Gwangju celebrates as Se-young wins Korea Masters
*Image credit goes to BWF and Rapheal
It was a win that she will cherish for the rest of her life in her badminton career as a hometown girl when An Se-young nailed the women's singles title in the Gwangju Korea Masters on Sunday.
The 17-year-old ranked 10 in the world, walked away with a 21-13, 21-17 win over her senior Sung Ji-hyun (14) in 45 minutes - her first win in four encounters over the experienced opponent in the all-Korean women's singles final at the Gwangju Women's University Stadium on Sunday.
The huge crowd at the stadium had come to cheer the latest badminton sensation who went home USD15,000 richer in the USD200,000 world tour event. Se-young also won this year's New Zealand Open when she beat China's former Olympic champion Li Xuerui 21-19, 21-15 in the final.
She also nailed the Super 750 French Open - dumping another Olympic champion Carolina Marin (Rio Olympics) 16-21, 21-18, 21-5 - giving strong signals that she will be a serious medal contender in the next year's Tokyo Olympics.
The men's singles saw Japan's Kenta Tsuneyama use his age (23 years) against Chinese legend Lin Dan (36 years) - a five-time world champion and two-time Olympics champion) - to snatch a 24-22, 21-12 win for the title.
The women's doubles was an all-Japan affair with 14th ranked Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida pulling off an upset with a come from behind 15-21, 21-17, 21-18 win over reigning Rio Olympics champions and fourth-ranked Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi in their first ever meeting.
The champions took home USD15,800 in prize money while the losers settled for USD7,600.
However, it was heartbreaking defeats for Malaysian shuttlers in the men's doubles and the mixed doubles finals.
For professionals Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong it was a case of so near yet so far in the men's doubles when their 19-21, 22-20, 19-21 defeat to Lee Yang-Wang Chi-Lin of Chinese Taipei in a 59-minute battle also meant they missed the boat to the season-ending lucrative World Tour Finals in Guangzhou next month.
The Malaysians, who won the Thailand Masters and the Chinese Taipei Open this year, crumbled under pressure after coming back strong in the second to force a decider by saving two match points.
Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie were also at the losing end in the mixed doubles final - going down in straight games 14-21, 15-21 to Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet of Hong Kong China. Soon Huat picked up a bloodied finger in his right hand in the second game and this affected his play.
RESULTS (All Finals)
Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet (HKG) beat Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie (MAS) 21-14, 21-15
An Se-young (KOR) beat Sung Ji-hyun (KOR) 21-13, 21-17
Kenta Tsuneyama (JPN) beat Lin Dan (CHN) 24-22, 21-12
Mani Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida (JPN) beat Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) 15-21, 21-17, 21-18
Lee Yang-Wang Chi-Lin (TPE) beat Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (MAS) 21-19, 20-22, 21-19