Take a Bow Viktor and Kodai

Take a Bow Viktor and Kodai

We now know the formula to test Viktor Axelsen. Speed. That has been apparent here in Bangkok this week with first Prannoy H. S. and tonight Kodai Naraoka proving that the Olympic and world champion is in fact human.

Fast shuttle conditions and a menacing draft at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2022 have meant speed players have been better suited allowing them to get on the front foot and attack.

Noticeably, Prannoy and Naraoka reduced the frequency of lifts against Axelsen these past two days, pushing at the front court, keeping it low, and causing the Dane to defend more than he would on a typically slower court.

It certainly has made the men’s singles division more interesting this week with many fans and pundits previously reconciled to the fact that Axelsen simply had to show up to win, such has been his dominance in 2022.

Yet in the clash of the BWF Player of the Year 2022 versus the Eddy Choong Most Promising Player of the Year, Naraoka not only gave us a glimpse of what lay on the horizon but demonstrated through some sheer brilliance the type of arsenal needed by men’s singles combatants to challenge the great Dane.

If you thought Prannoy’s exploits on Friday were a one off, think again. You can expect more and more players, given the right conditions, to apply this blueprint against the world No.1 83-minutes of pure badminton joy is ample evidence of what we can look forward to.

Much to Axelsen’s credit, his ability to dig himself out of a hole, adjust to the barrage dealt his way, and steel himself for the fight was equally enjoyable to watch. A champion is always a champion, and for the top seed to be tested in such a way can only be a good thing for him, and also the sport.

“I dodged a bullet today. Kodai could have gone through,” Axelsen said afterwards.

“I would say that match was close to being my toughest of the entire year. This had everything – good play, bad play and a lot of mental game, too. It had everything sport has to offer, and I was happy to be a part of it. I respect Kodai a lot and he has a very bright up-and-coming future. Today was a fun game.

“I was lucky but I also stepped up in crucial parts and you have to win on days when everything doesn’t come together. I’m just happy to win today. My family is here and to do well in front of them means a lot to me.”

As for Naraoka, a wise head would advise him to cherish this moment, take the positives, learn from the negatives, and store it in his back pocket. For the next time he takes on the big man, he will need it.

“The match with Viktor was difficult but I managed to do well in the first game. I’m tired, but I used all my strength and power to move as quickly as I could to win the opening game. Viktor’s smash is strong and sharp, so I tried to play as low as I could.

“I felt very excited after the first game and when I was leading in the second. I didn’t know if I should try and take it slow or try to finish it. If I had won the second game, that would have been the biggest result for me.

“I have done well today, and up to this point, I want to continue to get better. I want to win, that’s my goal,” said Naraoka.

Match point moment for Viktor Axelsen

On behalf of all those watching – simply stunning gents, simply stunning!

→ Day 4 Results

→ Day 5 Order of Play

Liu/Ou’s Dream Year Continues

Liu/Ou’s Dream Year Continues

China’s Liu Yu Chen and Ou Xuan Yi’s first-year partnership has been nothing short of impressive.

They have risen from No.264 to No.11 in the world rankings, and today’s semifinal victory over top seeds Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto, sees them reach their fifth final of 2022, of which they have won two.

It also keeps alive the possibility of Liu becoming just the second player behind Lee Yong Dae to win the season-ending finals with two different partners.

Liu won the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2018 with Li Jun Hu, and tomorrow will seek to lift a second end-of-year title against familiar foes Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan.

Liu/Ou and Ahsan/Setiawan meet again tomorrow.

Interestingly they have a 2-0 record against the Indonesians this year, including victory on Friday in their Group B clash 21-13 21-18.

Liu said of their match today: “In the first game I didn’t play very well, the Indonesians were much stronger. In the second game we were not playing well, so the Indonesians led that game. In the third game, we stepped it up and got ourselves over the line.

“The points were going back and forth and we were glad to come back at the end and win. Ou played very well today. The main thing in matches like this is to try to control yourself, try to relax. In the end, it’s who dares to play the risky shots and who makes less mistakes.

“Now we play the Daddies who are our idols. We respect them. Although they may look slow, they can still play.”

Ou added: “For the final, I wish for everything to be okay. The Daddies have more experience than us, but we’ll try to do our best.”

Ahsan/Setiawan themselves are also eyeing more history, with a fourth finals triumph on the cards, their first being all the way back in 2013.

Ahsan/Setiawan toughed it out against Malaysia’s Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi 17-21 21-13 21-19.


→ Day 4 Results

Sister Bond Takes Aimsaards Through

Sister Bond Takes Aimsaards Through

Thai sisters Benyapa and Nuntakarn Aimsaard put other pairs on notice with an impressive 21-15 21-6 win over top seeds Jeong Na Eun and Kim Hye Jeong to seal their place in the knockout phase of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2022.

Women’s Doubles Group A Standings

The win sees them top Group A with Korea’s Jeong and Kim scraping through in second with superior games won and lost over fellow Thais Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai.

Nuntakarn, 23, said of their performance: “I really didn’t expect to reach the semifinals, and this is our first ever HSBC BWF World Tour Finals appearance. I’m feeling very excited and very happy at the moment.  Most players walk onto court with their playing partners, but the difference here is I enter a match with my sister.

“There is so much trust between us. There’s no need for me to tell her things. She knows. We have the sensibility to know what to do. Everything is about trust and belief.”

Nuntakarn (left) and Benyapa in sync on court.

Benyapa, 20, thanked the fans for given them that extra boost today.

“I want to thank everyone for their support, all the fans in the stadium and the international fans supporting us on TV. What is also important is that we really want to continue enjoying playing and we want to entertain the fans and hope the fans can enjoy the game with us. We play with fun in our hearts,” she said.

Nuntakarn added their mother had played a key role it the result.

“We have spoken to our mum and she said just to continue playing and enjoying things, and not put too much pressure on ourselves. She’s proud of us no matter what.”

In women’s double Group B, both Chinese pairs progressed to the semis as Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan defeated Apriyani Rahayu/Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti 21-16 21-16, while Zhang Shu Xian/Zheng Yu accounted for Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan 21-19 20-22 21-9.

→ Day 3 Results

Christie Digs Deep to Prevail Over Loh

Christie Digs Deep to Prevail Over Loh

Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie kept his chances alive of progressing to the knockout stage of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2022 with a gutsy victory over Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew.

The world No.5 saved two match points in the second game before overpowering Loh in the third.

Here was his reaction:

“I thank God that I’m still alive and I’m still in the competition. It’s still all to fight for tomorrow. I want this and I want to go to the semifinals. Loh played really well. I watched his match against Chou and he’s unbelievable. He’s got speed, power, and defence. He’s pretty perfect.

“I had some opportunities in the first game but I thought he played well. In the second game, I tried my best and it worked. I really don’t know how I beat Loh today. Each time I play him it’s a tough match. When I played him in Manila earlier this year, the conditions were almost the same with a lot of drift and fast shuttles. It’s not easy to play Loh.

“I think I still have 90 per cent left in the tank. I’ll recover today and hopefully, tomorrow, it’s a full tank.”


→ Day 2 Results

Honour the Genius While We Can

Honour the Genius While We Can

What a delight and privilege it is to watch Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan still dominate the court.

It’s like we’re invited to their private show and all those in witness are secretly privy to their brilliance, perhaps unknowingly aware of the true weight of history being recorded in front of them.

Treat this as a warning to not take for granted this magic that you see. The ageless wonders are writing a chapter that will unlikely be repeated.

At the end of it all – whenever that may come – their numbers will stack up with the best. Maybe just an Olympic medal as a pair missing from their mantle!

But what makes them so special, so unrivalled, so beautiful to watch is not just their speed, or flair, or supreme skill. It’s that splendid chemistry that words cannot really do justice.

Artists in action.

Their synchronicity is uncanny. The way they manoeuvre their way around the court – albeit a little slower and less dynamic these days – and flow into each other shots is otherworldly in comparison to their peers.

No one does it better. Two men expertly performing their craft in near-perfect unison, with seemingly endless ease, hooked up to the same badminton brain, receiving genius-level nerve endings, telling them to push this way, drive that way, smash cross-court, dink at the net.

They may not always get it right. Their level of execution the difference between win and loss. But amazingly, event with their vintage, a rare off day never seems to deter them from their badminton mantra.

See it. Hit it. Trust it.

Take last night for example! Requiring just a mere 32 minutes to blow world champions Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik off the court. No respite, no mercy. Just a badminton barrage. This coming off a defeat against the same opponents at the World Championships a few months back in August.

“We attacked from in front. It’s a bit windy, but fast enough, so we attacked, attacked,” said Setiawan.

No lingering doubts, no dent in confidence. A new day, a new hall, a clean slate – another chance to play their perfect game.

And they do all this, mind you, with the same trademark smile from Hendra, and determined glare from Ahsan, that have warmed the hearts of so many fans year on end. It’s the same expression win, lose or draw.

What’s sad is it might take another two decades or more for us to see another pair with the same genius and guile – and zero degrees of separation – than we get with Ahsan and Setiawan; giving us even more reason two enjoy the two legends this week in Bangkok.

What we need to do is stand up and appreciate that this is once in a lifetime stuff, not just rare to badminton, but in all of sports. There are few sporting duos that have demonstrated such an instinctive chemistry.

When you speak to those in the know – commentators, coaches, fellow players – there is an underlying appreciation of their superiority.

But when you witness them play like they did last night – at the ages of 35 and 38 respectively – it’s important we all get on the tallest tower and sound out their virtuosity while we still can.

→ Day 1 Results

Motivated Tunjung Upstages Chen

Motivated Tunjung Upstages Chen

Women’s singles Group A became even more intriguing after Gregoria Mariska Tunjung’s impressive victory over top qualifier Chen Yu Fei, as the last player into the field landed the first major blow on Day 1 of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2022 in Bangkok.

Many had predicted Tunjung to struggle in a group boasting Chen, Akane Yamaguchi and An Se Young, everyone except the Olympic champion that is.

“All three in my group are strong opponents. I lost my most recent matches to Akane Yamaguchi and An Se Young. Also, I can’t afford to underestimate Tunjung, although this is her first Finals,” Chen said at Monday night’s gala dinner.

For Tunjung it was about using that underdog status and lessons learned from her last outing against Chen to form a game plan that would challenge the world No.4.

“Being drawn against them [Chen, Yamaguchi, An], didn’t bother me. The pressure is on them and not me. I knew I had a big opportunity this week as I have played all three recently,” a delighted Tunjung said after the match.

“I definitely have the motivation to perform better than them.”

Tunjung scored her second career victory over Chen.

The world No.18, who snuck into the Top 8 for Bangkok with a runner-up effort at the SATHIO GROUP Australian Open 2022 last month, came out firing in the first game taking it 21-9.

Chen levelled the contest 21-14 in the second before Tunjung’s consistent pressure, speed and movement of the shuttle helped her get the best of Chen in the closing stages.

“Chen was clearly not at her best in the first game. Her strategy wasn’t there. So, I tried to pressure her and keep focused and not think about the result.

“I can’t [celebrate yet] and see this as a big win. I have two more matches after this. They are also tough and I need to focus on them.”

A frustrated Chen said of her performance: “I couldn’t control the shuttle and therefore couldn’t control the game. But Gregoria played very well and kept pushing the shuttle to the sides making it very tough for me.”

World champion Yamaguchi went to the top of Group A with an emphatic victory over An 21-18 21-16 displaying sublime shots such as this.

→ Day 1 Results

Axelsen, Zheng and Huang Rewarded For Stellar Seasons

Axelsen, Zheng and Huang Rewarded For Stellar Seasons

Viktor Axelsen and Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong’s extraordinary dominance this season was honoured as they won the BWF Player of the Year Awards in their respective categories.

Axelsen won BWF Male Player of the Year for sweeping nearly everything in his path. During the eligibility period from 1 November 2021 to 31 October 2022, Axelsen won nine titles, including his second TotalEnergies BWF World Championships crown, which was achieved on the back of three consecutive HSBC BWF World Tour titles.

“Winning this award at the end of the year means a great deal. It’s a recap of the whole year, and when you win this award with so many great nominees and amazing opponents, I’m really, really happy. Thank you so much to all the guys who thought that I deserved this,” Axelsen said.

Denmark’s Axelsen was named for the honour ahead of 2021 world champion Loh Kean Yew and Asian champion Lee Zee Jia.

Like Axelsen, China’s Zheng/Huang were nearly unbeatable in mixed doubles, with nine titles, and received the BWF Pair of the Year ahead of Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai, Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan and Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik.

The Chinese enjoyed a glorious winning streak of seven titles in succession, culminating with their third World Championships gold.

Akane Yamaguchi took home BWF Female Player of the Year honours.

The BWF Female Player of the Year was won by Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi, who achieved the rare honour of winning back-to-back World Championships titles within a nine-month period. She also won two other titles – the YONEX All England Open 2022 and the DAIHATSU YONEX Japan Open 2022. The other contenders were An Se Young and Tai Tzu Ying.

“It’s the first time receiving this award and I feel really honoured and happy,” said Yamaguchi.

Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto’s superb consistency through 2022, when they made eight finals and won four, saw them named the BWF Most Improved Players of the Year. The Indonesians won the honour ahead of HS Prannoy and Jeong Na Eun/Kim Hye Jeong.

Japanese 21-year-old Kodai Naraoka, who had a meteoric rise in 2022, won the Eddy Choong Most Promising Player of the Year. Naraoka made four finals and won the Vietnam Open.

“Winning this award motivates me to reach a new level and win the next competition and become an international star in the coming years. I’ve been working on a lot of things this year and working hard, so this award makes me very happy,” said Naraoka.

Big things ahead for Kodai Naraoka.

In Para badminton, the BWF Awards Commission gave special allowance for the HULIC DAIHATSU BWF Para Badminton World Championships 2022, which concluded on 6 November, to be included in the list of eligible tournaments.

WH2 world champion and reigning Paralympic champion Daiki Kajiwara, winner of 10 gold and four bronze medals overall, was named BWF Male Para Badminton Player of the Year. The Japanese earned the nod of the BWF Awards Commission ahead of Cheah Liek Hou, Lucas Mazur, Chu Man Kai, Pramod Bhagat, and Choi Jungman.

India’s SU5 world champion Manisha Ramadass, with 11 gold and five bronze medals overall, was named BWF Female Para Badminton Player of the Year. Other contenders were Nithya Sre Sumathy, Sarina Satomi, Giuliana Poveda Flores, Manasi Girishchandra Joshi, and Pilar Jauregui.

Germany’s Thomas Wandschneider and Rick Cornell Hellmann, world champions in WH1-WH2 and winners of three gold, two silver and a bronze, were named BWF Para Badminton Pair of the Year, capping a fine year for Wandschneider, who became the oldest Para badminton world champion at 58.

“It’s very important to keep consistent in sport, so I hope to keep competing for the next four to six years. I’m the oldest player in the world to win the BWF Para Badminton World Championships and I hope it’s possible I win the same title at the Paris 2024 Paralympics,” said Wandschneider.

Fredy Setiawan/Khalimatus Sadiyah, Lucas Mazur/Faustine Noel, Muhammad Ikhwan Ramli/Noor Azwan Noorlan, Sarina Satomi/Yuma Yamazaki and Subhan Subhan/Rina Marlina were the other contenders.

BWF Player of the Year Awards 2022 Nominees

BWF Player of the Year Awards 2022 Nominees

The season’s top performing figures have been shortlisted as nominees for the prestigious BWF Player of the Year awards for 2022.

The annual awards ceremony will be held on Monday 5 December in conjunction with the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2022 gala dinner.

Nominees were selected based on performances in the 2021/2022 season from 1 November 2021 to 31 October 2022 and recognises achievements of our elite badminton and Para badminton players and pairs in eight categories.

Olympic and world champion Viktor Axelsen, 2021 world champion Loh Kean Yew, and Asian champion Lee Zii Jia are the three nominees for Male Player of the Year, while world No.2 An Se Young vies with 2021 and 2022 world champion Akane Yamaguchi, and world No.4 Tai Tzu Ying for Female Player of the Year.

BWF Male Player of the Year

BWF Female Player of the Year

The Pair of the Year category will be contested by Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik, Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan, Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong.

The Most Improved Player of the Year will see four contenders: Thomas Cup hero Prannoy H. S., Japan Open champions Jeong Na Eun/Kim Hye Jeong, and four-time winners on the circuit this year, Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto.

BWF Pair of the Year

BWF Most Improved

Young talents Alex Lanier, Kodai Naraoka and Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto/Lisa Ayu Kusumawati are contenders for the Eddy Choong Most Promising Player of the Year Award.

BWF Most Promising

In Para badminton, the BWF Awards Commission gave special allowance for the BWF Para Badminton World Championships 2022, which concluded on 6 November, to be included in the list of eligible tournaments.

There are three award categories, with six nominees in each, and features several Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games gold medallists including Daiki Kajiwara, Cheah Liek Hou, Pramod Bhagat, Lucas Mazur, and Sarina Satomi.

BWF Male Para Badminton Player of the Year

BWF Female Para Badminton Player of the Year

BWF Para Badminton Pair of the Year









Para World Champs: Ukrainians’ Home Away From Home

Para World Champs: Ukrainians’ Home Away From Home

Ukraine’s Oksana Kozyna was a picture of concentration on the eve of the HULIC DAIHATSU BWF Para Badminton World Championships 2022, but it wasn’t only for her game the following day.

She was trying to master the #ShuttleBalanceChallenge made viral on social media over the past few weeks.

Oksana masters the #ShuttleBalanceChallenge

Kozyna, who competes in the women’s SL3 category, is one of three Ukrainian Para badminton players on show at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo.

Her country has been in the news due to the ongoing war, which forced Kozyna and her colleagues to find refuge in France, in the northern town of Lille.

“At the moment our Para badminton team is based in France,” Kozyna says. “I do want to go back to Ukraine but it depends on the situation there.”

Her teammate Oleksandr Chyrkov, taking part in the men’s SL3 class, made a strong impression with a victory over three games in his opening singles match. He returned to the familiar surroundings of Tokyo where he participated in the Paralympics, albeit under very different circumstances.

“I was playing on the same court as I was last year during the Paralympics,” Chyrkov said.

“We came to France in May this year. The situation is a bit better now back home but we don’t have the resources there to to train.”

The pair, along with Nina Kozlova competing in the women’s SH6 events, are in Tokyo with coach Zozulia Dmytro, and have found support from the French Parabadminton team as well as the Ukrainian community living there over the past five months.

“They were worried about us because we didn’t have much when we came over here, money, gas, food,” Kozyna said.

“When you come to France, it is difficult because you don’t know the language, you cannot do work and it is not easy.

“But the people have helped us. The Ukrainian people who have been living in France for a long time have given us a lot of kindness and support.”

Chyrkov won his opening men’s singles SL3 match on Day 1.

For Chyrkov, these World Championships mean a whole lot more than the thrill of the competition.

“These World Championships are very important for all Ukrainians because we have a lot of workers and staff who have been commissioned by the military,” Chyrkov said.

“They are out there, so we can be here.”

Kozyna echoes those sentiments.

“I’m here because this is what I’m meant to do (play badminton). Even though there is a war on in Ukraine, I have God with me.”

The challenges of living and training away from home notwithstanding, both Kozyna and Chyrkov are determined to prosper in Tokyo.

“I would like to get the gold medal,” Kozyna said, not mincing any words.

→ Results (Day 1)

→ Order of Play (Day 2)













Destination Copenhagen 2023

Destination Copenhagen 2023
There will be massive attention on Viktor Axelsen when he begins his title defence in Copenhagen.

Fans seeking to watch the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2023 live in Copenhagen can celebrate soon with Early Bird tickets going on sale from 18-23 October during the Denmark Open 2022 presented by VICTOR.

Regular ticket sales commence 1 November 2022 at 12pm CET.

Copenhagen has a special association with the World Championships. This is the fifth time that the Danish capital will be hosting the event.

An acrobatics show before finals day at Copenhagen 2014, when Denmark last hosted the event.

As one might expect, there is no better-informed badminton audience than in Denmark, as they combine their appreciation of history with their day-to-day involvement in their local badminton clubs, which are an essential part of Danish community life.

A Badminton Powerhouse

For a country of the size and population of Denmark, the Scandinavian country punches above its weight in badminton. The Danes are third overall among the successful teams at the World Championships, having won nearly a dozen gold medals. With three gold medals at the inaugural edition, they were off to a great start, and they did maintain their edge over the decades.

Lene Køppen and Steen Skovgaard celebrate their win at the inaugural World Championships in 1977.

At the third edition, which was held in Copenhagen, men’s doubles duo Steen Fladberg/Jesper Helledie achieved the memorable feat of winning the gold on their home turf. Other Danish winners over the years were Thomas Lund (1993 & 1995)/Marlene Thomsen (1995), Peter Rasmussen (1997), Camilla Martin (1999), Lars Paaske/Jonas Rasmussen (2003), Thomas Laybourn/Kamilla Rytter Juhl (2009), and Viktor Axelsen (2017 & 2022). Of them, Camilla Martin matched Fladberg/Helledie’s feat of winning the gold at home.

Man of the Moment

Of particular interest to Danish fans in Copenhagen 2023 will be the presence of Viktor Axelsen, the most dominant player over the last two years. The tall Dane will be gunning for his third world title. The last time the World Championships were held in Denmark – in 2014 – Axelsen had won a bronze.

Then there are other home-grown players who will look to peak in Copenhagen, such as Anders Antonsen, Rasmus Gemke, Mia Blichfeldt, Line Christophersen, Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, Sara Thygesen/Maiken Fruergaard and Mathias Christiansen/Alexandra Boje.

For fans from overseas, the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2023 will be a lavish spread of great badminton. Besides the action, of course, fans can delight in the tourist attractions of Denmark.

A Crucial Year

The World Championships 2023 is poised at a crucial juncture for those aiming to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. With a year to go for Paris 2024, the contenders will be looking not just for a morale-boosting performance in Copenhagen, but vital ranking points. Copenhagen 2023 is set to be the highlight of the season!

For tickets, please click here.

Wendy Zhang Makes a Mark

Wendy Zhang Makes a Mark

It has been an encouraging season so far for Wen Yu (Wendy) Zhang, currently the highest ranked Canadian behind Michelle Li.

The world No.55 was runner-up at the Ukraine Open, third at the Orleans Masters, and quarterfinalist at the Pan Am Individual Championships. She struck big at the Uber Cup, where she beat world No.19 Kim Ga Eun – her first defeat of a top 20 player.

At her first BWF World Championships, Zhang made the second round beating Myanmar’s Thet Htar Thuzar before she ran into the formidable figure of Carolina Marin.

Wendy Zhang

“It’s exciting. It’s my very first World Championships,” said the 20-year-old. “Being here tells me that I am improving, that I am able to compete at a higher level. So for me, coming here was to study and learn from other top players, and hopefully to improve myself to get to another level.”

In her short career so far, Zhang has already impressed in the team competitions. At last year’s Uber Cup, playing third singles against Denmark, she beat the higher-ranked Line Kjaersfeldt in three games. A day later she helped Canada complete a 4-1 rout over Malaysia, with another three-game win.

At this year’s Uber Cup, she showed commendable composure facing Kim Ga Eun, recovering from a five-point deficit in the third game to take the match 22-20.

“I just looked at it like every other game I played,” Zhang said. “I was just trying to be patient and confident in myself. And I was just trying my best to play every rally like it is 0-0. I didn’t really think that much about who she was, or where she’s from. I was just trying to enjoy myself on court.”

National coach Jennifer Lee, who was in Zhang’s corner at the last Uber Cup, commends her attitude.

“She’s coachable, she listens and accepts your comments during the match,” Lee says. “I like the questions she asks during the intervals of a match.”

Lee has marked out some areas of improvement. “She has a lot of deceptive skills. Young players tend to use deception too much, but I’ve told her to use deception sparingly, like maybe she can use it once for every five or six regular shots. She also needs to build strength physically, in her lower and upper body. Against Carolina, all the points she won was through skill, not speed or power.”

Like other upcoming Canadian players, Zhang looks up to Michelle Li, for long the face of the country’s challenge in women’s singles.

Wendy Zhang

“Of course, she’s an inspiration for me, I look up to her,” says Zhang. “There’s a lot I can learn from her. It just makes me want to push myself to train harder and one day become someone like her, who can be at the top.”

One problem in training, she says, is the level of sparring she has in her club, which has mostly recreational players. Like many of her peers, she’s considering training stints in Europe or Asia.

“In my club there are not many people competing internationally. So for me, it’s pretty hard because technically I’m like the only one. So sometimes I kind of question myself on what I’m doing, since I’m just basically by myself most of the time,” she says.

“When I was younger I trained in a province in China. I actually like that kind of training, because I believe they helped me to improve faster, and to get to a higher level faster too… I hope I can train overseas soon, and have better sparring. I want to be better, and win more tournaments, and compete at a higher level.”


Kunlavut Vitidsarn made the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time.



Kunlavut Vitidsarn



Viktor Axelsen









赵芸蕾是她那个时代最全能的双打运动员。 在很长一段时间内,她在混双和女双两个项目中的统治地位无人能及。退役后, 她成为了史上最优秀的羽毛球运动员之一——细数她职业生涯中所获得的冠军头衔,包括两枚奥运会金牌和五枚世锦赛金牌。

Zhao Yunlei (right) with Tian Qing at London 2012 Olympics after winning women’s doubles gold.




赛场上的赵芸蕾总是充满信心,她对比赛有着敏锐的洞察,她出色的攻防技巧,以及时刻保持冷静应对突发情况的头脑,帮助她赢得了多次比赛。其中,在她与张楠搭档的混双以及与田卿搭档的女双比赛中表现尤为突出。尽管在高强度的赛事环境中同时参加两个项目的比赛,然而赵芸蕾似乎享受压力,在伦敦奥运会和两届世锦赛上取得了双冠王。 她成为唯一一位在一届奥运会上拿到两枚金牌的羽毛球运动员,也是唯一一位在连续两届世锦赛上获得两个双打冠军的羽毛球运动员。

Click Here for the BWF Hall of Fame Honour Roll


BWF World Tour Hosts 2023-2026 Announced

BWF World Tour Hosts 2023-2026 Announced

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) is excited to reveal there will be an additional four stops on the BWF World Tour from 2023 to 2026 as part of expansion plans announced today.

The 31-event new World Tour calendar, which includes the year end BWF World Tour Finals, will see more Super 1000, Super 750, and Super 500 tournaments, bringing greater prize money opportunities for players.

There are 5 Super 1000 and 6 Super 750 tournaments.

There are 9 Super 500 and 11 Super 300 tournaments.

The announcement caps an exciting bid process which saw healthy interest from all host bidders.

BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said the BWF World Tour 2023-2026 promises to elevate the status of badminton globally.

“Badminton is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world with all-time high participation and fan numbers. More tournaments give us a fantastic opportunity to enhance the sport’s reach around the world, not only in established territories, but into new ones as well. It also allows for more players to enter our elite circuit and gain valuable experience,” he said.

“We were very encouraged by the large number of high-quality bids we received and that bodes well for a bigger and better tour across the next four years. It enables us to commit to higher prize money, greater coverage on television and online, and spectacular presentation, all contributing to an enhanced world-class sports product that we seek.”

Lund confirmed there would be no change to current player commitment obligations.


  • The Malaysia Open joins the All England Open, China Open, and Indonesia Open as the tour’s highest level Super 1000 tournaments.
  • The India Open and Singapore Open have been bumped to Super 750 status. Existing Super 750 hosts from China, Denmark, France, and Japan have maintained their status.
  • The Super 500 level welcomes host cities from three new continents with tournaments in Australia, Canada, and Finland, joining tournaments in Hong Kong China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and an additional new host in Japan.
  • Two existing Super 100 tournaments have been elevated to the BWF World Tour Super 300 level: HYLO Open and Orléans Masters.

The expansion is bankrolled by a significant investment from BWF and commercial partner Infront over four years.

A host for the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals will be announced at a later date. BWF Tour Super 100 hosts will also be announced separately.

BWF World Tour Hosts 2023-2026 Overview

BWF Hall of Fame 2022 | Liliyana Natsir

BWF Hall of Fame 2022 | Liliyana Natsir

Indonesian mixed doubles legend Liliyana Natsir is the latest inductee into the BWF Hall of Fame. The Olympic champion will be officially recognised at a ceremony during the EAST VENTURES Indonesia Open 2022 on Saturday 18 June.

Natsir won four mixed doubles World Championships titles with two different partners and achieved a career high at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games claiming mixed doubles gold.

Liliyana Natsir (right) and partner Tontowi Ahmad with their gold medals at Rio 2016.

BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer lauded Natsir’s achievements.

“It is a rare honour for an athlete to be named to the BWF Hall of Fame, and Liliyana Natsir richly deserves this accolade,” Høyer said.

“She was among the very best mixed doubles players throughout her career. With an Olympic gold and silver, and four World Championships gold medals, Liliyana built a stellar record.

“She was a delight to watch as she somehow made a very difficult art look easy. I congratulate her on making the BWF Hall of Fame, and I’m sure that she will continue to inspire many more generations.”

Liliyana Natsir

With her unique, unfussy style and tremendous record over more than a decade, Liliyana Natsir is a standout figure of world badminton. Natsir’s first major title was World Championships gold in 2005 with the technically gifted Nova Widianto. The duo had a string of successes, winning the World Cup and the Asian Championships the next year, another World Championships gold in 2007, before winning silver at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Natsir was then paired with Tontowi Ahmad and the two quickly established a strong partnership. Despite the change in style of her partner, Natsir adapted well. The new partnership won bronze at the 2011 World Championships before eclipsing that at the World Championships in 2013, taking gold from two match points down in the final, and the World Championships in 2017. Gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016, on top of three straight All England crowns, established Natsir in the pantheon of greats.

BWF Hall of Fame Honour Roll

Liliyana will be recognised at a ceremony at the Istora Senayan on Saturday 18 June.

  • 11am Lilyana Natsir Press Conference
  • 11.30am BWF Hall of Fame Ceremony

Where To Watch: EAST VENTURES Indonesia Open 2022

Where To Watch: EAST VENTURES Indonesia Open 2022

Also follow catch LIVE MATCHES on BWF TV.

** Check your local TV guides for broadcast times and details **

Where To Watch: DAIHATSU Indonesia Masters 2022

Where To Watch: DAIHATSU Indonesia Masters 2022






Also watch LIVE MATCHES on BWF TV.

** Check your local TV guides for broadcast times and details **





















Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baekcheol.


Shin Baekcheol.







Click here for results





Zhou Hao Dong and He Ji Ting provided the breakthrough for China.





Akane Yamaguchi kept Japan in the hunt.



Shi Yu Qi took advantage of an under-par Momota.


石宇奇在庆祝他2019年7月受伤复出后的最佳时刻时,承诺要比受伤前更好。“我放弃了第二局以恢复我的体力。我必须把所有的精力都放在第三局比赛上。我有90%的最佳状态。赢得比赛是一件很棒的事情,但我的目标不是回到以前的水平——我要达到以前水平的120% !”

Chen Qing Chen is mobbed by her teammates after the women’s doubles victory gave the title to China.


随着21-17 21-16的胜利,苏迪曼杯留在了中国。“奥运会之后,这个冠军让我们可以再次激励我们的队员,”张军说,“我们本届苏杯男双阵容上不是最完美的,对泰国和丹麦我们有一些困难,但我们决定让年轻球员上场,我们信任他们的能力,他们今天做的很好。”
Click here for Match Centre.


Kento Momota took time to find his game against Torjussen.

2021道达尔能源世界羽联苏迪曼杯总决赛 第三比赛日中,桃田贤斗率领的日本队5-0击败英格兰队,将与马来西亚队争夺小组头名位置。




Johnnie Torjussen.




本·莱恩和文迪不敌古贺辉/斋藤太一,没能阻止日本队。 山口茜以21-16/21-12击败霍尔顿,之后志田千阳/松山奈未在与布里奇/史密斯的比赛中直落两局,帮助日本队5-0完胜英格兰队。


Click here for Match Centre.

Download the Badminton4U app here.

Indonesia Masters: Wardoyo, Christie Provide Cheer for Hosts

Indonesia Masters: Wardoyo, Christie Provide Cheer for Hosts
Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo

On an otherwise disappointing day for the hosts, Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo, Jonatan Christie and Leo Rolly Carnando/Daniel Marthin kept the local interest alive at the DAIHATSU Indonesia Masters 2023.

The hosts suffered six losses in today’s quarterfinals. The most painful of those would be top seeds Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto’s failure to convert three match points against Liu Yu Chen/Ou Xuan Yi, with the Chinese prevailing in a thriller, 25-23 in the third.

Another blow was the loss of seventh seeds Apriyani Rahayu/Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti to Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai, with the Thais edging ahead after 84 minutes.

The day had started brightly for Indonesia, with Jonatan Christie outplaying Lakshya Sen 15-21 21-10 21-13. He was followed into the semifinals by compatriot Wardoyo, who shot past Brian Yang in straight games.

In the semifinals, Christie faces Shi Yu Qi, while Wardoyo takes on Ng Ka Long Angus.

Carnando/Marthin needed just 40 minutes to get past Keiichiro Matsui/Yoshinori Takeuchi and take their place in the semifinals, where they face second seeds Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi.

Other Highlights:

Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue

♦ After three straight quarterfinal exits, Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue made the semifinals beating Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Lai Jemie 21-16 21-19.

♦ An Se Young made it four wins in a row over Ratchanok Intanon as she beat last year’s runner-up, 21-15 21-15.

♦ Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan powered past Li Wen Mei/Liu Xuan Xuan to make their second straight semifinal.

Humans of Shuttle Time: Caroline M Vaughn

Humans of Shuttle Time: Caroline M Vaughn

This is the 37th story in our Humans of Shuttle Time series, in which we present the perspectives of those who work on badminton development at the grassroots level. Caroline M Vaughn, Shuttle Time National Coordinator of Barbados Badminton Association, recalls her long association with badminton.

Growing Up Years

I was born in the rural parish of St Andrew in Barbados as the last of 13 children. I first saw badminton when I was 11 during a PE lesson in secondary school.

When I first saw the courts I wondered what sport it was. It seemed quite easy and interesting to play, unlike some of the other sports that were introduced to me. The games master realised my potential and introduced me to the teacher who was responsible for coaching badminton. He taught me the basics of the sport and he created the path for me to the junior national programme.

Relationship with Badminton

My passion for badminton grew even greater when I represented Barbados at the regional championships (CAREBACO) in 1985 in Guyana at the age of 14 and continued on to the seniors. I loved the sport so much that I did a coaching course while in my first year at the senior level. I completed my competitive stage at 35. I decided to then focus on coaching at the beginners stage.

Caroline M Vaughn (left) with her trainees.

Memorable Events

My most memorable events were the regional championships and Pan Am Games where I received numerous medals. My most rewarding memory was winning gold at the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) in Guatemala in 1993 with my partner Argyle Maynard. Even today it stays in my mind. Playing badminton, I made lots of friends of all walks of life to whom I can reach out for guidance about badminton, whether for coaching advice or just a friendly conversation.

What Badminton Means

Because of badminton I secured a coaching job at the National Sports Council (NSC) which allows me to teach badminton at primary and secondary schools across the island of Barbados. It’s also rewarding for me to work with the junior developmental programme and national junior squad and my club junior programme.

Developing Badminton in the Community

I was able to take people from the grassroots level to national representation. I also helped in changing the lives of many, which allowed them to see the world through the sport of badminton and raise their self-esteem.

Lessons from Shuttle Time

Shuttle Time has broadened the awareness of PE teachers who can now introduce badminton in their day-to-day PE classes which helps in developing the sport at the grassroots level.

Previous Stories in This Series

Humans of Shuttle Time: Sam Paterson

Humans of Shuttle Time: Deki Tshomo

Humans of Shuttle Time: Hadeel Mohammad Alomari

Humans of Shuttle Time: Daiverson Ferrari Rodrigues

Humans of Shuttle Time: Ammar Awad

Humans of Shuttle Time: Carolin Ruth

Humans of Shuttle Time: Caroline Brial

Humans of Shuttle Time: Danny Ten

Humans of Shuttle Time: Mohlala Mopeli

Humans of Shuttle Time: Tatiana Petrova

Humans of Shuttle Time: Levente Nagy-Szabó

Humans of Shuttle Time: Kumon Tarawa

Humans of Shuttle Time: Didier Nourry

Humans of Shuttle Time: Joseph Devenecia

Humans of Shuttle Time: Su Ying Lau

Humans of Shuttle Time: Erin Walklate

Humans of Shuttle Time: Bukasa Mukoma Marcel

Humans of Shuttle Time: Luis Fernando Montilla

Humans of Shuttle Time: Artur Niyazov

Humans of Shuttle Time: Galkhuu Zulbaatar

Humans of Shuttle Time: Zuzana Rajdugova

Humans of Shuttle Time: Milan Barbir

Humans of Shuttle Time: Nargis Nabieva

Humans of Shuttle Time: Hannes Andersson

Humans of Shuttle Time: Merlie Tolentino

Humans of Shuttle Time: Nikhil Chandra Dhar

Humans of Shuttle Time: Geoffrey Shigoli 

Humans of Shuttle Time: Erik Betancourt Luna

Humans of Shuttle Time: Richard Ssali Kaggwa

Humans of Shuttle Time: Azizbek Madjitov

Humans of Shuttle Time: Elie Jean

Humans of Shuttle Time: Danielle Whiteside

Humans of Shuttle Time: Oscar Alejandro Vera Suarez

Humans of Shuttle Time: Sandra Low

Humans of Shuttle Time: Dorji

Humans of Shuttle Time: Genevieve Cutter




















“我们打得很快,他们移动起来了,他们在前三拍上准备得更充分,抓了我们好几次。” 苏伟译补充说。


“这是双重的喜悦,因为我们赢得了冠军,而且今天是中国的新年,马来西亚组合是艰难的对手,但我们赢了,因为我们每天都在进步。” 王昶说道。






由于丹麦选手(Rasmus Gemke)因伤退赛,原本需打资格赛的石宇奇被替补晋级到了正赛。

以及在印度公开赛闯入决赛的昆拉武特和安赛龙也相继退赛,达玛新(Sitthikom Thammasin)和翁泓阳晋级正赛。


BWF Push for Athlete Education, Dual Career

BWF Push for Athlete Education, Dual Career
BWF Development Manager Erica Khoo (standing) and BWF Development Officer Tracy Tan address a focus group session at the BWF World Junior Championships.

With young players devoting most of their time to training and playing, competing in the ‘real world’ beyond the badminton court poses a challenge, particularly after their playing career. To ease their path, BWF has initiated projects that help them pursue educational and alternate career goals even during their competitive career.

To apprise players of the various projects and available resources, the BWF World Junior Championships last October was the perfect opportunity, especially as this cohort is on the verge of embarking on a playing career. During the fortnight of the championships, BWF engaged with around 330 players from 27 Member Associations, providing them detailed information on the resources they could avail.

This was facilitated both through direct engagement at the venue and focus group sessions, with BWF Development Manager Erica Khoo and BWF Development Officer Tracy Tan interacting with players and providing an overview of BWF’s offerings. Ten focus groups were held, and the sessions were made lively through a fun quiz and gift takeaways.

One of the many teams that participated in the workshop.

“By speaking to them directly, we were able to identify if is there’s any loophole in communicating with the players and then be able to provide assistance, at least for those who are interested,” said Khoo.

Young players were particularly interested in BWF’s dual-career pathway, developed with World Academy of Sport (WAoS), which offers Athlete Certificate, Bachelor of International Sport Management degree and Postgraduate Certificate in International Sport Management. The usefulness of these programmes, especially the Athlete Certificate course, in terms of building skills such as time management, navigating social media, and focus on athletes’ health and wellbeing, was explained. Participants were also thrilled to know that BWF was offering full scholarships for those competing at the World Juniors to complete the course.

There has been a steady rise in players taking up the Post Graduate Certificate and Bachelor Degree in International Sport Management, with the likes of Mahoor Shahzad (Pakistan), Gronya Somerville (Australia), Adham Hatem Elgamal, Nour Youssri (both Egypt), Ritah Asiimwe (Uganda) and Georges Julien Paul (Mauritius) having already signed up.

BWF offers several programmes for those players interested in academics and a dual career.

A likely career pathway for players was in badminton itself, in roles such as tournament organiser, national administrator, coach, Technical Official or Shuttle Time. International players had the advantage of being able to do a Fast Track Coaching Course under the BWF Coach Education pathway programme.

With players and teams responding positively, BWF will aim to reach out this year to more players at different events and levels including Para badminton, Super 100, International Challenge, International Series and junior events, apart from the next BWF World Junior Championships.

“We do have a lot of continental competitions for juniors, Para badminton and the seniors in 2023. So there will be opportunities for us to work closely with the Continental Confederations to deliver the activation,” said Khoo.

Subscription 2023 – Due 31 January

Subscription 2023 – Due 31 January

This is a reminder that BWF Subscriptions 2023 are due next Tuesday, 31 January 2023.

Please note that players cannot be entered into competitions after 31 January 2023 if the subscription is not paid by the deadline (Clause 26.6 of the BWF constitution).

Please make sure your Association’s payment is completed before the deadline Tuesday.

Subscription letters and invoices were sent to Members in November 2022. Please contact Chia Lee [email protected] if you have any questions.


New Kids on the Block Continue to Sizzle

New Kids on the Block Continue to Sizzle

Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang’s performances over the last eight months have been nothing short of a sensation.

With their YONEX SUNRISE India Open 2023 win on Sunday, they continued to blaze the trail they lit up less than a year ago.

When they teamed up in May 2022, Liang hadn’t played international badminton for two years. Wang Chang, who’s had a fan following since his junior days, had middling results with partner Di Zi Jian.

Yet, at only their second event together, at the Indonesia Masters 2022, they came through qualifying to finish runners-up, beating along the way such pairs as Liu Yu Chen/Ou Xuan Yi, Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik, and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.

Then at the Malaysia Masters 2022, another giant-killing run ensued, with the qualifiers felling Choi Sol Gyu/Kim Won Ho and then-world champions Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi, before falling to Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan in the semifinals.

Wang Chang and Liang Wei Keng after winning the Japan Open last year.

They didn’t have to wait long for their first World Tour title – it came at the Japan Open in September. Once again the list of victims was impressive: Lee Jhe-Huei/Yang Po-Hsuan, Ahsan/Setiawan, Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto, Choi/Kim and in the final, Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen.

This year, after finishing runners-up at the season-opening PETRONAS Malaysia Open 2023, Liang and Wang went all the way in India, outwitting world champions Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik in the final in a come-from-behind effort. The Chinese appeared to be fading at 7-12 when they turned things around.

Adapting to the Malaysians’ quick game at the forecourt, the Chinese replied in kind, staying sharp on the flat, rapid exchanges. From the back, they were, like other top Chinese pairs, able to throw in enormous punches, with Liang in particular untiring with his big jump smashes.

“We had a lead, and they suddenly changed their gameplan,” said Chia. “The Chinese players are all quite similar, but they (Liang/Wang) are really strong on their style. They’ve been playing quite well, and they can make changes in the game when required.”

“We were playing quick, they moved up and they were more ready on the first three shots and they caught us a few times,” added his partner.

Whether this young pair’s momentum lasts remains to be seen, for men’s doubles now has an extremely competitive field, with at least the top 20 pairs capable of beating each other. For the moment, Wang Chang was content with having won the India Open as a present for Chinese New Year.

“It’s double delight as we won the title and it’s Chinese New Year,” said Wang. “The Malaysians are tough opponents but we came through as we have been improving day after day.”

Indonesia Masters: Former Champs Face Off in Opener

Indonesia Masters: Former Champs Face Off in Opener

Former Indonesia Masters champions Kento Momota and Shi Yu Qi have been drawn to face each other in the opening round of this edition of the tournament

Shi was winner in 2016, while Momota won the title in 2021.

The former world No.1 and No.2, who clashed in numerous high-profile matches including the World Championships final in 2018, have slipped down the rankings in recent times (Momota is No.18, Shi is No.33).

Shi, originally in the qualifying draw, was promoted to the main draw due to the withdrawal of Rasmus Gemke, who suffered an injury at the YONEX SUNRISE India Open last week.

The men’s singles finalists at the India Open, Kunlavut Vitidsarn and Viktor Axelsen, too withdrew, and were replaced by Sitthikom Thammasin and Wong Hong Yang respectively.

Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino, mixed doubles champions at the India Open, also withdrew.

The players/pairs promoted to the main draw are:

Women’s Singles

1.Clara Azurmendi (in place of Chen Yu Fei)

2.Aakarshi Kashyap (in place of Lalinrat Chaiwan)

Men’s Doubles

1.Ishaan Bhatnagar/Sai Pratheek (Goh Sze Fei/Nur Izzuddin)

2.Yong Jin/Na Sung Seung (Lu Ching Yao/Yang Po Han)

3.Chaloempon Charoenkitamorn/Nanthakarn Yordphaisong (MR Arjun/Dhruv Kapila)

4.Sabar Karyaman Gutama/Moh Reza Pahlevi Isfahani (Jeppe Bay/Lasse Moelhede)

Women’s Doubles

1.Tanisha Crasto/Ashwini Ponnappa (Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara)

2.Tan Ning/Xia Yu Ting (Gabriela Stoeva/Stefani Stoeva)

3.Ng Tsz Yau/Tsang Hiu Tan (Zheng Yu/Du Yue)

4.Allison Lee/Francesca Corbett (Shruti Mishra/Sikki Reddy)

Mixed Doubles

1.Mathias Thyrri/Amalie Magelund (Terry Hee/Tan Wei Han)

2.Alexander Lindeman/Josephine Wu (Mikkel Mikkelsen/Rikke Soby)

3.Vinson Chiu/Jennie Gai (Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino)

India Open: The Graph Keeps Rising for An Se Young

India Open: The Graph Keeps Rising for An Se Young

It isn’t often that Akane Yamaguchi‘s game unravels in the third game of a long match. Yet, faced with the unrelenting consistency and defensive stonewalling of An Se Young, the two-time world champion fell apart in the latter stages of the final at the YONEX SUNRISE India Open 2023.

An Se Young’s rising career graph saw another spike, with the Korean striking back after four straight losses to Yamaguchi. That, and her semifinal defeat of He Bing Jiao for the first time, meant that the Korean has taken a few more strides towards dominating women’s singles, which otherwise has been a closely-contested battleground between the top eight or so players.

On Sunday, after an even second game, Yamaguchi’s game fell quickly. Was it the cumulative physical effort of the last two weeks, or had An Se Young made a dent in the mental infallibility of the world No.1?

An Se Young’s winning moment.

Yamaguchi had a word of appreciation for her vanquisher. “An Se Young is in the same position as me as she played ten matches in two weeks, but she could keep her concentration quite well, so I’m impressed with that,” she said.

“It was good to be in the final. I played quite solid in the first game, but from the second I lost my focus. The shuttles were quite slow, and I could control the rallies well. But in the final game, my endurance wasn’t good enough. Of course I wanted to be champion, but am satisfied with the second place.”

As for the champion, the India Open victory adds to her impressive resume.

“I knew the match would be long. So even after I lost the first game I was prepared to play three games. It was a fast game, and both of us were pushed hard. I played quick in the first game, and then I decided to play at a slower pace and focussed on cutting down on mistakes.

“I was enjoying my match and that helped. While I lost the last four matches to Akane, I kept learning from those losses.”