After an incredible performance on finals day at Arena Birmingham, China’s Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan have been crowned women’s doubles champions for 2019.
The two precocious 21-year-olds came from behind to beat third seed Japanese pair Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara 18-21 22-20 21-11.
World champions Matsumoto and Nagahara came flying out of the blocks at badminton’s greatest show, going 5-1 up in the first game and proving uncatchable from there.
But after a tight second set, Asian Games champions Chen and Jia increasingly found their rhythm and dominated the third.
After the game, Chen commented: “We’re so happy!” Jia added: “It’s just fantastic to win the title this year and we beat really strong opponents through all the earlier matches - it just gave us so much motivation and confidence for future performances.”
Chen and Jia, both 21, did indeed come through some tough rounds at badminton’s oldest tournament, beating fourth seeds Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu in the quarter-finals and top seeds Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota in one of the best finishes you’ll ever see in the final four.
And their entertaining style continued into the final, when after a steady first game some remarkable shots came out in the second, Jia incredibly playing defensive shots twice after diving on to the court to go 10-9 up.
The pairs were level-pegging for most of the second set until the Chinese duo got to game point as the shuttlecock somehow managed to lodge itself in Matsumoto’s racquet – terrible luck for the Japanese.
Jia smashed to take the crucial second set and from then on momentum swung, with the former world No.1s pressing home their advantage.
Chen though still thinks there is room for improvement: “Frankly speaking we’re still mediocre in China because we still have a lot to improve on, but the key for us to succeed is always to keep the right mentality and we didn’t give up till the end today.”