Chen Long, Carolina Marin win titles at Australian Open

Sydney,  (IANS) China’s world No.1 shuttler Chen Long and Spain’s Carolina Marin won the men’s and women’s singles titles, respectively, at the Australian Open Superseries here on Sunday.

Reigning world champion Chen defeated Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 21-12, 14-21, 21-18 in an hour and 17 minutes, while current world champion and third seeded Carolina got the better of China’s former world No.1 and fifth seeded Shixian Wang 22-20, 21-18 in 58 minutes in the final at the Sydney Olympic Park.

Axelsen’s nerves against the world champion were showing, pushing the shuttle wide on the Chinese’s right side. Chen kept his cool under the power of Axelsen, using his experience to strike when needed, taking the first game 21-12, reports Xinhua.

“These days men’s singles is very hard. If you loose the first, you might loose everything,” Chen said. “It doesn’t matter if you are number one or number two. You have to prepare for everything.”

World No.9 Axelsen changed his strategy to combat the technical skill of Chen, using soft drop shots rather then raw power, opening up a six-point lead at 14-19. Chen fell flat on his feet under pressure, loosing the second game 14-21.

“I was quite tense in the first game, but I just tried to focus on things I could do to get into a good rhythm,” Axelsen said.

The showdown of the third game served up the best badminton of the tournament. Chen regained his nerves, using technical skill and quick thinking to open an early 4-1 lead.

Axelsen responded, forcing Chen to commit uncharacteristic errors, taking the lead at 10-11. Chen responded with experience, forcing Axelsen to play shots he didn’t want to and make mistakes at the net, opening a lead to 20-16.

Axelsen used his height and power to regain ground; sending winners tight down the court lines, closing to 20-18.

A deep smash by Chen sent the Dane calling for a challenge, however it became the final point of the game.

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