World number one Viktor Axelsen clinched his second All England badminton title with a 21-10, 21-15 win over India’s Lakshya Sen in Birmingham.
“I’m super happy,” said Axelsen. “When I started playing badminton, I never dreamt of winning two All England titles and I still have a lot of years in me hopefully.”
All England Open finals day recap
When Axelsen lifted his last All England title two years ago, the spectre of coronavirus lockdowns were on the horizon robbing him off the chance to savour the success in front of his family.
This time his partner Natalia and daughter Vega were in attendance to make victory taste all the sweeter.
“At the Denmark Open, I really realised how much it meant to me seeing her (Vega) in the stands after my win,” Axelsen added. “Today was something extra special.”
Lakshya Sen reacts to the defeat:
About the match: The strategy was in place, I had played him last week.. but today he was looking very solid in defence as well as attack. He was really patient in building up the rallies. He played a really good game. In the beginning, errors costed me the first game. I was there in the second game too but he was too solid for me to put the shuttle down. Yeah was really hard to win today.
On whether nerves played a part: I feel I played well too. Just as I said he was really solid on defence. There was a lot of pressure before the match but when I entered the court, it was another match for me. I played a really good match yesterday, that gave me a lot of confidence. Credit to him, he played a really perfect game today.
On what this achievement means and how he feels about his game: I feel since the pandemic, I have played really good badminton. I have been continuously playing at the top level and this is what I have to keep doing. I think now I know what it’s like to be playing in the big stages... the tournaments keep coming and you have to be prepared physically and mentally for every match which is going to be tough. This gives me a lot of confidence.
On plans: Korea Open coming up, before that Swiss Open... and then there is a little break.— via BWF mixed zone
World champion Akane Yamaguchi won the women’s title in style with a dominant final victory over South Korea’s An Se-young.
The Japanese star was a class apart from the fourth seed as she romped to a 21-15, 21-15 triumph in just 44 minutes.
“I have been here so many times, but I haven’t been able to make the finals and I wasn’t able to win the title,” said Yamaguchi. “I am so happy that I won such a traditional tournament with such authority.”
Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana marked a changing of the guard in the men’s doubles as the Indonesian pair got the better of compatriots Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.
Fikri and Maulana combine for nearly half the age of their opponents and the younger legs showed in a 21-19, 21-13 victory.
“We’re very happy to have won the oldest tournament in the game’s history,” said Fikri.
“We are very respectful of the daddies. They were not fully fit and they still really fought in the match.”
Japanese pair Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida also just needed two sets to comprehensively beat China’s Zhang Shuxian and Zheng Yu 21-13, 21-9 to win the women’s doubles title.
“This is a big title and we’re very happy we won,” said Shida. “But there are other tournaments we want to win and higher goals we want to aim for.
“We won’t be satisfied with this, we want to use this as momentum to bring us even higher.”
The best match of the day was the mixed doubles final as Watanabe/Higashino defeated Olympic champions Wang/Huang in two thrilling games to retain the title.
With inputs from AFP