Malaysia star Lee Zii Jia missed out on a second consecutive badminton title when he was beaten in the BWF Denmark Open 2023 final to Weng Hong Yang of the People’s Republic of China, who took the biggest victory of his career on Sunday (22 October).
Last week, Lee ended a 17-month BWF World Tour title drought by beating fellow Malaysian Ng Tze Yong in the final of the Arctic Open, but in Odense, Denmark, he was never near another men’s singles triumph.
It is the first time that Weng has won a BWF 750 tournament.
World No. 11 Lee was struggling to find his length early in the first game and sprayed the shuttle long, while Weng played smart to go up 7-11 at the mid-game break.
Lee produced some exquisite smashes, but Weng, who is ranked 22 in the world, stayed calm and played to his strengths to wrap up the game 12-21.
In the second game, the 2022 Asian champion of Malaysia could not find his way past Weng, who kept moving ahead and raced to a 4-11 lead.
Lee seemed discouraged, as Weng was one step ahead throughout the game. On his first match point, Weng clinched the Denmark Open title in just 33 minutes by winning 12-21, 6-21.
Chen Yu Fei of the People’s Republic of China clinched the women’s singles title defeating Spain’s Carolina Marin 21-14, 21-19 in the battle of Olympic champions.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion Chen started best in the final, claiming the first three points of the first game. Although Rio 2016 Olympic champion Marin scored six consecutive points to take the lead, Chen slowly took more control of the game, and she wrapped it up on her first game point.
The second game was a much tighter affair, with neither shuttler wanting to give anything away.
Chen was looking at ease in the beginning, going into the mid-game interval with an 11-5 lead. However, the Spanish three-time world champion Marin found her rhythm and clawed her way back to narrow the gap down to just one point at 15-14 and later 20-19.
Eventually, Chen managed to keep a cool head and secure the title on her third match point.
In June, the two Olympic champions faced each other in the final at the Indonesia Open, where Chen also won in straight games.
Earlier in the day, the all Chinese mixed doubles final concluded in a three-game thriller, where Feng Yan Zhe/Huang Dong Ping defeated Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qioung 16-21, 21-15, 26-24 to clinch the title.
Tokyo 2020 men’s doubles gold medallists Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik claimed their first ever BWF World Tour victory. In the final the Malaysians ousted Muhammad Shohibul Fikri/Bagas Maulana of Indonesia 21-13, 21-17.
In women’s doubles, the world number one pair Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan of the People’s Republic of China won the Denmark Open for the second consecutive time, beating the Japanese fifth seeded pair Matsuyama Nami/Shida Chiharu 21-16, 21-13.
At the 2023 World Championships in Copenhagen in August, Chen and Jia became the first women’s pair to win four gold medals.
Featured Image: CGTN