Li-Ning BWF World Championships 2014 – Day 7: Chen Thwarts Lee Chong Wei

Li Xuerui’s loss in the Women’s Singles final was the only sour note in an otherwise impeccable Chinese performance as curtains fell on the Li-Ning BWF World Championships today.

China won three gold medals. In the all-China Mixed Doubles final, Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei continued their dominance over compatriots Xu Chen and Ma Jin, beating their challengers 21-12 21-23 21-13. This was Zhang/Zhao’s 17th win in 20 meetings over Xu/Ma.

Men’s Singles: The jinx continued for Lee Chong Wei in World Championships finals as the Malaysian faltered to China’s Chen Long 21-19 21-19.

The Malaysian world No.1 trailed Chen for most of the match. Tentative from the start, and unlike his usual bustling, attacking self, Lee found himself parrying Chen’s ferocious attacks at critical moments in the 69-minute Men’s Singles final. A final kill at the net gave Chen his first World Championships gold medal.

“I have won the Denmark Open in Odense, but this is my first World Championships gold medal and I enjoyed this victory. I’d like to thank the Danish fans,” said Chen (below).

Women’s Singles: Carolina Marin authored one of the biggest upsets in history beating favourite Li Xuerui in the final to become the first Spanish World champion in badminton.

When Olympic champion Li netted her return on match point, Marin collapsed to the floor in tears. The 17-21 21-17 21-18 result capped a dramatic campaign for Marin, who beat Li’s compatriot and former World champion Wang Yihan in the third round. Marin’s (below) victory made her only the third European World champion since Lene Koppen in 1977 and Camilla Martin in 1999.

India’s PV Sindhu and Japan’s Minatsu Mitani won bronze.

Men’s Doubles: Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Choel (BWF home page and below) caused a major upset in the all-Korea Men’s Doubles final at the Li-Ning BWF World Championships, defying all expectations to beat Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong. Lee and Yoo had never lost any of six major finals previously. No.12 seeds Ko and Shin’s unexpected victory in a tense thriller, 22-20 21-23 21-18, came after 81 minutes.

It was third time unlucky for Lee Yong Dae in World Championships finals.

The entire match was neck-and-neck between the two pairs. Played at high intensity and breathtaking speed, it was a couple of points that decided each game. Lee and Yoo saved one match point in the second game to force a decider. In the third game, Shin and Ko maintained a narrow lead throughout to eventually scrape through.

Women’s Doubles: China’s Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei added a World Championship gold medal to their Olympic title beating reigning champions Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli in the Women’s Doubles final.

The winning shot, appropriately, was a brilliant backhand flick into a far corner by Tian Qing that denied Yu Yang an unprecedented fourth World Championships gold medal in Women’s Doubles.

Tian and Zhao  were the sharper pair. For much of the match, Tian and Zhao targeted Yu Yang. The reigning champions were also guilty of a few misjudgements at the baseline that eventually swung the match towards Tian and Zhao.

“I’m very happy to win the World Championships for the first time,” said Zhao Yunlei. “My partner and I have worked hard for so many years. I now look forward to the Mixed Doubles final.”

“We’re very happy to play against Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli,” said her partner Tian Qing. “We’re familiar with each other and happy we could fight each other in the final.”

Japan’s Miyuki Maeda/Reika Kakiiwa and Korea’s Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan were the bronze medallists.

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