Kunlavut Vitidsarn defeated world No.1 Viktor Axelsen for the first time to take the YONEX Sunrise India Open in a repeat of last year’s TotalEnergies World Championship final.
Thailand’s Gainward German Open champion Vitidsarn was beaten 21-5 21-16 by Axelsen last August in a battle for the world title but the 21-year-old, seeded eighth, earned revenge in New Delhi by winning 22-20, 10-21, 21-12 in the showpiece.
Both players had dropped just a single game in their run to the final with Vitidsarn coming through a hard-fought semi-final against world No.3 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting.
The Thai shuttler had to win a 52-point first game against the Indonesian and the opening exchanges with the Dane were equally fraught with tension.
The eighth seed won three consecutive points at 20-19 down to land the first blow and even though Axelsen hit straight back, Vitidsarn wrapped up the win to finally vanquish the 29-year-old at the seventh attempt.
Vitidsarn said: “From my earlier losses against Viktor, I had learnt that if I could engage him in long rallies and take the match to the decider then I have a chance to win.
“The plan was adapting as we played along. I played without much pressure but the main plan was to attack. I gave it whatever I had.”
In the women’s singles final, An Se Young came from behind against Akane Yamaguchi to defeat the top seed 15-21, 21-16, 21-12 in a 62-minute repeat of last weekend’s Petronas Malaysia Open final.
That day it was world No.1 Yamaguchi who had to bounce back from a game down to register a fourth successive win over the South Korean.
But the 20-year-old, who hadn’t managed to snatch any of the last seven games from the Japanese star, edged a thrilling second in New Delhi before coasting to victory in the third.
China’s unseeded men’s doubles pair Liang Weikeng and Wang Chang also completed an impressive 14-21 21-19 21-18 fightback in the final against third seeds Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik of Malaysia.
The Chinese duo survived a nail-biting deciding encounter against fourth seeds Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan in the round of 32 but didn’t drop a game from then on in their run to the final.
Elsewhere, Japan’s Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida took the women’s doubles title after one half of the other pairing in the final, China’s Chen Qingchen, was ruled out through illness.
It was a similar story in the mixed doubles, with Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Hingashino of Japan awarded the crown with Chen’s compatriot Wang Yilyu also falling ill.