China win big at Malaysia Open

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World No 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei retained her women’s singles title in the USD700,000 Malaysia Open which ended at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
 
Along the way the 24-year-old Tzu Ying, who was playing in her fourth consecutive Malaysia Open final clinched her third successive title in the tournament with a 21-16, 21-19 win over Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in the 40-minute final.
 
Fourth-seeded Yamaguchi, 21, was also history as she became the first Japanese player to feature in a women’s singles final in the Malaysia Open. She collected USD23,800 for her efforts while the champion banked in USD49,000.
 
However, it was China who ruled the Axiata Arena. It was all-China affairs in the men’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. 
 
China also won the men’s doubles with Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen defeating defending champions Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda of Japan in straight games 21-12, 21-17 in 42 minutes.
 
The eye-catcher was the men’s singles final between Lin Dan – the five-time world champion and two-time Olympics gold medallist – and reigning Olympic champion Chen Long.
 
The fourth-seeded Chen Long, who was playing in his third Malaysia Open final took the first game at 21-9. But that was as far as Chen Long could go against Lin Dan, 35, who featured in his fifth Malaysia Open final.
 
Lin Dan his two-year drought by taking the next two games 21-17, 21-11 in the 78-minute thriller and he regain the title he last won 2017 – when he beat Lee Chong Wei on the final.  
 
There was a surprise at the prize-giving ceremony when it was 12-time Malaysia Open champion Datuk Wira Lee Chong Wei who presented the mock cheques of USD49,000 and USD23,800 to Lin Dan and Chen Long, respectively. 
 
The 100PLUS Ambassador, who withdrew from the Malaysia Open on medical grounds, later posed for photos on the rostrum while exchanging pleasantries with both the winner and the loser.
 
China started the day by winning the mixed doubles title. World champions Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong, who also won the All England and the Indonesia Masters this year, outplayed compatriots and No 2 seeds Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping 21-17, 21-13.
 
Next was the women’s doubles All England champions Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan needing only 37 minutes in their 21-14, 21-15 win over compatriots Du Yue-Li Yunhui for the USD51,800 prize money that came with the title. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
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