Badminton history was written today in the Ballerup Superarena as the reigning European Champion Carolina Marin of Spain pulled off a monumental upset as she beat Chinese world number one Li Xuerui to win the women’s singles title at the World Championships in Copenhagen on Sunday.
The 21-year-old ninth seed recovered from dropping the opening game to the top seed and Olympic champion to complete an incredible 17-21, 21-17, 21-18 victory and earn her country its first ever major title in the sport.
Li had rarely looked in trouble during her run to the final and she again looked at ease with her terrific stroke play proving too much for the tenacious Marin in the opening game.
Carolina Marin creates badminton history
However, the Spaniard was undeterred and came out positively at the start of the second set as she established an early lead before Li reeled her back in.
This time though Marin responded by taking the attack to her opponent for whom the nerves perhaps began to take hold as Li began to misfire more regularly with Marin levelling the contest on the first of three set points.
“I knew I had to change the game plan. Xuerui was so good at the net and I needed to keep her away from it ... so I kept pushing the shuttle to the back. I tried to minimize my mistakes and I finally pulled it off,” explained Marin in the after-match press conference.
The Chinese regrouped in the third game and inched 14-11 ahead but once more Marin came roaring back and moved to within a point of an improbable victory as Li fired long.
Marin then fell to the court in delight on the subsequent point as Li planted her shot into the net.
“I do not have words to express my joy right now ... it is fantastic to win the world title for the first time,” said Marin.
“My goal was to win a gold medal and, in order to do that, I had to fight ... and I fought till the end.”
Carolina Marin is the first European world champion since 2009 when Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter-Juhl grabbed the worlds title in India. At the age of just 21 the Spaniard is also the youngest European world champion ever.
Congratulations to your amazing achievement, Carolina!
The 2014 World Championships finals results:
MS: Chen Long (CHN) – Lee Chong Wei (MAS) 21:19 21:19
WS: Carolina Marin (ESP) – Li Xuerui (CHN) 17:21 21:17 21:18
MD: Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Choel (KOR) – Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR) 22:20 21:23 21:18
WD: Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei (CHN) – Wang Xiaoli/Yu Yang (CHN) 21:19 21:15
XD: Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei (CHN) – Xu Chen/Ma Jin (CHN) 21:12 21:23 21:13
Photos by BadmintonPhoto.