Marin stuns Li to win world badminton final
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Ninth-seeded Carolina Marin pulled off a huge badminton upset by defeating Li Xuerui, the top-seeded Olympic champion, in the world championship women’s singles final on Sunday.
The 21-year-old lefthander came from behind in both the second and third games to upset the talented Chinese shotmaker 17-21, 21-17, 21-18.
Angular overhead smashes and well-placed drops paid off for Marin along with superior control in the crisis points. She took the title with a low serve which Li returned into the net.
The Spaniard laid on her back and sobbed with her hands over her eyes.
“I don’t really have the words, because it’s so fantastic,” Marin said. “I wasn’t so nervous. I just set out to fight, fight, fight to the end.”
The top-seeded player also lost in the men’s tournament as Lee Chong Wei was beaten in the final for the third time in a row.
Second-seeded Chen Long of China beat the 31-year-old Malaysian 21-19, 21-19. Lee lost the previous two finals to Lin Dan of China.
Lee almost came back from what was a six-point deficit in the second game but his deft combinations of net shots, clears and ambushing attacks were not quite enough against the acrobatic defense and sudden fierce smashes of his physically more powerful opponent.
“I am very disappointed but I shall try again,” Lee said.
Marin is the first European for 15 years to win a world singles title.
Li led Marin by a game and 15-12. But Marin continued to seek openings for her attacks and enjoyed five points in a row to change the match.
Li still looked a likely winner when she turned an 8-11 deficit into a 15-13 lead in the decider but her error ratio crept up and she played a poor point to trail 16-15.
She immediately asked permission to take bandages off the back of her right leg and consulted a physio before continuing.
“The bandages had nothing to do with the result,” Li said. “I just made too many mistakes.”