Hong Kong’s Ng Ka-long nabs Thailand Masters from Japan’s Nishimoto

World number nine Ng Ka-long secured the Thailand Masters title after Kenta Nishimoto took the first game in a 16-21, 21-13, 21-12 duel.

Ng Ka Long

File photo: Ng Ka-long came from behind to secure the Thailand Masters title.   -  AP

Hong Kong shuttler Ng Ka-long snatched the men’s Thailand Masters title Sunday after a shaky start against Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto, whose compatriot Akane Yamaguchi beat Korea’s An Se-young in a hard-fought women’s final.

World number nine Ng clinched victory after Nishimoto took the first game in a 16-21, 21-13, 21-12 duel.

But missteps in the second and third game by the 25-year-old Japanese player allowed Ng to move forward in a decisive victory -- coming back swiftly after a five-point low.

His win in the $150,000 tournament is his first in a long time -- Ng’s last victory was at the Malaysia Masters in 2017 and the Hong Kong Open the year before.

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Another rivalry came to a head in the women’s finals when Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi conquered her teenage opponent An Se-young in two games.

The 17-year-old Korean, voted Most Promising Player of 2019, had previously beaten world number three Yamaguchi in November at the Korea Masters.

But this time the top seed continued her impressive and fierce performance from the day before -- when she battled Spain’s Carolina Marin Saturday for the spot in the finals.

Yamaguchi went point-for-point in the second game, the 22-year-old Japanese pulling through with a 21-16, 22-20 victory after an intense volley that had both players diving for the shuttlecock.

In women’s doubles Chinese pair Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan beat Korea’s Baek Ha-na and Jung Kyung-eun in a 17-21, 21-17, 21-15 match.

Malaysia’s Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi claimed victory in the men’s doubles after defeating China’s Huang Kai Xiang and Liu Cheng 18-21, 21-17, 21-17.

The Thailand Masters is the second competition this month to not feature men’s world number one Kento Momota after the Japanese superstar was injured in a car crash that killed his driver and left him with minor injuries in Kuala Lumpur.

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