Kunlavut Vitidsarn dazed Wiktor Axelsen in the India Open badminton final on Sunday (January 22).
The 21-year-old from Thailand hasn’t won a match in his six previous matches but won 22-20, 10-21, 21-12 to claim the biggest title of his career.
Formerly the Republic of Korea An Se Young she became the first competitor from her country to win the women’s singles title by beating the top spot Yamaguchi Akane 15-21, 21-16, 21-12.
The two finals were walkovers where Japanese pairs were awarded the titles due to players from the People’s Republic of China suffering from diarrhea.
Watanabe Yuta and Higashino Aris won the Olympic title in mixed doubles Wang Yi Lyu and Huang Dongping is unable to play.
It was the same story in women’s doubles, where there are no top seeds Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan allowed Matsuyama Nami and Shida Chiharu pick up the trophy.
In the men’s doubles final in China Liang Weikeng and Wang Chang came from behind to defeat world champions Malaysia Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik 21-18 in the decisive.
Vitidsarn holds off Axelsen’s comeback for first Super 750 crown
Vitidsarn, who had lost all six of the pair’s previous meetings, including last year’s World Cup final, got off to a good start, taking a 7-4 lead. This was followed by an epic 66-shot exchange that ended with the Thai player leaving the touchline.
There wasn’t much to choose from between the two at first, as Vitidsarn took an 11-10 lead at the first break before taking a three-point lead.
The Dane leveled at 16-16 before Vitidsarn needed a lucky net line to save Axelsen’s first point of play. And the youngster scored another two points and won a match against the Tokyo 2020 gold medalist for the first time.
This effort apparently greatly weakened Vitidsarn, and Axelsen’s attacks soon proved irresistible.
World number one needed just 16 minutes take the second game 21-10 and force a settlement.
Vitidsarn looked revitalized early in Game 3 and despite wasting their two challenges in the first eight points, led 11-7 at the break with a few skillful drop shots.
Axelsen made a number of unusual service and return errors as he was unable to close the gap, and the three-time Junior World Champion converted his first championship point into winning his first Super 750 title after his previous Super 300 success.
Accurate revenge on Yamaguchi
In the women’s singles final, An Se Young avenged her loss from last week’s Malaysia Open final by defeating Yamaguchi Akane 15-21, 21-16, 21-12.
Yamaguchi took an 11-7 lead in the first half-time and turned it into a 21-15 score in the first game.
And with the two-time reigning world champion leading 11-9 midway through game two, it looked like she might have a quick afternoon at work.
But An came back showing good defense, scoring five of his next six and taking the lead.
Errors began to come from Yamaguchi’s racket as the second seed closed him 21-16 to set up the decider.
The Japanese took the lead early in the third set, winning an exchange of 38 shots go 7-4 in front. But that point cost her physically as An scored eight points out of nine to take a 12-8 lead.
Yamaguchi managed to cut the gap to two, but An started another increase, again scoring eight points from nine to secure third career Super 750 title.
India Open 2023 Final Results
Mixed doubles: 3-Watanabe Yuta/Higashino Arisa (JPN) without 4-Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping (CHN).
Women’s singles: 2-An Se Young (KOR) def. 1-Yamaguchi Akane (JPN) 15-21, 21-16, 21-12.
Women’s doubles: 2-Matsuyama Nami/Shida Chiharu (JPN) no 1-Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan (CHN).
Men’s doubles: Liang Weikeng/Wang Chang (CHN) def. 3-Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik (MAS) 14-21, 21-19, 21-18.
Men’s Singles: 8-Kunlavut Vitidsarn (THA) def. 1-Viktor Axelsen (DEN) 22-20, 10-21, 21-12.