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Surprises and three titles for Chinese shuttlers


10:19, March 11, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Curtains of the All England Open were down on Sunday, with badminton powerhouse China bagging surprises and three titles.

At the men's singles event, Chinese player Chen Long beat No. 1 seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia to win himself the first title in this prestigious tournament.

He fought two sets to finish the task, but the match cost an hour with long rallies and fast exchanges. They ran, jump and sweat, while the spectators cheered and waved national flags.

Chen collected seven points in a row before Lee could impose challenge to him. The latter seemed impatient, making several mistakes and trailed 5-11 by the interval.

Back to court, the 31-year-old twice champion tried to dominate, cutting the deficit to just two points with quick smashes and clears with landing points well calculated.

Chen, standing at 1.88 meters tall, maneuvered the shots to different angles to have his opponent run as much as possible. At last Lee lashed the shuttle into the net to lose the set 17-21.

The Chinese player started well again in the second set, enjoying a comfortable lead of 11-6 at the interval. But a sharper Lee managed to fight back. The duo soon got tied from 14-14 to 18-18. The crowd was sizzling.

The 24-year-old Chen then got the match point after a diagonal killer and a lapse of the Malaysian. He grasped the chance to speed up attacks. Lee served the shuttle to the net again, letting the chance of his third All England Open title slip away.

However, this is no surprise at all compared with the victory of Chinese up-and-coming men's doubles players Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan.

The duo who seemed to be from nowhere stunned many by upsetting world's No. 1 seeds, Danish Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen, and knocking out eighth seeded Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan from Indonesia before entering the final.

But in men's doubles final Sunday afternoon, when they beat the fourth seeded Japanese pair Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa overwhelmingly, the world was amazed to see two fledgling shuttlers rising perhaps from here.

This result was unexpected even to them. "We have prepared for the worst, but the victory came easier than I thought," Qiu told Xinhua.

Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli walked out of the shadow of "match-throwing scandal" and defeated their compatriots Cheng Shu/Zhao Yunlei to claim women's doubles title.

"The unhappy memories belong to the past, but we chose to stay on the court any way. We are at a new starting point and will keep working for a better result," said Yu.

But surprise was not always good.

Chinese mixed doubles players Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei, Olympic gold-medallists, were overpowered by defending champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir from Indonesia.

In women's singles event, for the first time in 18 years no Chinese shuttlers survived the quarter-final. World champions Li Xuerui and Wang Yihan fell at the first hurdle, and their teammates Han Li and Jiang Yanjiao were edged out in the second round.

The 23-year-old Wang Shixian, All England champion in 2011, surrendered to world's No.3 seed, Indian Saina Nehwal after what was perhaps the longest battle during this tournament.

Finally the trophy fell into hands of Danish veteran Tine Baun, who had announced to retire after the All England Open. This third title could definitely bring a magical finish to her career.

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:GaoYinan、Zhang Qian)

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