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Li Xuerui stamps her mark

Li Xuerui (below), made it back-to-back tournament victories on Sunday when she followed up her Yonex German Open win with a big one – the Yonex All England Open.

The 21-year-old from China upset world champion and top seeded compatriot Wang Yihan in straight games to win her first OSIM BWF World Superseries Premier tournament.

Her 21-13, 21-19, victory was her first in five meetings against the 2009 All England winner and made up for losing the 2010 French Open final to her teammate.

Wang Yihan was involved in an epic battle in the quarter-finals, saving four match points against two-time champion Tine Baun before struggling to overcome teammate and defending champion Wang Shixian in the semi-finals where she needed three games and 89 minutes before booking her place in the final.

Those two matches took their toll on her as she appeared sluggish throughout the final.

Li Xuerui rose to a career high No. 5 after her win in Germany last Sunday and now has India’s Saina Nehwal in her sights, with the three Wangs – Yihan, Xin and Shixian – occupying the top three spots.

“This is my greatest win and it is very important to me,” Li Xuerui said. “It’s a famous title, and different from the other Super Series. I want to take it step by step but I may become world number four after this.”

Indeed, Li Xuerui’s quarter-final victory over Saina could the symbolic passing of the torch as China once again flexed their muscle in the women’s category, winning the women’s title for the eighth time in 10 years and 20th in 31 attempts.

In fact, their women’s doubles have the same record over 31 years and on Sunday Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei (right), added their names to the illustrious list of winners by stunning top seeds and world champions Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang in straight games.

Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei’s 21-17, 21-12 victory ended a run of seven consecutive defeats to their teammates, who beat them in the World Championships final last August as well as five other title deciders.

After playing bridesmaids for so long, they have finally showed they too have what it takes to win the big titles.

Meanwhile Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir ended 33 years of hurt as they won the mixed doubles crown.

The Indonesian duo (left), emulated the legendary Christian Hadinata and Imelda Wiguna as winners of the mixed doubles title to give Indonesia their first title in England since Candra Wijaya-Sigit Budiarto won the men’s doubles crown in 2003. Christian-Imeda won the mixed doubles crown in 1979.

Playing against former world champions and 2005 All England runners-up Thomas Laybourn-Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark, the Indonesians showed no nerves as they ran out 21-17, 21-19, winners over the German Open champions.

It was the pair’s third OSIM BWF World Superseries title, but their first in a Superseries Premier tournament. They won the India and Singapore Opens last year.

“I’m so happy with the win and I would like to thank all the supporters in the arena today,” said a delighted Liliyana, who was twice a losing finalist in this tournament with her previous partner Nova Widianto.

For full results, click here.

 

Finals
Men
Singles: Lin Dan (China) bt Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) 21-19, 6-2 Retired.
Doubles: Jung Jae Sung-Lee Yong Dae (South Korea) bt Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (China) 21-23, 21-9, 21-14.

Women
Singles: Li Xuerui (China) bt Wang Yihan (China) 21-13, 21-19.
Doubles: Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei (China) bt Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang (China) 21-17, 21-12.

Mixed doubles: Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir (Indonesia) bt Thomas Laybourn-Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Denmark) 21-17, 21-19.

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