Li Xuerui of China holds the trophy on March 11, 2012 following his victory over teeamate Wang Yihan during the women's singles final of the All-England Open badminton championships at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.
Li Xuerui upset world champion Wang Yihan 21-13, 21-19 to win her first All England Open women's title in an all-Chinese final in Birmingham yesterday.
Wang was the favorite being the world No. 1 who had won seven of eight finals in the past year and had never lost to No. 5-ranked Li in four previous matches.
But Wang walked the high wire in the National Indoor Arena, saving four match points against Dane Tine Baun in the quarterfinals and was forced to win the longest match of the tournament to depose defending champion and third seed Wang Shixian on Saturday.
Wang, the 2009 All England champion, was made to pay for another sleepy start and poor footwork. Li, with the confidence of 13 straight wins entering the final, took the first game in 20 minutes.
Wang finally woke up in the second game, changing tactics by lobbing Li to the backcourt and keeping her away from the net. Wang led 11-2 but relaxed again, and Li inched back to tie the game at 18 and eventually won.
Li almost couldn't believe it. "This is my first important win in the world, it's very important to me," she said.
In the men's final, top-ranked Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia was taking on world and Olympic champion Lin Dan of China.