Sports

Shi denies Lin a seventh All England title

Chinese star Lin Dan was denied a seventh All-England Open title as his young compatriot Shi Yuqi clinched a shock victory in yesterday morning's (Singapore time) final.

Seventh-seeded Shi profited from Lin's lacklustre play to win 21-19, 16-21, 21-9 in Birmingham.

The surprising absence of Lin's famed attacking skills helped Shi to grow in confidence.

The 22-year-old was able to utilise his speed and hard-to-read overhead attacks without inhibition against one of the sport's all-time greats.

"I was more patient and controlled my pace, which helped me get the match back," said Shi, who admitted he was relieved to erase the memory of last year's final loss to Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei.

Lin,34, would have been the oldest player in 63 years to win the All-England men's singles title had he prevailed.

Lin became the first player ever to play in 10 All-England men's singles finals and made it the first all-Chinese men's Open final for a decade.

"To (still) play at this level is good," he said.

"I feel good about myself and I want to congratulate my younger opponent."

Both Chen Long, the Olympic champion who lost to Shi in the quarter-finals, and Lin have been nurturing their compatriot.

Earlier, Tai Tzu-ying, the world No. 1 from Taiwan, became the first women's singles player in more than a decade to retain the title.

But she was not happy with her performance after a 22-20, 21-13 win over Akane Yamaguchi, the world No.2 from Japan, in which Tai had to save a game-point in the first game.

"I made a lot of mistakes, and in the end I just had to run with her," she said. - AFP

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