The Chinese brigade, which figured in each of the five finals on the last day of the Star Australian was allowed only two titles in Star Australian BWF Super-series Tournament, which concluded at Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday. While women’s World Champion Carolina Marin showed her class in winning the final against Wang Shixian, world no.1 Chen Long emerged as the men’s champion by defeating Denmark’s Victor Axelsen. In other finals, Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei/Chau Hoi Wah won their first World Superseries mixed doubles title by edging out the Chinese combo of Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin; Korean men’s doubles world no.1 pair of Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong outplayed China’s Liu Cheng/Lu Kai and in all-Chinese women’s doubles, Ma Jin/Tang Yuanting defeated Tang Jinhua/Tian Qing.
Carolina Marin’s rise to badminton’s top echelons is extremely creditable since she belongs to a country, where badminton takes back seat to football, tennis, motorsports and basketball. The Spaniard won the coveted world championship last year and this year she has already won the All-England and the Malaysian Open. Most women players in the game are wary of the fiercely determined Marin. In Sunday’s final at Sydney, Marin took the women’s singles from China’s sixth-ranked Wang Shixian 22-20, 21-18 in less than an hour. Marin had finished runner-up to India’s Saina Nehwal in 2014, but this year, she has displayed commanding form. In the semifinal on Saturday, the Spaniard had beaten Korea’s world no.7 Sung Ji Hyun 21-13, 21-14. Against Wang, Marin played with speed and balance and always had an upper hand. Though the first game was decided at 22-20, Marin had led most of the time until at 20-17; Wang saved three game points to level at 20-20. Marin held nerves and got the next two points to win the first game. In the second game, Marin kept an even keel throughout and literally outplayed her rival to win 22-20, 21-18. Thus, the 2014 runner-up became 2015 Australian Open champion.
In Men’s final, Viktor Axelsen posed a big threat to Chen Long after snatching the second game from the world no.1. Chen Long had begun well by easily outplaying the Dane in the first game 21-12. But Axelsen, who had upset Lin Dan earlier in the tournament, came back in the second game and caused heavy problems for Chen Long, who didn’t know how to counter Axelsen’s clever placements peppered with occasional smashes. The Dane leveled the game scores by taking the second at 21-14. Both players looked composed in the decider until Chen Long found the edge. Then when Axelsen committed two errors at closing stages, the Chinese closed the game and the match 21-12, 14-21, 21-18.
In the mixed doubles finals, Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei/Chau Hoi Wah scored a three-game 21-19, 19-21, 21-15 victory over the Chinese pair of Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin. For Hei/Hoi, it was the first ever first World Super-series victory of their career. The match was dominated by short rallies with both pairs looking equally matched. But the Hong Kong pair held on to finish victorious.
China suffered a setback in the men’s doubles final as well. After losing the mixed doubles with Bao Yixin, Liu Cheng joined Lu Kai to play against Korea’s Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong. The Koreans, however, proved too strong for the Chinese as Lee/Yoo simply outplayed the Chinese 21-16 21-17. For the Koreans, it was the first World Super-series title of the year.
After Chen Long’s men’s singles, title, China won their second of the tournament, when Ma Jin/Tang Yuanting defeated compatriots Tang Jinhua/Tian Qing in the all-Chinese women’s doubles final. The match was fiercely fought and Tang Jinhua/Tian Qing held two match points at 20-18 in the decider but Ma/Tang reeled off four points on the trot to seal the match in their favor at 21-19, 16-21, 22-20.
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