Badminton Life

Zhou Flies Flag for Hong Kong

Former world number one Zhou Mi won her first major title while playing for Hong Kong when she triumphed at the China Masters on Sunday.

Zhou is a former Chinese international but moved to Hong Kong some years back. She was hoping to represent the former British colony at the Beijing Olympics but she failed to fulfill the Olympic residency requirements.

After losing in the final at last week's Japan Open, Zhou redeemed herself with a tight 21-19, 19-21, 21-16 victory over China's Wang Lin in the final.

In the semi-finals, she scored a dominating 21-4, 21-19 victory over India's rising star Saine Nehwal.

Before that, she stunned the top seed from China and Olympic semi-finalist Lu Lan 10-21, 21-13, 21-14.

The sixth-seeded Zhou had an easy path to the quarter-final, receiving a bye in the first round before overcoming Any Nieminen 21-15, 21-9 in the second round.

Denmark's All England champion Tine Rasmussen, the second seed, only lasted until the quarter-finals.

After receiving a first-round bye, Rasmussen defeated Japan's Kaori Imabeppu 21-8, 21-13 to set up a last eight clash against China's Japan Open winner Wang Yihan.

In two tense games, Wang prevailed as she won by a narrow 24-22, 26-24 margin.

In the second round, Wang was taken to three games before overcoming another Hong Kong player, fifth-seeded Wang Chen 13-21, 21-16, 21-17.

Apart from Zhou, the most eye-catching performance came from India's Nehwal, who is making a name for herself on the international circuit.

Nehwal won the Taiwan Open two weeks prior and was hoping for a good performance in China.

After a first-round bye, she made short work of Japan's Ai Goto 21-10, 21-10. She followed up with one of her most impressive wins on the tour, a 21-16, 21-23, 21-18 victory over third-seeded Chinese player Zhu Lin.

However, on the day, she was no match for Zhou, who was determined to make up for her defeat in the final of the Japan Open.

Nevertheless, Nehwal has lots of potential and, at only 18 years of age, has time on her side in her quest to win a major international title.

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