Top seed Ratchanok Intanon survived a challenge from Japanese teenager Saena Kawakami before she summoned her experience to claim her 14th career title following a 21-14 16-21 21-15 victory in the SKYCITY New Zealand Open in Auckland on Sunday.
The 22-year-old world No 9 rallied behind in the final game to beat the world No 29 in 65 minutes for her second World Grand Prix Gold this year after the July’s Thailand Open in Bangkok.
“I really thank the fans here in New Zealand. This is my first time in this country and I feel so welcomed,” said Ratchanok who has now won 14 titles in the Grand Prix level or higher.
She will next enter the World Championships which starts on August 21 in Glasgow. She and Thai No 1 male player Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk are the country’s representatives the tournament while the rest of the national players are committed to play in the SEA Games.
“I came into this tournament as a warm up for World Championships. Winning today gives me a psychosocial boost and I will try to win the title back for Thai fans,” Ratchanok said.
In the men’s singles final, the 88th-ranked Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong rallied back from 17-20 in the final game to beat the world No 12 Wang Tzu Wei of Taiwan 11-21 21-15 22-20 for his maiden Grand Prix Gold title.
In women’s doubles top pair Vivian Hoo and Woon Khe Wei of Malaysia needed an hour and 38 minutes to subdue Japanese Ayako Sakuramoto and Yukiko Takahata 18-21 21-16 21-19.
Indonesian Ronald Ronald and Annisa Saufika lifted up the mixed doubles title by defeating Sawan Serasinghe and Setyana Mapasa of Australia 21-19 21-14.