a third title in three weeks, having won the Yonex Open Japan and the BCA Indonesia Open.

 

“We’re overjoyed to win three World Superseries in a row, but we don’t want to stop there,” said Lee, while Yoo added: “We’ve definitely got the World Championships in our sights.”

 

China’s Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei packed too many weapons for Japan’s Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo in the women’s doubles final as they won 21-15, 21-9.

 

Korea’s Ko Sung-hyun and Kim Ha-na took home their first World Superseries crown in the mixed doubles, beating German duo Michael Fuchs and Birgit Michels 21-16, 21-17 in the day’s first final.

 

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

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