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Badminton: Wang Yihan routs Li Xuerui for first title since Asiad

Wang Yihan won her first since last September’s Asian Games at the Yonex Open Chinese Taipei. Photo: AFP.

Wang Yihan won her first since last September’s Asian Games at the Yonex Open Chinese Taipei. Photo: AFP.

July 20, 2015: Wang Yihan of China won her first title since last year’s Asian Games with a comprehensive 21-10, 21-9 rout of fellow former World No. 1 Li Xuerui in the Yonex Open Chinese Taipei final on Sunday.

 

China claimed three titles overall, with World No. 1 Chen Long winning the men’s singles and Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan claiming the men’s doubles in Taipei.

 

Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari won the women’s doubles, while Korea’s Ko Sung-hyun and Kim Ha-na were victorious in the mixed.

 

Wang, who entered the event as World No. 8, was the unexpected star of the tournament after the tall Chinese star lifted her first trophy since winning gold in Incheon last September.

 

Wang, 27, faced some tough tests along the way, having to come back from a game down against Wang Shixian in the quarter-finals before beating her compatriot, another former No. 1, 10-21, 21-10, 21-17.

 

The Shanghai-born Wang then edged in-form Ratchanok Intanon in two tight games (22-20, 21-18) in the semis to record her 10th victory in 10 matches against the Thai.

 

On Sunday, Wang comfortably dismissed long-time rival Li, who had surged through the draw with straight-games wins in all her matches, including against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the quarters and home hope Tai Tzu-ying in the semis.

 

In the men’s, Chen’s impressive season continued as he claimed the title with an ultimately comfortable 15-21, 21-9, 21-6 win over local No. 1 Chou Tien-chen, the World No. 8. Chou enjoyed one of his best performances, upsetting World No. 2 Jan O Jorgensen in the quarters and Lin Dan in the semis.

 

However, the most anticipated men’s contest of the week was Chen’s showdown with former World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, seeking his first title since returning from his ban. The Malaysian started brilliantly, taking the first game 21-17 and nearly had the match in his grasp with a 19-17 lead in the second. Chen, however, wriggled out of trouble and ran away with the match from 12-all in the decider, winning 17-21, 22-20, 21-13.

 

Indonesia’s Gideon Markus Fernaldi and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo had an impressive run into the men’s doubles final, beating the likes of Lee Sheng-mu and Tsai Chia-hsin of Chinese Taipei in the first round and senior compatriots Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan in the semis.

 

In the final, however, they were beaten 21-13, 21-8 by Zhang and Fu, who had toppled top-seeded Koreans Lee Yong-dae and Yoo Yeon-seong 21-16, 21-18 in the semis.

 

In the women’s doubles, Polii and Maheswari capped a spectacular week by beating Chinese twins Luo Ying and Luo Yu 21-17, 21-17 in the final.

 

In the mixed doubles, Ko and Kim beat Korean compatriots Shin Baek-choel and Chae Yoo-jung 21-16, 21-18 in the final.

 

Ko and Kim had earlier caused a major upset by beating top seeds Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei 15-21, 21-15, 21-15 in the quarters. It was the World No. 1 pair’s first loss to non-Chinese opponents since their defeat to Indonesia’s Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Greysia Polii at the Indonesian Open in June 2014.

 

Source: Dev Sukumar / BWF (www.bwfbadminton.com); Editing by SportAsia

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