Lin Dan ends 13-month drought with New Zealand Open title

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Lin Dan beats Jonatan Christie to win his career 65th singles title at 2018 New Zealand Open. (photo: New Zealand Open)
Lin Dan beats Jonatan Christie to win his career 65th singles title at 2018 New Zealand Open. (photo: New Zealand Open)

Auckland: Two-time Olympic champion and No. 1 seed Lin Dan won his first New Zealand Open title on Sunday, beating No. 2 seed Jonatan Christie of Indonesia 21-14, 21-19.

The New Zealand Open was Lin’s 65th career title, ended a long drought dating back to his 2017 Malaysia Open title, in which he beat Lee Chong Wei 21-19, 21-14 in a 55-minute men’s singles final.

Lin extended his career meeting record against Christie to 4-2 after Sunday’s victory. Christie defeated Lin Dan in straight-set the last time they met at the 2017 China Open.

“After I’ve won the first set, I was not too worried about the second game and was trying to save energy and get ready for the decider,” said Lin.

Lin Dan and Jonatan Christie share the podium at New Zealand Open award ceremony. (photo: New Zealand Open)
Lin Dan and Jonatan Christie share the podium at New Zealand Open award ceremony. (photo: New Zealand Open)

“I am excited to win the New Zealand Open in front of such a wonderful crowd as I I have yet to win a tournament so far this year,” added Lin.

In the women’s competition, World No. 19 Sayaka Takahashi ended the final with a one-sided match, overcoming the World No. 119 Zhang Yiman of China 21-13, 21-14 in 39 minutes.

“After I was injured at Rio Olympics, I never think I could play again. I am thrilled to be able to win the New Zealand Open,” said Takahashi.

Wang Chi-Lin/Lee Chia Hsin of Chinese Taipei and Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yujung of Korea kept the crowd highly excited as both pairs opened the finals day with some brilliant badminton before the Taiwanese emerged victorious with 21-19, 14-21, 21-19.

Meanwhile, Wang Chi-Lin later won his second title of the day when he and Chen Hung Ling proved too good for Berry Angriawan and Hardianto of Indonesia, beating the Indonesia pair 21-17, 21-17 in the men’s doubles final.

The young pairing of Ayako Sakuramoto/Yukiko Takahata of Japan were able to comeback from 11-14, 13-15 in the second set to dispose Cao Tong Wei and Yu Zheng of China in straight games 21-9, 21-19 to win their second title of 2018. The Japanese pair also won the Swiss Open on Feb 25, 2018.

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