Historic day for Japan, England at BWF Dubai World Superseries Finals

DUBAI, 13th December 2015 (WAM) — In the finest double success in Japan’s badminton history, Kento Momota and Nozomi Okuhara captured the men’s and women’s singles titles at the today, while in another historic moment, the husband and wife pair of Chris and Gabby Adcock won the Mixed Doubles, the first World Superseries Finals title ever won by England.

Okuhara, aged only 20, beat Wang Yihan, the former world champion from China, by 22-20, 21-18, in a match in which she escaped from game point down at 19-20 in the first game and from 9-15 in the second.

Not long after it was her countryman’s turn for glory when Momota, aged 21, outplayed Viktor Axelsen, the world number six from Denmark by 21-15, 21-12.

Momota knew from early on that he had the game to beat Axelsen, who seemed to have left much of his strength and mobility on the court yesterday when he produced a career-best win, halting Chen Long, the world number one from China.

“I got lucky on a few points but I stuck to my strategy,” said Momota, who moved Axelsen to and fro with overhead drops or net shots followed by clears or lifts to the back, occasionally interspersing this with sudden explosive jump smashes.

Momota was presented with his trophy by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Okuhara by contrast had to dig very deep against Wang, who played in a patient manoeuvring style quite different from the heavy overhead attacks which made her famous, and who was very unlucky to lose the next two rallies with net cords after working so hard to reach game point.

Wang also looked good enough to win the second game when she diligently carved a six-point lead, but her energy appeared to wane just a little more than Okuhara’s did in a match lasting more than an hour. Okuhara admitted that she too was tired, but said she always “found something emotionally when I needed it”.

Hers was the most extraordinary week. She twice beat Carolina Marin, the world number one from Spain, as well as Saina Nehwal, the former world number one from India, and Tai Tzu Ying, the titleholder from Chinese Taipei.

China, which started the day with hopes of three titles, eventually had to settle for one. It came in the women’s doubles, in which the twin sisters, Luo Ying and Luo Yu, recovered from a worrying start to beat Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl when Pedersen stopped in the third game with a stomach problem. The score was 14-21, 21-9, 14-4 retired.

China’s rising men’s doubles pair, Chai Biao and Hong Wei, were not so far from success at 12-14 in the second game against Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, the world champions from Indonesia, before losing 13-21, 21-14, 21-14.

But the mixed doubles eluded all the major badminton nations and provided England with a rare piece of glory. Chris and Gabby Adcock, who had twice been very close to defeat earlier in the week, grabbed the title with a 21-14, 21-17 victory over Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na, their country’s most notable success in any major event for more than nine years.

WAM/MMYS

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