There were two surprise results in the finals of the Badminton Asia Championships that concluded at Chinese Taipei on Sunday.
Second seed Du Pengyu of China won his first major title subduing teammate Chen Long 21-17 21-19 in the men’s singles final, while Wang Yihan, also seeded No.2, won the women’s singles title over No.1 Li Xuerui 21-15 21-13.
The women’s singles final was a reverse of last year’s Asian Championships final, where Li Xuerui stopped Wang Yihan. Du Pengyu, who has long remained in the shadows of more illustrious teammates like Lin Dan, Chen Long and Chen Jin, had lost last year’s final to Chen Jin.
On Sunday, Du Pengyu dominated from the start, giving Chen Long little space to work his way in. Chen Long fought back from deficits of 7-2 and 16-9, coming to within a point at 15-16, but Du sealed the game without further trouble.
The second game was a tougher battle, and the lead kept changing hands. Chen was down 7-10, but he won the next four points to lead briefly, but then again Du shot ahead to 18-12 and the match was effectively over.
Wang Yihan has been at the receiving end of Li Xuerui’s badminton conquest over the last two years. Once the most dominant player in the world, Yihan had no answer to Xuerui’s all-round game, and was a frequent loser in major finals, including the London Olympics final last August. In fact, Xuerui was the winner in their last five encounters.
On Sunday, however, Yihan managed to halt the trend, leading from start to finish in the first and second games. The match was over in just over half-an-hour.
In the first match of the day, Lee Yong Dae/Ko Sung Hyun overcame trouble in the second game to beat Kim Sa Rang/Kim Ki Jung 21-13 22-20. The first game was a washout for the more accomplished pair of Lee/Ko as they shot ahead from 12-11 to 18-11. The second however, was a tougher battle, with both teams remaining within a point of each other for most of the game. Kim Ki Jung and Kim Sa Rang saved one match point at 19-20, but could not prevent their more experienced teammates from sealing the match on their second match point.