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World No. 1 Chong Wei reigns supreme

World No. 1 Chong Wei reigns supreme
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World number one Lee Chong Wei faced a stiff challenge but in the end stamped his class to prevail over Kenichi Tago of Japan and claim the men’s singles title at India Open Super Series badminton tournament on Sunday.Chong Wei took an hour and three minutes to overcome his world number nine Japanese opponent 21-15, 18-21, 21-17 in the summit clash at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.

Chong Wei and Tago began on an equal footing before Chong Wei, who was playing his third consecutive final here, surged ahead from 9-all by taking three straig ht points. The Japanese managed a point in between but the Malaysian again took three successive points to take a 15-10 lead. Chong Wei kept on extending the gap before winning the opening game 21-15. In the second game, Tago got his act together and straightaway opened up a 3-0 lead. He made it 12-4 in no time to leave the Malaysian grasping for breath.

Chong Wei was not the one to surrender so easily as he won five successive points to make it 9-12. The Japanese was also in no mood to let the advantage slip away. He kept on winning points even as Chong Wei showed his class by coming back again and again.

Serving at 20-15 in the second game, Tago hit it out to give the serve to Chong Wei, who also bagged the next two points to make it 18-20. Tago, however, managed to win a point to take the match to the deciding game. The third game was a neck-and-neck affair till 7-7 before Chong Wei put in all his experience to race away.


GOPICHAND HAPPY WITH NEW PLAYERS

Seeing his protege Saina Nehwal depart early from India Open, national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand was expectedly sad but that feeling was more or less neutralised when he witnessed the gritty performances of young players such as PV Sindhu. ‘We have had a whole lot of players emerging from this tournament. I am a little disappointed with Saina losing early but looking at the entire lot, it is very encouraging. I am very happy. HS Prannoy, Anand Pawar, PV Sindhu doing well shows that we have a lot of depth and a lot of talent coming into the senior rank,’  Gopichand said. India Open witnessed the likes of Sindhu, Prannoy and Pawar doing well against some of the top-ranked players from the world. Talking about Sindhu’s impressive show in the competition, where she lost to World No. 6 Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the semifinal, Gopichand said the 17-year-old will take a lot of positives from here. ‘(Her performance has been) very, very good. How she has performed here has been very encouraging... It’s good to see. And also at the Asia championship last week before this. Each of these victories will help her build confidence,’ he added.


INTANON BAGS WOMEN’S TITLE

Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand bagged the women’s singles title at the India Open after beating Juliane Schenk of Germany in straight games on Sunday. It was an upset victory as world number six Intanon got the better of world number four Juliane Schenk of Germany 22-20, 21-14 in 45 minutes. In the opening game, the third seeded Thai initially committed a number of unforced errors as she kept hitting the net to give points to her German opponent. But after the break, Intanon came back strongly, winning eight points on the trot to surge ahead.
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