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Baek and Lee crowned women’s doubles champions

Baek Ha Na and Lee So Hee triumphed 21-19 11-21 21-17 over Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida to claim the women’s doubles YONEX All England Open title. 

Up against the 2022 champions, the second seeds battled to the first game but had work to do after being forced into a decider.

There, they kept their cool to claim a first All England title and ensure that Korea claimed the women’s doubles trophy for the second consecutive year.

Heading into the final, there was little to separate the two sides other than three places in the rankings and the first game showed that to be true.

No pair was able to hold the advantage until, at 12-12, three consecutive points moved Baek and Lee into the lead.

But the lead could not last as Matsuyama and Shida won four points in a row to return the game to parity at 19-19.

From there, the Japanese pair will wonder what could have been as they left a shot at the back of the court to see Baek and Lee take the game and move ahead.

That lit a fire in Matsuyama and Shida as they came back to claim the second game, winning eight of the final nine points.

The decider tipped towards the World No.2s early on as they moved 4-0 ahead and while their opponents clawed their way back to a point behind, they were never back on level terms.

The two pairs engaged in several thrilling rallies but the momentum being on Baek and Lee’s side was most keenly felt at 17-15.

After a rally that seemed like it would stretch forever, the Korean pair triumphed to move three points away and Matsuyama could do nothing but throw her racket away.

Baek and Lee then closed out the final at the third time of asking to take their first title and avenge their defeat in the showpiece last year.

“We hadn’t been a pair for long last year so for the last 12 months compared to now back then I wasn’t able to solve difficult situations when I was encountering them,” Baek said.

“I wasn’t 100% certain about what to do in terms of my movement, but now in terms of rotations and how we communicate with each other, I know how to approach it.”

For Matsuyama and Shida, the end of their All England campaign gives them a chance to reflect on an impressive two weeks, which has seen runs to two finals.

Matsuyama said: “We’re very pleased we could reach the final, this is definitely a step up for us.

“We lost again but we did very good things as well, so we’ll build on these strengths from this time.”

“From the French Open to here, we have played two weeks and we got to two finals and we just couldn’t get the last win,” Shida added.

“We want to look back on what we could have done and what we did well, and we’re going to reflect on our experiences and build on this for the next time.”


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