Chinese legend Lin Dan and Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi were crowned winners of the men’s and women’s singles respectively at the New Zealand Badminton Open in Auckland on Sunday.
In a battle of the top two seeds in the men’s singles final, two-time Olympic champion Lin beat the Indonesian Jonatan Christie in straight games but it was not a straightforward affair.
Lin won the first game comfortably 21-14, but Christie fought back in the second and even held a 19-16 lead, when it looked certain that the game would go into a decider. However, Lin Dan rattled off five straight points and sealed the match 21-14, 21-19.
“I was not worried about the second game,” Lin was quoted as saying by the tournament website. “Having already won the first [game], I was just looking to conserve energy and get ready for the third game.
“I have not won a tournament yet this year and I have prepared well for the New Zealand Open. I am pleased that I have been able to win in front of such a wonderful crowd of supporters,” the 34-year-old added.
Takahashi recorded a more straightforward victory against world No 119 Zhang Yiman of China, beating her 21-13, 21-14. The Japanese was thrilled with her title win, even though she was the top seed.
“Even though I am top seed and the favourite, I never think about this. Ever since I suffered injury at the Rio Olympics and thought perhaps I would not play again, I am just focused on every point and enjoying every match. I am just happy that I can continue playing.”
The opening match of the finals day was an exciting one as Wang Chi-Lin and Lee Chia Hsin of Chinese Taipei won the mixed doubles title after beating Korea’s Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yujung 21-19, 14-21, 21-19.
Ayako Sakuramoto and Yukiko Takahata of Japan enjoyed one of their greatest moments as a doubles pairing, taking the women’s doubles title, defeating Cao Tong Wei and Yu Zheng of China in straight games 21-9, 21-19.
In the men’s doubles final, Chen Hung Ling and Wang Chi-Lin of Chinese Taipei beat Berry Angriawan and Hardianto of Indonesia 21-17, 21-17.