Defending champion Chen Yufei reaches final at All England Open

Sports Tuesday 17/March/2020 09:05 AM
By: Times News Service
Defending champion Chen Yufei reaches final at All England Open

London: World No.1 Chen Yufei is one win away from defending her title at the All England Open badminton championships as the Chinese shuttler beat Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 21-14, 23-21 in the women's singles semifinals on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Chen, who believes that defending her title in Birmingham would be great for China under the spread of coronavirus, pressed the fourth seed Okuhara with strong shots from the back of the court.

"I couldn't encounter them properly, said the Olympic bronze medallist. "Although I caught up a little bit in the second game, but not properly so I made mistakes especially with the short and fast shots."

Chen will meet Tai Tzu Ying in the final as the player from Chinese Taipei came from behind to edge reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin 19-21, 21-13 and 21-11.

The men's singles second seed Viktor Axelsen also won a tough match as the Dane beat world No. 13 Lee Zii Jia 17-21, 21-13 and 21-19.

"I think it was a really tough match today. Lee made it really tough for me but I just tried to stay in there and do my best," said Axelsen. "I managed to keep calm through to the end of the third game, but luck was also on my side as it could have gone either way."

Lee has been playing brilliantly in his All England debut as the unseeded Malaysian ousted sixth seed Jonatan Christie and Olympic champion Chen Long on course.

Axelsen's final rival is top seed Chou Tien Chen from Chinese Taipei, who enjoyed an easy win after Anders Antonsen retired with injury at 14-17 in the first game.

Chinese shuttlers miss title for 1st time since 1996

Shuttlers from China failed to win any title for the first time since 1996 at the All England Open badminton championships as Chen Yufei and Du Yue/Li Yinhui finished second in Birmingham on Sunday.

In the women's final, Du Yue/Li Yinhui were defeated by Japanese pair Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota 21-13, 21-15.

While China's top seeds Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan failed to reach the semifinals, Du and Li ousted two pairs with higher rankings than them to make the final.

Talking about their rivals on Sunday, Li said: "Our opponents are all-round players. We are not as experienced as them. They are more consistent with their performances, often reaching the finals."

Japan's Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe edged top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo from Indonesia 21-18, 12-21 and 21-19 to clinch the men's doubles title.

Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti of Indonesia won the mixed doubles gold after beating Thai duo Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai 21-15, 17-21 and 21-8.