The YONEX All England women’s singles title is back in Chinese hands for the first time in five years after Chen Yufei sensationally downed defending champion Tai Tzu Ying.
The last Chinese winner was Wang Shixian in 2014 but alongside He Bingjiao and Gao Fangjie Chen is leading the new wave of singles shuttlers from her country and underlined her progress in dramatic fashion with the 21-17 21-17 victory.
That it came against the incredible Tai, who had so far looked imperious in her quest for a historic hat-trick of titles, makes things all the more special for Chen, who only turned 21 last week.
As she won the final point the youngster fell to the court at Arena Birmingham, revealing after coming off the court this was not a win she’d expected.
“I was over-excited,” she said. “I didn’t expect to win the Championship title in straight games!
“When I express my joy I feel like I lose my physical composure – that’s why I fell to the ground!
Chen had every reason not to expect to win the coveted title at badminton’s oldest tournament, given that Tai previously had an 11-0 record against her and had only dropped one set in Birmingham in 2019.
But the Chinese player had been in superb form herself all week, beating Sung Ji Hyun and second seed Nozomi Okuhara before soaring into a first-game lead against Tai – 14-5 up at one stage.
And this wasn’t as though the Chinese Taipei player was making mistakes, Chen simply played to an unmatchable level that could have won almost any women’s singles final.
Tai caught her in the second at 17-17 until four consecutive points followed, with Chen later revealing how she turned around that 11-0 record.
She said: “I think I am more mature both mentally and physically compared to last year, and I think I kept my pace on the court today, I think that’s probably the reason why I won.
“It’s just a great honour and success in my career to become YONEX All England champion!”