All England Open 2021: Lee Zii Jia might show worthy successor to Lee Chong Wei; Japanese armada scores huge

All England Open 2021: Lee Zii Jia might show worthy successor to Lee Chong Wei; Japanese armada scores huge

Lee Zii Jia received the All England title on the expense of the 2 top-notchers – Viktor Axelsen and Kento Momota – who’ve been on the forefront of the game for the previous three years

Lee Zii Jia grew to become an in a single day star. Malaysia, starved of badminton success after Lee Chong Wei’s retirement final yr, hailed the tall, powerfully constructed Alor Setar native after he received the All England males’s singles badminton title on Sunday, simply eight days earlier than his twenty third birthday.

LZJ, as he has come to be recognized within the badminton world, lifted the celebrated crown on the Enviornment Birmingham after a stirring show of smashing energy, quicksilver actions, resolute defence, unflappable temperament and character, in a wonderful 30-29, 20-22, 21-9 triumph towards defending champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, in an hour and 14 minutes.

After successful the opening sport with that rarest of uncommon scores requiring the sudden-death golden level at 29-all, LZJ had the mortification of seeing his gangling rival wrest the second stanza from his grasp with the victory nicely in sight. That reverse might need unnerved any participant, however the Malaysian is fabricated from sterner stuff, and confirmed that his health ranges and nerves are able to withstanding the check.

It was the Dane, world champion in 2017, who cracked open like an eggshell within the last reaches of the encounter, revealing the sort of fragile nerves that had additionally brought on him to finish up second finest within the World Tour finals to compatriot Anders Antonsen in January. It allowed LZJ to emulate the 2017 All England title successful feat of his idol, fellow-countryman Chong Wei, who needed to give up the game after nostril most cancers wouldn’t permit him to achieve the degrees of health that had characterised his illustrious profession, lasting nearly twenty years.

It’s vital to notice that LZJ received the crown on the expense of the 2 top-notchers who’ve been on the forefront of the game for the previous three years. Whereas reducing the colors of Axelsen within the title spherical, the Malaysian had laid low the two-time reigning world champion and 2019 All England title winner, Kento Momota of Japan, within the quarter-finals, in straight video games at 21-17, 21-19.

Momota, it should be underscored, was enjoying his first match in 14 months after struggling a career-threatening nostril harm in a street accident in Kuala Lumpur. The Japanese left-hander was removed from his finest, and easing his manner again into top-flight competitors. He’ll little question stay one of many most important contenders for the gold medal on the Tokyo Olympics in July this yr, however LZJ has given him loads of meals for thought.

All England Open 2021 Lee Zii Jia could prove worthy successor to Lee Chong Wei Japanese armada scores big

Lee Zii Jia (excessive left) a part of the Malaysian group in India in 2016. Photograph: Shirish Nadkarni

“We had seen Zii Jia in India, some 5 years in the past, when he was nonetheless a junior, and had come to Bangalore with 4 different Malaysian kids as a part of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy’s alternate programme,” says Vimal Kumar, two-time former nationwide champion and now chief coach of the Dravid Padukone Centre for Excellence (DPCE). “We have been struck on the time together with his expertise and work ethic, and weren’t shocked to see him win the All England. Not one of the different boys progressed to his stage.”

Though LZJ put up an impressive present within the last, it should be stated that India’s prime hope, Lakshya Sen, misplaced a gilt-edged alternative of difficult the Malaysian within the semi-final, when he surrendered to Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands at 17-21 within the deciding sport of a 55-minute lengthy quarter-final.

An All England semi-final would have seemed actually good on Indian teenager’s CV, who has lately recovered from a critical again harm, and remains to be getting again to full health. However Sen would rue the prospect that slipped by, when he sees that the Dutchman Caljouw was crushed by his DPCE batch-mate, Kiran George, in Tuesday’s first spherical of the continuing Orleans Masters Tremendous 100 occasion in France, by a 13-21, 21-18, 22-20 scoreline.

As for the Indian flag-bearer, Kidambi Srikanth, he had no reply to the velocity and health of the Vietnamese Nhat Nguyen, who settled in Eire shortly after start, and has been making waves on the European circuit of late. Nguyen threw a serious spanner within the 27-year-old Guntur lad’s hopes of creating the minimize for the Tokyo Olympics, and it’s hoped that he has higher luck on the Orleans Masters, the place he has been given the highest seeding.

Among the many ladies, Japan’s 2017 world champion, Nozomi Okuhara, revealed the extent of her velocity, health, accuracy and tenacity whereas successful the crown on the expense of the thrilling younger Thai, Pornpawee Chochuwong, seen because the participant who might take over the mantle of her nation’s prime participant from the 2013 world champion Ratchanok Intanon.

Okuhara’s semi-final overcome Intanon was achieved by exhibiting nerves of metal when successful the ultimate seven factors of her completely absorbing, long-drawn semi-final, from a near-hopeless 14-18 deficit within the decider. The pint-sized Japanese confirmed nice powers of recuperation and restoration from the gruelling semi-final showdown, and easily ran away within the last from her Thai rival, who had settled the pretensions of a stiff and sore PV Sindhu within the penultimate reckoning.

Sindhu’s excellent efficiency towards the opposite most important Japanese contender for the ladies’s singles title, Akane Yamaguchi, has been nicely documented earlier, as has been her incapability to lift her sport and psychological stage within the semi-final towards the harmful Chochuwong, who was at her decided finest.

Suffice to say that Sindhu will want her physique to be at its optimum stage when she contests for the Olympic gold towards the brace of Japanese and Thai rivals in a crowded area, in addition to the trio of top-notchers – Carolina Marin of Spain, Chen Yufei of China and Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese language Taipei – who selected to present this yr’s All England a miss.

Within the absence of contingents from China, Chinese language Taipei and South Korea, in addition to last-minute withdrawal by Indonesia’s squad on account of optimistic COVID-19 circumstances on the flight, the Japanese armada held majestic sway, putting seven representatives out of ten within the last day’s schedule.

Japanese shuttlers made a clear sweep of the placings within the finals of all three doubles occasions.

Ebullient left-hander Yuta Watanabe bagged each the lads’s doubles and combined doubles titles, within the course of efficiently defending the lads’s doubles title he had received final yr with Hiroyuki Endo.

Watanabe may not have all of it his manner when the sector will probably be totally populated on the Olympics, however his excellent exhibiting at Birmingham will function an enormous confidence booster when the Japanese contingent makes a bid to win all of the 5 gold medals that will probably be at stake on their dwelling territory in July.

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