World No.37 Koki Watanabe completed an impressive journey to his first HSBC BWF World Tour title as he outplayed Chou Tien Chen in the men’s singles final of the YONEX Swiss Open 2023 today.
There were other first-time winners of the Super 300 level – mixed doubles champions Jiang Zhen Bang/Wei Ya Xin, and Rena Miyaura, who won the women’s doubles with Ayako Sakuramoto, a past Swiss Open champion with a different partner.
Watanabe, who was promoted to the main draw from the qualifiers’ list, proved more than a match for his veteran opponent, taking the title 22-20 21-18 21-12 in 74 minutes. Watanabe’s previous best at a tournament of this level was a semifinal finish at the YONEX Chinese Taipei Open in 2019.
“Chou was the favourite, so I had to go all out and just play my best game and not worry about how he would play,” said the champion. “I knew it would be tough. My strategy was to keep attacking and not wait for his mistakes.”
Chou, who in the semifinals had beaten top seed Viktor Axelsen for only the third time in 19 matches, sought to look at the positives from the week.
“It was a tough match, he played really well,” said the world No.6. “I tried to follow up and tried to put more speed, more focus and more spirit. I’m not so happy with the result, but I’m happy to be here in the final. It’s an amazing crowd, and I enjoyed being here.
“Yesterday I played Viktor and I won after a long time, so that gives me confidence as I go for Olympic qualification.”
Meanwhile, Pornpawee Chochuwong broke a three-year long spell without a World Tour title as she beat Mia Blichfeldt in the final. Chochuwong’s last victory before this was the Barcelona Spain Masters in February 2020.
“We both played three games in the semifinals,” said Chochuwong. “I was tired today and I was a bit slow, but I had to control myself to play today. So today I tried not to put much pressure on myself. I tried to keep the focus on every shot I played.”
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