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Li Xuerui stuns Wang Yihan, clinches title

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Li Xuerui showed admirable calm during tense moments to down top-seeded Wang Yihan in the final.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Li Xuerui showed admirable calm during tense moments to down top-seeded Wang Yihan in the final.  

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Tian Qing & Zhao Yunlei pair triumphs

World No. 1 Wang Yihan crashed to a shock defeat in the All-England Open final as her compatriot Li Xuerui snatched the famous title 21-13, 21-19 here on Sunday.

Li was seeded only seventh and far less experienced, but winning the German Open last week seemed to have increased her self-assurance, and she continued in the same confident vein to grab a career-best win.

“This is my greatest win and it is very important to me,” Li said.

“It's a famous title, and different from the other Super Series. I want to take it step by step but I may become world number four after this.”

Remarkable recovery

The 21-year-old Li began well, showing a sharp eye for openings when she had manoeuvred them. Li also made a remarkable recovery from 5-13 and 10-15 down in the second game as Wang began to flag.

Wang may have been affected by her quarterfinal efforts when she had to save four match points against the twice former champion Tine Baun, and then to survive an 89-minute match — the longest of the tournament — in her semifinal with the defending champion Wang Shixian. Her start to the final was surprisingly uncertain.

She was soon 3-7 and clearly making more errors than she expected. Once when she retrieved the shuttle too high to the net, enabling Li to kill it comfortably and advance to 9-4, Wang turned her head away in disappointment.

And when she punched a return of serve too long on the next point, she turned her whole body away in dissatisfaction. Six points later she went to the side of the court to put some tape round a finger.

There were moments of Wang brilliance, as during a fierce flat exchange two points before the end of the game, which made the crowd gasp, but she concluded it with another error. It did however signal what she could do.

And in the second game she began to do it much better. Wang's clears were deeper and her attacks better selected, and at the interval she was already nine points ahead. But at 13-5 there was a bad sign, when she seemed uncharacteristically slow to reach a push to the net, and then two points later Wang laboured ominously to make a hairpin shot at the net.

Li made rapid progress after that, closing an eight-point deficit to two, and then perhaps taking encouragement from Wang's emotional body language in a tight finish.

The results: Women: 7-Li Xuerui (Chn) bt 1-Wang Yihan (Chn) 21-13, 21-19.

Doubles: 2-Tian Qing & Zhao Yunlei (Chn) bt 1-Wang Xiaoli & Yu Yang (Chn) 21-17, 21-12.

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 1:37:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/li-xuerui-stuns-wang-yihan-clinches-title/article2985606.ece

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