This was one title that was missing from the almost intimidating resume of Lin Dan. The current World and Olympic champion did one better than his effort in the 2001 and won the Badminton Asia Championship on Sunday with a highly expected straight game victory over fellow Chinese Wang Zhengming at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here.
Playing against his training partner, Lin Dan was never threatened during the 39-minute clash en route to a 21-17, 21-15 triumph. The second seed stayed comfortably ahead of the first game while in the second, he broke away from 8-all and never allowed Wang to get even remotely close.
“I was not in good form in the last two tournaments so it was important to win here,” said the champion who won the World Cup at Hyderabad last year. “I really like this country and the crowd.”
He sounded modest about his resounding victory in the final and said, “It’s always difficult to play your teammate. Wang is a good player and will become a formidable force in the coming years.”
Lin Dan’s triumph completed China’s sweep of the singles titles for the sixth time in the continental championship after Xuerui Li scored over fellow qualifier Xin Liu in the ladies final. China swept the singles titles in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2009.
In fact, China also added the women’s doubles title when sixth seeds Pan Pan and Qing Tian expectedly overpowered the unseeded Malaysian pair.
Xuerui Li’s 21-13, 18-21, 21-19 victory in 62 minutes came after Xin Liu led midway through the deciding game. But thereafter, a 15-11 lead gave the eventual champion some relief. Xin Liu kept the fight alive by saving four match-points but Xuerui Li was not to be denied.
“I was tired towards the end but my belief in my abilities worked in my favour. I did not have any plan for this match. My coach told me to stick to the basics and cut down on unforced errors. My confidence was high after beating Saina Nehwal in the semifinals,” said an elated champion.
Xin Liu, on her part, said, “Xuerui Li is a very fast player. I tried to slow down the pace but couldn’t. My unforced errors cost me the final.”
The men’s doubles final saw the fifth seeded Koreans Gun Woo Cho upstage Hung Ling Chen and Yu Lang Lin, the top-seeds from Chinese Taipei in 50 minutes. The triumph was some consolation for Korea after its sixth seeded combination of Yeon Seong Yoo and Min Jung Kim lost the mixed doubles final to the seventh seeded Malaysian pair of Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh.
The results (finals):
Men singles: 2-Lin Dan (Chn) bt Wang Zhengming (Chn) 21-17, 21-15.
Women singles: Xuerui Li (Chn) bt Xin Liu (Chn) 21-13, 18-21, 21-19.
Men doubles: 5-Gun Woo Cho and Yeon Seong Yoo (Kor) bt 1-Hung Ling Chen and Yu Lang Lin (Tpe) 21-19, 12-21, 21-17.
Women doubles: 6-Pan Pan and Qing Tian (Chn) bt Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Khe Wei Woon (Mas) 21-10, 21-6.
Mixed doubles: 7-Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh (Mas) bt Yeon Seong Yoo and Min Jung Kim (Kor) 21-17, 20-22, 21-19.
Keywords: Badminton Asia Championship