Lee, Okuhara bag singles titles at All England Open

 Lee, Okuhara bag singles titles at All England Open
LONDON   -  Malaysian shuttler Lee Zii Jia defeated defending champion Viktor Axelsen to win the men’s singles crown at the All England Open on Sunday while Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara won the women’s title for a second time.

Sixth seed Lee took control in the third game to beat the Dane 30-29 20-22 21-9 at the Birmingham event. “I’m happy, excited, sad ... Everything has come into one moment so it’s hard to describe the feeling,” said Lee, who knocked out world number one Kento Momota in the quarter-finals. “Both of us played very well until the third game when Axelsen lost a bit of focus and that’s the moment I had the advantage.”

World number four Okuhara beat Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-12 21-16 in the women’s final and the 26-year-old said she was a better player now compared to when she last won the event in 2016. “Five years ago I won here and there was no pressure, this time I’m in the top five in women’s singles so that has changed things,” Okuhara said. “But my overall play is now at a higher level so I am very happy.”

Vaccine gap grows between rich and poor: WHO chief Compatriot Yuta Watanabe became the first male player to win both doubles events at the tournament after the 23-year-old sealed the men’s title with Hiroyuki Endo and the mixed trophy with Arisa Higashino. “Winning the two titles was something I could prove to the world. It was my goal, so I’m really happy,” Watanabe said. Japan also won the women’s doubles crown, with Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara winning their maiden All England title.

China, South Korea and Taiwan skipped the event due to travel restrictions and health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Indonesia were “withdrawn” after they had been instructed by British health authorities to isolate for 10 days because a passenger on their flight tested positive for COVID-19.

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