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China Dominates Thailand Open
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China's Chen Yu saved two match points on his way to a thrilling 21-17 21-23 22-20 victory over compatriot Chen Jin in the men's singles final at the Thailand Open badminton championship in Bangkok on Sunday.

Chen Yu started well and held the upper hand in the first game but his opponent forced a string of errors in the second to take control of the contest.

Trailing by 11 points at one stage, Chen Yu pulled back to 20-20 with a combination of stinging back court returns and light lifts over the net, but Chen Jin held on to level the match.

Buoyed up by his success, Chen Jin opened up another lead in the decider but Chen Yu kept his composure and staved off a pair of match points before sealing victory.

"Playing against my teammate made the match very tough mentally," Chen Yu told reporters.

"My advantage was my mental strength. I kept it together when it most mattered and that's what won me the title."

China enjoyed more success when Zhu Lin took the women's singles title with a 21-13 18-21 21-15 defeat of inexperienced South Korean Hwang Hye-youn, whose dream run ended after she had seen off the top two seeds in earlier rounds.

Zhu looked set to dominate the match after taking the opening game but the tenacious Hwang, playing in her first major tournament final, chased every return to push the Chinese to a third game.

Despite Hwang's efforts to vary her play, Zhu pulled away from her opponent after an hour to claim the title.

"Hwang is a very fast player, she changed the pace of the match and that made things difficult for me," an exhausted Zhu said after the match.

"Her performance was very good here and she was able to deal with my best shots."

South Korea dominated the doubles events, winning all three titles.

Lee Kyung-won and Lee Hyo-jung comfortably beat Thailand's Saralee Thoungthongkam and Satinee Jankrajangwong 21-18 21-9 in the women's doubles while Lee Yong-dae and Jung Jae-sung won the men’s event by default after compatriots Lee Jae-jin and Hwang Ji-man withdrew through illness.

Lee Yong-dae and Hwang Yu-mi beat home favorites Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam 21-11 18-21 22-20 to take the mixed doubles title.

Lee and Hwang, who knocked out Olympic gold medallists Zhang Jun and Gao Ling on Friday, were matched point-for-point for most of the 71-minute contest, but the South Koreans did just enough to claim victory by a narrow margin.

(Shenzhen Daily August 1, 2006)

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