Li Xuerui took another step towards regaining her place among the world’s elite, winning the 2018 Yonex US Open yesterday beating home player Beiwen Zhang.
This is the biggest victory Li has had since her comeback from an injury suffered at the Rio Olympics 2016. In her first comeback event in April this year, she won the Lingshui China Masters – a HSBC World Tour Super 100 event, but had a disappointing time during China’s TOTAL BWF Uber Cup campaign in May. The US Open, a World Tour Super 300 event – will give her 7000 points for her title victory.
In Fullerton yesterday, qualifier Li fought off a narrow loss in the opening game to Zhang, before coming back strongly to beat the India Open champion, 24-26 21-15 21-11 in an hour.
Top seed Zhang had earlier beaten defending champion Aya Ohori (Japan) in a close semi-final, 20-22 23-21 21-13, while Li got the better of last year’s runner-up Michelle Li (Canada), 21-17 21-17. Li had a tough draw, fighting past second seed Sayaka Sato (Japan) in the second round and Korea’s Kim Hyo Min in the quarter-finals.
Korea’s Lee Dong Keun won his biggest title since the Jeonju Victor Korea Masters in November 2015, seeing off the threat of Dutchman Mark Caljouw 14-21 21-17 21-16.
Lee, who beat top seed Lin Dan (China) in the opening round, survived a difficult semi-final against Thailand’s Khosit Phetpradab, 21-19 15-21 21-18, while Caljouw beat India’s Ajay Jayaram, 21-13 23-21.
China added a second gold when Tang Jinhua/Yu Xiaohan outplayed Korea’s Kim Hye Jeong/Kim So Yeong 18-21 21-13 21-15 in the Women’s Doubles final.
Top seeds Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao were beaten in the semi-finals by Kim/Kim 17-21 21-16 21-17.
Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying returned to winning ways, capturing the Mixed Doubles title over Germany’s Marvin Emil Seidel/Linda Efler, 21-19 21-15.
China won a third title on the day through young Men’s Doubles duo Ou Xuanyi and Ren Xiangyu, who emerged victorious in Men’s Doubles in the last match of the tournament. The unseeded Chinese started their campaign with an upset over fourth seeds Mark Lamsfuss/Marvin Emil Seidel (Germany) and went on to beat Korea’s Kang Min Hyuk/Kim Won Ho in the final, 21-17 21-14.