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Rasmussen Breaks Chinese Stranglehold on All England Women's Singles Title

Tine Rasmussen proved that Danish badminton was truly alive and kicking after she won the All England women's singles title - one of the greatest prizes in world badminton.

The Denmark star scored a 21-11, 18-21, 22-20 victory over China's third seed Lu Lan to break the Chinese stronghold on the title. She joins fellow Danes Camilla Martin, Kirsten Larsen and Lene Koppen as women's singles champions.

It was the first time a non-Chinese had taken the title since 2002 when Martin emerged as the champion. And Martin was among the first to congratulate Rasmussen, who has established herself as among the favourites for the gold medal at August's Olympic Games in Beijing.

"She's just texted me to say welcome to the club," Rasmussen told journalists after her victory. "The All England is the most prestigious tournament except for the world and Olympic titles.

"Now my focus is on the Olympics and hopefully I can stay in the seedings up to Beijing."

The 28-year-old Rasmussen's victory was fully deserved, having beaten world champion Zhu Lin in the second round.

The first game saw Rasmussen take early control as she easily handled Lu's attacking style. However, after leading 14-12 in the second game, she allowed her opponent to win six points in a row to level the match.

Nerves played a major part in the deciding game as Rasmussen collapsed from a comfortable 10-3 lead to trail Lu 15-13. She fought back and eventually took the score to 20-18.

Lu saved two match points but Rasmussen, who was enjoying the support of a capacity crowd at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, held firm to take the next two points and etch her name in history as an All England singles champion.

It was the Dane's third Super Series title within the past six months. She won the singles title in Japan last season and triumphed at the Malaysian Open in January but the All England is so far the biggest prize of all.

Her All England triumph marked an amazing comeback from injury in 2005, which kept her out of the game for six months.












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