Akane Yamaguchi of Japan (R) and Gao Fangjie of China pose during the awarding ceremony after their final women's singles final match at the TAHOE China Open in Fuzhou, capital of southeast China's Fujian Province, Nov. 19, 2017. Akane Yamaguchi won 2-0 to claim the title. (Xinhua/Wei Peiquan)
By Sportswriter Liu Yang
FUZHOU, China, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese shuttlers claimed three titles - men's singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles - in the finals of World Superseries Premier Tahoe China Open here on Sunday.
The Rio Olympic champion, sixth seed Chen Long upset the world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, 21-16, 14-21, 21-13, winning back the men's singles title after the previous two years' final losses.
It's been more than two years since Chen won the last Superseries title in 2015 Denmark Open. Sunday's victory also means his fourth China Open title.
"I played lots of games after Olympics with unstable performance. I keep asking myself how much I long for the champion and what it means to me," said the 28-year-old shuttler who is regarded as the successor of Chinese superstar Lin Dan.
"It's a great challenge to find myself back after Rio. I hope I will always be thirsty for victories," added Chen.
Chen has kept 10-2 head-to-head record against Axelsen by now and he told Xinhua he was very much expecting the clash in-betweens would become a worldwide legend like encounters between Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.
"The age gap between me and Viktor won't affect our great competition," said Chen.
"Chen played better than me. I made too many mistakes, especially losing too many dropping shots at net. I'm looking forward to meet him in the next tournament in Hong Kong," said the 23-year-old Dane.
In the women's singles, Chinese young shuttler Gao Fangjie, rising from qualifications as dark horse, did not continue the surprising performance in the final and lost to world No. 4 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan 21-13, 21-15.
The 19-year-old Gao, world No. 89, outplayed Rio Olympics champion Carolina Marin of Spain in the semis and Olympic silver medalist Pusarla V. Sindhu of India in the quarters.
Yamaguchi told Xinhua she did lots of preparation as she knew that Gao had shaken down many powerful opponents.
"She's tall and fast, especially good at smashing. It's our first encounter and I get to know her style in the first set," said the 20-year-old Japanese. "I kept defending and took the chance to grab points when she made mistakes. We may meet again in the future."
Gao admitted that she need to improve her skills in controlling the shuttle and tempo.
"She (Yamaguchi) played patiently and had specific strategy against me," said Gao. "I did not perform well today and had too many technical problems. I was a bit nervous before the game started; maybe I want to take the win too much.
"I made lots of quick attacks and drives but most of them did not work. I tried decoying tactics by dropping nets shots, but I made too many mistakes," added Gao.
The world number four pair in the women's doubles Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan of China sealed the victory against the eighth seed duo Kim Hye Rin/Lee So Hee of South Korea, 21-7, 18-21, 21-14, to claim their first title of China Open.
"We grab the first set so easily maybe because the opponents played so hard yesterday," said the 20-year-old Jia. "They changed the tactics in the second set but we held on the key moments in the end."
Jia told Xinhua she felt more confident pairing with Chen who will focus on the women's doubles instead of mixed doubles in the future.
"She's a tough player, full of energy," said Jia. "She used to play both doubles, and seemingly she never get tired. She shares the burden and encourages me a lot in court."
The number five seed duo Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong of China claimed the mixed doubles title with an overwhelming victory against Mathias Christiansen/Christinna Pedersen of Denmark, 21-15, 21-11.
Zheng and Huang, pairing for only two weeks, claimed their second BWF title since Macau Open. They told Xinhua they never expected the final to go so easy.
"The Danish are tall and strong, and they are good at striking," said Zheng. "We kept the shuttle high clear and made cuts and drop shots to avoid their advantage."
Pedersen told Xinhua that the Chinese pair played like they have been together for quite a long time. "We studied their video and got ready for the battle," said the 31-year-old veteran, "But they have better partnership and we have to train hard to challenge them next time we met."
The men's doubles final is between the world number one duo Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia and number two pair Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen of Denmark. The Indonesian pair claimed the title with 21-19, 21-11.