Birmingham : Chinese star Lin Dan was denied a seventh All-England Open title as his young compatriot Shi Yuqi clinched a shock victory in Sunday’s final.
Seventh seeded Shi profited from Lin’s lacklustre play to win 21-19, 16-21, 21-9 in Birmingham. The surprising absence of Lin’s famed attacking skills helped Shi to grow in confidence.
The 22-year-old was able to utilise his speed and hard-to-read overhead attacks without inhibition against one of the sport’s all-time great.
Lin would have been the oldest player in 63 years to win the All-England men’s singles title had he prevailed.
But just when he had levelled the match with a burst of delicate drops and sliced smashes, he suddenly lost his rhythm.
Lin became the first player ever to play in 10 All-England men’s singles finals and made it the first all-Chinese men’s Open final for a decade.
Both Chen Long, the Olympic champion who lost to Shi in the quarter-finals, and Lin have been nurturing the development of their compatriot.
Earlier, Tai Tzu Ying, the world number one from Taiwan became the first women’s singles player in more than a decade to successfully defend the title.
But she was not happy with her performance after a 22-20, 21-13 win over Akane Yamaguchi, the world number two from Japan, in which Tai had to save a game point in the first game.