Shaunna Li finished the surprise winner at VICTOR Oceania Championships 2023 after upsetting top seed Tiffany Ho in the final in Auckland today.
The New Zealander, at 19 the youngest women’s singles titlist since Australian Verdet Kessler (also 19) in 2014, triumphed 24-22 18-21 21-12 in 67 minutes.
It was the day’s longest match, with three other finals decided in less than 30 minutes each.
“I probably got too comfortable and started rushing my shots,” Li told Badminton Oceania about squandering six match points in the first game.
“I was lucky I could reset (when) she was getting momentum. (There on) I just had to focus on one point at a time. I didn’t want to think too far ahead,” added the first women’s singles winner from New Zealand in 11 years.
On her celebrations, the 2019 Oceania junior champion said: “Some ice-cream tonight … Duck Island ice-cream. At least my bank account will look a little better.”
New Zealand also aced the men’s singles event, leaving Australia to sweep doubles.
Abhinav Manota wrestled back the crown he won in 2020 from last year’s winner Edward Lau in an all-Kiwi affair, winning 21-12 21-16 against his training mate.
“We play each other all the time. It does get a little bit same-same, but we try and push each other. I wanted to win, it doesn’t change where I’m at. I always fight when I play,” said Manota.
The duel to decide the men’s doubles champions went on for 50 minutes before Kenneth Choo/Rayne Wang prevailed 17-21 21-15 21-18 over Alan Chan/Chance Cheng.
The women’s doubles final saw the unseeded Sylvina Kurniawan/Setyana Mapasa dominate second seeds Ho and Lee Yen Khoo to win 21-7 21-9.
Gronya Somerville combined with Choo to win her fourth consecutive mixed doubles title, beating compatriots Ming Chuen Lim/Kurniawan 21-12 21-16.
The tournament continues with the mixed team event tomorrow.