In the badminton tournament given a miss by top stars, the final glory was cornered by China and the hosts Taiwan. They shared all five titles on July 3, the last day of 2016 Yonex Open Chinese Taipei. While Taiwan grabbed both men and women singles crowns, China swept the doubles in all categories. With a commanding victory over China’s Wang Shixian, Tai Tzu Ying sent another warning to aspiring international women players about her Rio Olympic intentions. Her compatriot Chou Tien Chen was also equally dominant in the final against Qiao Bin of China. But China won the men, women and mixed doubles titles.
Tai Tzu Ying was supreme in the second game of her title clash with China’s Wang Shixian. In the first game however, the two players exchanged leads, though Tai looked better overall. Before the game was locked at 20-20, Wang had two game points at 20-18 and 20-19 and one more at 21-20. But Tai came level and converted in her only game point to win at 23-21. The Taiwanese carried the momentum to the second game and suddenly the fight went out of Wang’s play. With a mixture of solid footwork and immaculate defense, Tai played to perfection in winning the title 23-21, 21-6 as the crowd egged her on. This was Tai’s fifth win over Wang in their 12 meetings but the defeat was the worst that Wang ever suffered against her Taiwanese opponent.
In the men’s singles final, Chou Tien Chen played equally well against his Chinese counterpart Qiao Bin. Though Bin shot to a 4-1 early lead in the first game, Chou drew level soon and went ahead 11-10 at break. The fight continued until 13-13 but Chou broke away decisively afterwards and Bin couldn’t catch up. In the second game, Chou kept his lead until the mid-game, when Bin reversed the trend at 14-13. However, Chou wrested the lead at 15-15 and never looked back. The Taiwanese made a decisive finish by winning at 21-18, 21-17.
The women’s doubles final was an all-China affair between no.1 seeds Luo Ying/Luo Yu and the unseeded combo of Zhong Qianxin/Huang Dongping. The top seeds were driven to despair by Zhong’s relentless smashes and Zhong/Dongping kept the pressure on the Luo twins. Zhong/Dongping led all the way in the first game and Ying/Yu could never catch up. But the top seeds offered some resistance in the second game. However at 8-8, Zhong/Dongping broke away for good and won the match 21-18, 21-16.
In the mixed doubles, the Chinese team of Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen kept their Malaysian opponents Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing at bay for the entire match. The Chinese lead in both games and Meng/Jing could hardly offer any resistance against an impeccable display by Siwei/Qingchen. In the end, it was an easy 21-13, 21-16 victory achieved in just 35 minutes.
The men’s doubles finally was keenly fought between China’s Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen and Taiwan’s Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin. The Taiwanese men almost won another title on Sunday but Junhui/Yuchen denied them the pleasure in the closest final of the day. After the Chinese pair took the first game at 21-17, Ling/Chi-Lin came back strongly in the second. Fighting hard, they forced the decider by taking the second game at 21-17. The decider went to the edges of thrill and any pair could have won the match. The Taiwanese had a match point at 21-20 but Junhui/Yuchen drew level before converting on their fourth match point to win at 21-17, 17-21, 24-22.
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