In a thrilling culmination of the year-ending Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Finals in Hangzhou, Olympic badminton champion Viktor Axelsen and former world number one Tai Tzu-ying showcased their prowess, clinching victories in their respective finals on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Danish sensation, Axelsen, left an indelible mark on the tournament as he dominated China’s Shi Yuqi in a one-sided men’s final. Axelsen showcased his skill and determination, securing victory in straight sets with a commanding score of 21-11, 21-12. Reflecting on his performance, Axelsen expressed both pride and exhaustion, emphasizing the extraordinary nature of his year.
“My year has been extraordinary. It has also been marked by big disappointments,” Axelsen admitted, referring to setbacks in the All England Open and the World Championships on home soil. Undeterred by these challenges, Axelsen highlighted the resilience of a great sportsman in overcoming disappointments and emerging victorious. With fluency in Chinese, he conveyed his pride in winning significant titles, providing a positive outlook on the year despite its ups and downs.
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In the women’s final, the former world number one and current world number four, Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan, demonstrated her tenacity by staging a remarkable comeback against Spain’s Carolina Marin. After dropping the first set 12-21, Tai displayed remarkable skill and determination to turn the tide, securing the next two sets with scores of 21-14 and 21-18, ultimately claiming the title.
Marin, a former Olympic champion and the lone European in the women’s world top 10, had fought her way to the final with a gripping three-set victory over China’s Chen Yufei, adding to the intensity of the showdown. Despite facing challenges in her preparation due to suboptimal training conditions, Tai expressed satisfaction with her performance on the court.
“I wasn’t able to train well before coming, so my preparation and performance here were not optimal,” Tai acknowledged, underscoring the significance of her triumph despite the less-than-ideal circumstances.
The BWF World Tour Finals in Hangzhou delivered a spectacular showcase of badminton prowess, with Axelsen and Tai emerging as the champions in their respective categories. Their victories not only highlighted their individual skills but also showcased the resilience and determination required to overcome setbacks in the competitive world of professional badminton. As the year comes to a close, these triumphs will undoubtedly be remembered as defining moments in the careers of Axelsen and Tai Tzu-ying.