Badminton Life

Xie and Zhang Win Mixed Crown

Third seeded Chinese pair of Xie Zhongbo and Zhang Yawen won the mixed doubles title at the China Masters when they beat Indonesia's top seeds Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir in the final.

Helped by the support of the home crowd, the Chinese pair lifted themselves in the final to shock the favoured Indonesian pair.

Xie and Zhang started the tournament without much fanfare, although they did managed to score a good 23-21, 21-15 victory over the Malaysian pair of Koo Kien Keat and Ng Hui Lin.

Koo is more known as men's doubles partner for Tan Boon Heong, with the pair teaming up to win the 2007 All England title.

However, Koo's mixed doubles efforts did not come to much as he and Ng fell at the first hurdle against the Chinese pair.

From there, Xie and Zhang took on unseeded compatriots Sun Junjie and Zhao Yunlei.

On paper, it appeared to be an easy task for the third seeds but Sun and Zhao had other ideas, taking the first game 21-18. However, the favourites fought back to win the next two games 21-17, 21-17 and seal a place in the semi-finals.

That is where they met the second seeds, also from China, He Hanbin and Yu Yang. In a surprisingly one-sided encounter, Xie and Zhang prevailed 21-15, 21-8, allowing them to enter the final and pave the way for their title triumph.

As top seeds, Nova and Liliyana needed to win just two matches to reach the final. In the first round, they received a bye, which put them into a second-round clash against the Chinese pair of Shen Ye and Pan Pan.

Without adequate match-practice as a result of the by they received, the Indonesians had to fight hard before winning 21-18, 14-21, 21-9 for a place in the semi-finals.

In the last four, they faced compatriots Muhammad Rijal and Vita Marissa. However, there were no favours from either pair as the match dragged into a third game.

Nova and Liliyana eventually triumphed 17-21, 21-15, 21-12 to reach the final, where they fell to Xie and Zhang.

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