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Finals Day Wrap: Momota thrills and Daddies bring it home

Finals day at the 2019 YONEX All England Open has been breathtaking – with five new champions across the draws and a feast of top-class badminton for all.

An amazing day for China saw three titles won, while the Daddies owned one for Indonesia and Kento Momota created history for Japan.

For anyone who missed the action, here’s how it went down…

Momota fulfils childhood ambition with YONEX All England title

Can anybody stop ‘King Kento’ Momota, the new men’s singles champion of the YONEX All England Open?

The reigning World Champion, Asian Champion and world No.1 is now the winner of badminton’s oldest tournament, the first Japanese men’s singles winner in history.

Momota is a man who at just 24 is constantly re-writing history and today he did so in spectacular fashion against the steadfast challenge of Viktor Axelsen – prevailing 21-11 15-21 21-15.

It was an absorbing, see-saw final with Axelsen smashing his way to take the second set, but Momota has been on a trailblazing comeback 12 months, and he’s just topped the lot.  

After the victory at badminton’s greatest show, he commented: “Winning this tournament has been a dream from my childhood and having won this it is a really big moment in my life, and gives me a lot of confidence.”

Daddies champions again after comeback win

It’s been five years - but the Daddies are back on top at the YONEX All England Open!

Some considered Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan to be real outsiders here at badminton’s greatest show at the outset, but the 2014 winners sensationally grabbed their second title with a win over Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik.

The young Malaysian duo have been on an incredible All England journey themselves to make it to their first final, but couldn’t match the experienced Setiawan, 34, and Ahsan, 31.

With all their youthful energy Chia and Soh were able to dominate the first set but were then overtaken by their title rivals, the final score at 11-21 21-14 21-12.

After the victory, Ahsan commented: “Actually they are a very strong opponent but we just wanted to focus and we didn’t want to give up, even after we lost the first set.

“We’re very happy because this is a prestigious match, we’re just very happy!

“I want to say thanks for all the Indonesian support, they’ve been amazing. Thanks to all who’ve supported us here in the arena and back in Indonesia as well.”

Chen Yufei takes YONEX All England women’s singles title

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 and Jia crowned YONEX All England champions

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.”

Zheng and Huang exercise their demons

In the mixed doubles draw we had a repeat of last year’s amazing final as defending champions Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino tried to go back-to-back but lost out to Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong.

You get the sense that Zheng and Huang have been bugged by last year’s All England defeat to Watanabe and Higashino as they beat almost all that came before them for 12 months, now world champions and with their games improved even further.

The Japanese duo started well but Zheng and Huang barely put a foot wrong and wrestled back control to take the first game 21-17 before the second game followed a similar pattern, the Chinese pair coming from behind to take it 22-20 with a fearsome display of mentality.