BWF World Super Series: Japanese take home singles crowns

The Land of the Rising Sun should have basked in glory after the MetLife BWF World Super Series finals at the swanky Hamadan Sports Complex on Sunday. Nozomi Okuhara first stunned Wang Yihan 22-20, 21-18 for the women’s singles crown. Not much later, her compatriot Kento Momota crushed Viktor Axelsen 21-15, 21-12.

Kento Momota and Nozomi Okuhara of Japan with their medals after winning Final Men,s and Women,s Single matches at the BWF Dubai World Superseries 2015.   -  Getty Images

The Land of the Rising Sun should have basked in glory after the MetLife BWF World Super Series finals at the swanky Hamadan Sports Complex on Sunday. Nozomi Okuhara first stunned Wang Yihan 22-20, 21-18 for the women’s singles crown. Not much later, her compatriot Kento Momota crushed Viktor Axelsen 21-15, 21-12.

“I had a strategy and I executed it,” was all the new men’s champion would say in his moment of triumph. He was however honest to admit that he got lucky on a few points.

Axelson attributed his defeat to expending too much energy the evening before against world no.1 Chen Long. “I was not playing well enough,” said the towering Dane, seen by many to become the next big thing in badminton. “I was playing more on Momota’s terms,” he rued.

“Today was not satisfying but I am proud of my performances in the year. I need to dig deeper and train harder in January and February,” Axelsen added.

The 21-year-old’s coach Lars Uhre said, “Viktor didn’t get going. His legs were not moving fast enough.”

Peter Gade watched the final. “Viktor was impatient, his solutions to the setbacks bad. He should have stayed calm,” the badminton legend opined. He however cautioned the big names, saying the gap between the Longs and the Axelsens was shrinking especially in the run-up to the Olympics.

Axelsen, a former world junior champion, was mostly at the wrong end on his returns, his jump smashes crashing into the net and his diagonal flicks straying into the tramlines time and again. Even the slug-fests that Axelsen usually dominates didn’t go his way as Momota virtually had him at his mercy.

If Okuhara had been the picture of persistence, prising five victories on the trot, she was the personification of politeness in her hour of glory. The calm countenance gave way to tears of joy but soon she was up from the floor, bowing to officials and the crowd with respect.

“I am grateful to the spectators who supported me so much,” said the 20-year-old, who didn’t drop a set through the tournament. “I went into the game to give off my best without thinking of winning or losing,” said the shuttler who had taken a year’s sabbatical for knee surgery.

When Wang Yihan inched ahead to the finish of both games, the native of Nagano prefecture in Japan never gave up. When quizzed again about her five foot frame, Okuhara said she modified her game in accordance with the opponent’s game and not size.

Results (all finals):

Men

Singles: Kento Momota (Jap) bt Viktor Axelsen (Den) 21-15, 21-12.

Doubles: Yong Dae Lee/Yeon Seong Yoo (Kor) bt Haifeng Fu/Nan Zhang 16-21, 21-10, 21-12.



Women

Singles: Nozomi Okuhara (Jap) bt Wang Yihan (Chi) 22-20, 21-18.

Doubles: Ying Luo/Yu Luo (Chi) bt Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den) 14-21, 21-9, 14-4 (retd.).

Mixed doubles: Chris/Gabrielle Adcock (Eng) bt Hyun Sung Ko/Ha Na Kim 21-14, 21-17.