All England Championships: Momota 1st Japanese to win title, Chen Yufei stuns Tai Tzu

World No.1 Kento Momota did not let the favourite-tag affect him and stayed true to the script as beat Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen 21-11, 15-21, 21-15 to become the first Japanese player to win the All England Championships at the Birmingham Arena on Sunday. Axelsen was bidding to be Denmark’s first All England winner in 20 years but Momota reigned supreme in an hour and 20 minutes.

Earlier, Chen Yufei had upset the women’s singles world No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan to lift her maiden All England title in a remarkable fashion and against the storyline.

Momota, however, was too good for Axelsen who tried his best but grew tired as the match went on while the Japanese turned on his best towards the end to take the title away.

Kento Momota, who did not play the All England last year because his ranking was not good enough following his return from gambling suspension, has seen a meteoric rise to the top of the world and one that has seen him win the oldest tournament in the sport of badminton.

Momota admitted that All England was a tournament that everyone wants to win and there was pressure on him considering his top rankings but he sailed through with support from everyone.

“This is a tournament everybody wants to win so I am really happy I got the win.

“Of course I felt the pressure [as a world No.1] and it was not easy but because of everyone’s support I managed to win this tournament so thank you everyone,” Momota said after the match.

Momota congratulated Axelsen as a rival on court and said, “He is a good rival and I hope we are going to keep improving each other.”


Chen Yufei (right) beat Tai Tzu Ying for the first time in her 12th attempt. (AP Photo)

Chen Yufei registered her first-ever victory against Tai Tzu Ying after 11 consecutive losses to lift the All England Championships women’s singles title at the Birmingham Arena on Sunday.

Yufei showed excellent skills, tactical gameplan and courage to trump world No.1 Tai Tzu 21-17, 21-17 and spoilt her bid of a hat-trick of All England titles.

Tai Tzu was an overwhelming favourite going into the final but just a few rallies into the match and Yufei looked like a serious contendor.

What worked greatly for Yufei throughout the match was the fact that she was reading Tai Tzu’s game very well and was not falling for her deceptive strokes.

The fact that Yufei was able to return what would generally be winners for Tai Tzu frustrated the world No.1 and forced her to go for something extra. Trying to be a little more adventurous, Tai Tzu made a number of errors against Yufei.

Yufei played with great grit and passion, returning everything that was being thrown at her. Additionally, she took the attack to Tai Tzu and moved the Taiwanese around the court.

In the end, it was a major upset in Birmingham and one that the Chinese would greatly cherish.


Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia won the All England despite a clear injury to Setiawan. (AP Photo)

5 years after winning their first All England title, Indonesian pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan won the men’s single title on Sunday with a 11-21, 21-14, 21-12 win over Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Woo Yik in 48 minutes.

Setiwan’s right leg was all wrapped up and he had played through that injury in the semi-final as well and it looked like he wouldn’t be able to carry on in the final.

In the first game, Ahsan-Setiwan struggled to match the intensity and pace of the Malaysian pair and eventually let the game go to regroup and see if they could take the next two. And exactly that happened.

All the experience and tactical awareness of the Indonesians came to the fore in the second and third game as they eked out a memorable victory.

Setiawan played his heart out, mostly at the back of the court and minimal running while Ahsan was responsible for covering the court and attacking with all his might and awareness.

The gameplan worked for the Indonesians as they trumped the Malaysians. There were tears in Ahsan’s eyes and relief on Setiawan’s face as they won the final rally.

In the women’s doubles, former world champions Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yifan of China beat the current world champions Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara of Japan 18-21, 22-20, 21-11 in one hour and 23 minutes to win the All England title.

World champions and the current world No.1 Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong of China won the All England title with a 21-17, 22-20 win over defending champions Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino of Japan.


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