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Debutant Li Shifeng crowned at All England Badminton Open

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-03-21 09:41
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China's Li Shifeng poses on the podium after winning the men's singles title in his first appearance at the All England Badminton Open on Sunday. [Photo/Xinhua]

BIRMINGHAM - China's Li Shifeng clinched the men's singles title in his first appearance at the All England Badminton Open here on Sunday.

Li, 23, played confidently in the final against compatriot Shi Yuqi, who had won the tournament in 2018. He held off Shi's fightback in the late stages of the first game to win 26-24, then breezily took the second game 21-5.

"I was quite relaxed today after winning the tough match last night," said Li, who took a sensational win over Anders Antonsen of Denmark 21-11, 19-21, 21-18 in Saturday's semifinal. "I definitely wanted to clinch the title, but I care more about trying my best and enjoying the game."

Mixed doubles top seeds Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong of China beat South Korean pair Seo Seung-jae and Chae Yu-jung 21-16, 16-21, 21-12, clinching the All England Open title for the second time.

"Although we took home ten titles last year, this year is a new beginning," said 29-year-old Huang, who had paired up with Zheng to take silver at the Tokyo Olympics.

"We will start our journey for the Olympic qualification soon and I hope we will be in our best form."

In the women's singles, China's Olympic champion Chen Yufei failed to repeat her 2019 triumph, as the 25-year-old lost to South Korea's second seed An Se-young 17-21, 21-10, 19-21.

But Chen, who outplayed world No.1 and reigning champion Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the semifinals, said she could look forward with more confidence.

"I feel I'm not left behind. I should be confident in my ability," said Chen. "Although Yamaguchi and An are top in the rankings and have played consistently for a long time, I have the opportunities to beat them as long as I handle all the details well."

Kim So-yeong and Kong Hee-yong of South Korea won the women's doubles, while Indonesian Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rain Ardianto took gold in the men's doubles.

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