Focusing on securing a top qualification place for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Lin Dan showcased his experience and class with a second-game comeback yesterday to wrest the Bonny China Masters crown.
Just when it seemed top seed and world No.1 Chen Long would stretch the Men’s Singles showdown to a deciding third game, his senior compatriot emerged with some superb plays to recover from 11-16 down and snatch the title in straight games.
Having won the first game 21-17, the two-time Olympic gold medallist dropped his intensity a bit in the early exchanges of the second game while, by contrast, Chen lifted his performance with some sharp kills. However, he was rattled by Lin’s determination to get back into contention, gifting his opponent a number of easy points as he sprayed the shuttle wide. Suddenly, Lin Dan was within a point of Chen at 16-17 and locked scores at 18-18. Disappointed by the manner in which he faltered, Chen sealed his own fate with another erroneous strike as a pleased Lin watched the shuttle land out.
The outcome 21-17 23-21 gave Lin his sixth China Masters title and the victory over Chen Long was certainly a timely morale booster ahead of this week’s Badminton Asia Championships in which Lin is the defending Men’s Singles title-holder.
Meanwhile, Li Xuerui enhanced her chances of qualifying for the Rio Olympics with a three-game victory over her team-mate, Sun Yu. For the second Sunday in a row, Sun was thwarted in a Women’s Singles final as Li prevailed 21-16 19-21 21-6, cruising home in the decider. Last weekend, Sun’s ambitions of retaining the OUE Singapore Open championship were derailed by Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon. By contrast, Li would be thrilled to have added some vital points to her ranking as she is in a virtual dead-heat with compatriots, Wang Shixian and Wang Yihan, for two Olympic qualifying berths; a mere 470 points separating the three Chinese stars.
Xu Chen and Ma Jin also secured some critical points for their Olympic quest. The London 2012 silver medallists beat their junior compatriots, Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen, 21-17 21-15, to take the Mixed Doubles honours. The veteran Chinese will be looking to keep ahead of Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin to clinch their country’s second qualifying place in the category.
Chen was also on the losing side in Women’s Doubles as she and Jia Yifan could not capitalise on a first-game advantage versus the Luo twins – Ying and Yu. The latter rebounded to win the 85-minute, all-China battle, 16-21 21-15 21-18.
An all-Korea showdown closed the proceedings as top seeds, Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong, got the better of Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang. The world No.1 pair took the title, 21-17 21-14, in 41 minutes.