Home2018Chen Yufei takes flight and is set to be China's next superstar

Chen Yufei takes flight and is set to be China’s next superstar

*Image Credit: Sports Keeda

She ruled the Haixia Olympic Sports Center in Fuzhou to clinch her first HSBC BWF World Tour title in magnificent style – straight games 21-10, 21-16 triumph over last year's world champion Nozomi Okuhara in the final in the USD700,000 Fuzhou China Open in Fuzhou on Sunday.

It was a brilliant performance by the 20-year-old native from Hangzhou and she gave her home fans plenty to cheer and probably sent out strong signals that she can be counted upon as the next big name from China in the women's singles.

Chen Yufei won the 2016 World Junior women's singles gold and also the mixed team gold in Bilbao, Spain – the same year she also took the Badminton Asia Junior gold.

It was a significant 2016 as Chen Yufei also won her first senior title and this was the Macau China Open Grand Prix Gold. 

A year later she was fittingly given the Eddy Choong Most Promising Player of the Year award.

What we saw of Chen Yufei in Fuzhou was her tenacity and self-belief to face opponents with strong credentials and reputation on the world tour.

She displayed qualities that she is a much improved and better player now.

In the quarter-finals, she took down former three-time world junior champion and world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand 15-21, 21-9, 21-11.

With her confidence boosted Chen Yufei showed strong character and was ready to face anyone.

This was seen when played three-time world champion and reigning Olympics champion Carolina Marin in the semi-finals.

The rising Chinese star was again involved in a three-game thriller – coming back from a game down to oust the Spaniard 11-21, 21-1, 21-13.

That gave her the fire in the final as she teased and tormented Okuhara, who is known for her fighting qualities.

The big purse (USD49,000) in Fuzhou was not only sheer joy but also made up for her frustrations of three second-place finishes this year – losing to Marin in the China Open (Super 1000); losing to the current world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the Indonesia Open (Super 1000) and to Akane Yamaguchi in the German Open (Super 300).

Meanwhile, Japan's Kento Momota showed why he is the world champion and why he is the current world No 1 when the Japanese demolished world No 3 Chou Tien-chen of Chinese Taipei to win the Fuzhou China Open on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Momota showed his class against his opponent in a 66-minute thriller although it was close battles during the duration of the match.

The Japanse ace was a relaxed figure as he pulled himself out of deep waters many times.

In the end, it was the Japanese who walked away with a 21-13, 11-21, 21-16 win and hefty pay cheque of USD49,000 while Tien-chen won USD23,800 for his efforts.

It was an energy-sapping final for Momota who merely collapsed on the court instead of celebration his triumph.

He indeed was glad that "it was over" when he sealed the winning point.

China saw both their hopes in the men's singles – Chen Long and Shi Yuqi – beaten in the semi-finals by Momota and Tien-chen respectively.

The mixed doubles title was China's for the taking. In an all-China final top seeds Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong getting the better of compatriots and second seeds Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping 21-15, 11-21, 21-19.

The men's doubles final saw Indonesia's world No 1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo retain the title in a three-game battle 25-27, 21-17, 21-15 in 58 minutes against China's He Jiting-Tan Qiang.

Korea's Lee So-hee-Shin Seung-chan upset world champions Maya Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara of Japan 23-21, 21-18 to pocket USD51,800 in prize-money.

The losers took home USD24,500.


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