Birmingham England, Mar 11 : Third seed Chen Yufei dashed Tai Tzu Ying's hopes of winning a hat-trick of women's singles titles as she beat the two-time defending champion in straight sets at the All England Open badminton championships here on Sunday.
The 20-year-old Chen, who had lost all their 11 previous meetings, pulled ahead 16-9 in the first set but Tai managed to narrow the gap to 19-17. Chen settled the first set with two more points at 21-17. The second set was a see-saw play although Chen enjoyed the upper hand most of the time. Tai fought back from 16-12 down to level the score at 17-17 before Chen took advantage of Tai's mistakes to seal the victory 21-17. As she won the final point Chen fell to the court at Arena Birmingham to celebrate the victory.
"This is the most important victory in my career," Chen said. "I am very, very excited. I need to thank everybody in the women's team of China. Without the team work, this title is never possible." "It was a tough match against Tai. Even when I was leading by a big margin, she never gave up. I told myself to play my best and just focused on my own game."
"This victory will surely boost my confidence and I will try to find how I won the title and hopefully I can do better in the future." Chen is the first player from team China to win the women's singles final since Wang Shixian lifted the trophy in 2014.
Chen's victory is also the second from team China this year following Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan's win in the women's doubles final.
The two 21-year-olds came from behind from one set down and saved two match points in the second set to beat third seed Japanese pair Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara 18-21, 22-20, 21-11. After the game, Chen said: "We're so happy." Jia added: "It's just fantastic to win the title this year and we beat really strong opponents through all the earlier matches - it just gave us so much motivation and confidence for future performances."
Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong took a sweet revenge on their defeat in last year's final as they beat defending champions Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino of Japan 21-17, 22-20, winning China the third title in this tournament. Elsewhere, the reigning world champion Kento Momota became the first Japanese men's singles winner in history with a thrilling 21-11, 15-21, 21-15 victory over the 2017 world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.
The 24-year-old world number one said: "Winning this tournament has been a dream from my childhood and having won this it is a really big moment in my life, and gives me a lot of confidence."
The men's doubles champion went to the 2014 winner Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia, who grabbed their second title with a win over Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik of Malaysia.
Chia and Soh were able to dominate the first set but were then overtaken by their more experienced rivals, the final score at 11-21, 21-14, 21-12. (UNI-XINHUA)