Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanach once again had to bow to the superiority of world No 2 Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong in the mixed doubles final of the Asia Badminton Championships in Wuhan, China, yesterday.
The Thai players led in both sets but their red-hot Chinese rivals raised the level of their game at the right time to hand them their fifth straight defeat 21-18 21-11 in 42 minutes of action that saw superb doubles skills from both pairs.
The Thais took advantage of their rivals’ sluggish start to take a six-point lead at 14-8. But then Lu and Huang started to find their rhythm, using fast counter attacks to level at 14 and went on to lead 19-18.
Lu, who stands 191 cms, made the most of his height advantage by jumping and blasting two explosive smashes to win the last two points to take the game in 22 minutes.
The Thai team again got off to a better start to lead at 8-6, and just like in the previous game they could not maintain the lead for long. The Chinese were solid in their defence and at the same time sharp in replies when the opportunities arose, cruising through the second game.
It was their fourth title victory for Lu and Huang, who also won at the All England Open, Malaysia and Singapore Open.
In the all-Chinese men’s singles final, Olympic champion Chen Long rallied to beat former Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan 21-23 21-11 21-10 in a match that lasted 80 minutes.
World No 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan defeated Akane Yamaguchi of Japan 21-18, 11-21, 21-18 in the women’s singles final.
In the All Chinese men’s singles final, current Olympic champion Chen Long came back from the first game loss to beat former Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan 21-23 21-11 21-10 after 80 minutes of tussles.
World No 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan won her fourth straight title in 2017 with a 18-21 21-11 21-18 win over .Akane Yamaguchi of Japan
In the women’s doubles final, top seed Masaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi of Japan defeated Kim Hye-rin and Yoo Hae-won of South Korea 21-19 16-21 21-10.