China's Shi beats Super Dan to become new All England Open champion

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-19 09:13:58|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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Shi Yuqi of China returns the shot during the men's singles final with his compatriot Lin Dan at All England Open Badminton Championships 2018 in Birmingham, Britain on March 18, 2018. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

BIRMINGHAM, England, March 18 (Xinhua) -- China's Shi Yuqi, last year's beaten finalist, defeated compatriot and six-time champion Li Dan to become the fourth winner in 10 years at the All England Open badminton championships here on Sunday.

The seventh seed, 22, has been in excellent form all week and continued that on finals day to prevail 21-19, 16-21, 21-9 in 74 minutes.

"We were quite familiar with each other's tactics and so I varied my normal technique in order to reach the level of performance today," said Shi.

"I feel really happy after being another member of the China national team to win the All England men's singles after Lin Dan and Chen Long.

"I feel really, really happy with this achievement."

In a match of high quality, Lin, nicknamed Super Dan who turns 35 in October, took the lead in the first game but was soon overtaken by the man 12 years his junior.

With the pair level-pegging at 15-15 in the second, Lin turned on the style to take six of the next seven points and turn the game around before Shi took command in the third set and gave the Chinese legend no chance.

A disapointed Lin said: "I think in the first two games it was a normal performance for both me and Shi, but I think in the third game there is a bit of a problem with mentality," said Lin.

"I made more errors so I think that's what I'm not very happy about."

Shi, beaten by Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei in the 2017 final, has had a superb run at the All England, beating top-ten seeds Chen Long, Son Wan Ho and Lin on the way to the title.

In the mixed doubles final, history was made as Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino became the first ever Japanese mixed doubles partnership to win the title.

The young pairing defeated fifth seeds Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong of China 15-21, 22-20, 21-16.

"I'm happy that we are the first winners of the mixed doubles here for Japan, but we are not going to be satisfied by this result," said Higashino, 21.

The young pairing are still only 48th in the world rankings.

Tai Tzu Ying from Chinese Taipei retained the women's singles title after beating Japan's Akane Yamaguchi 22-20, 21-13, the first player to defend the champion since Lin Dan's wife Xie Xingfang completed a hat trick of titles in 2007.

Top seed Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia also defended their men's doubles title with a 21-18, 21-17 victory over Denmark's Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen.

The women's doubles title went to Denmark's Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Cristinna Pedersen, who defeated Japanese duo Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota 21-19, 21-18.

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KEY WORDS: badminton