Badminton powerhouse Viktor Axelsen clinched his first China Open title on Sunday as An Se Young took the women’s trophy.
World number one Axelsen overcame a second-game surge by homegrown finalist Lu Guangzu to triumph 21-16, 21-19 in 49 minutes.
After sailing through the first game, the Dane found himself 18-12 behind in the second before taking nine of the last 10 points to win the match.
“It feels absolutely amazing, honestly,” Axelsen said at the venue in the eastern Chinese city of Changzhou.
“To be honest, the most important thing is how I bounced back after the World Championships.”
At that tournament in Copenhagen last month, Axelsen slumped to a shock quarter-final defeat to India’s H.S. Prannoy.
“I have proved to myself that if I try to do my best every single day and if I try to get back after some losses, I can get better,” Axelsen said.
It was a day for the top-ranked players as South Korea’s An downed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan 21-10, 21-19.
An, who sealed promotion to world number one with victory at the Japan Open in July, also breezed through the opening game but fell behind in the second.
But she gradually pegged back the second-ranked Yamaguchi before notching the final three points to seal victory in 38 minutes.
“It’s true that I’ve played Akane many times, so we can anticipate each other’s shots. So we need to prepare well for the match,” An said.
“As long as my body can take it, I hope I can reach the finals of other tournaments, and get a good result at the Asian Games,” she added.
“Right now my focus is on how to improve and play better.”
The home fans did have something to shout about as Chinese pairings took two doubles titles.
Liang Weikeng and Wang Chang took the men’s crown with a quickfire 21-12, 21-14 win over Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik of Malaysia.
Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan won the women’s competition, beating South Korean duo Baek Ha-na and Lee So-hee 21-11, 21-17.
Seo Seung-jae and Chae Yu-jung, also of South Korea, triumphed 21-19, 21-12 over French pair Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue in the mixed doubles.
China has hosted several international sporting events this year after ditching a tough zero-Covid policy that prompted cancellations and postponements.
Badminton’s Sudirman Cup became the first such event when it took place in the eastern city of Suzhou in May.
The country has said it expects 12,500 athletes to converge on the city of Hangzhou for the Asian Games starting later this month.
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