Chen Long, Carolina Marin win All England Open titles
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Both world singles badminton champions staged thrilling comebacks on Sunday as Chen Long of China and Spain’s Carolina Marin took the men’s and women’s titles at the All England Open.
The 26-year-old Chen outlasted Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark 15-21, 21-17, 21-15 to secure his second All England title in three years, while Marin dented the hopes of Saina Nehwal with a 16-21, 21-14, 21-7 victory.
After beating five-time champion Lin Dan in the semifinals, Chen turned on the style to claim the 11th men’s singles title for China since 2000.
“I believed that I could come back,” Chen said. “I kept calm and didn’t rush the points. I played tighter, focused on each game and didn’t let in distractions.”
But his victory wasn’t guaranteed as second-ranked Jorgensen created a frenetic opener.
The Dane, who didn’t drop a game in reaching his first All England final, had Chen on the back foot in the early exchanges. He powered away from 11-11 thanks to attacking forays to the net and winning tight interchanges.
The second game saw Chen come out on top in two energy-sapping rallies, the best of which had the top-ranked player winning the point with a well-timed dive to go 18-13 up.
In the decider, Chen surged clear and soon acquired nine match points with an anti-climactic finish on the cards. But Jorgensen won four late points before Chen secured victory.
“Jorgensen is tough but Lin Dan is right up there,” Chen said. “He is the best and biggest rival. I really want to catch all his records, but if I want to achieve that then the most important thing for me is to stay healthy.”
Earlier, Marin added the All England Open title to her growing collection, which left third-ranked Nehwal regretting a mid-match capitulation in her bid to become India’s first female winner.
The 24-year-old from Hyderabad was leading 6-1 and 10-6 in the second before sixth-ranked Marin staged a gutsy fightback to win in 62 minutes.
“I feel really happy as in the beginning I couldn’t concentrate as my hand was so nervous,” said Marin. “But then I thought ‘I should enjoy this match’.”
Marin’s victory scuppered Nehwal’s aim of becoming India’s first All England singles winner since her former coach Pullela Gopichand won the men’s title in 2001.
“I was playing very cool at the beginning but I began to hurry my shots and I made errors,” Nehwal said.
China’s top-seeded Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei, the world and Olympic champions, beat Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia 21-10, 21-10, thwarting their bid to win a fourth successive mixed doubles title.