Carolina Marin won her second straight Superseries title, in a repeat of last season’s World Championships final, beating Chinese Olympic Champion Li Xuerui in yet another epic summit clash that lasted an hour and 11 minutes. The reigning World Champion relied on a late 8-point surge in the third game after trailing 9-14 to stomp past the Chinese winning 21-19, 19-21, 17-21.
The final at the Putra stadium saw the Spaniard slowly inching towards getting a career-parity with the top Chinese player, having beaten her a second time post her sensational triumph at the Worlds last year.
Cranking up her energy after a typically slow start against Xuerui, Marin seemed to appraise her opponent’s game in the opening set when she fell back 10-16. But like she had during her All England triumph against Saina Nehwal, Marin was striking some body blows with some late points – as her overhead smashing came into play – and sowing doubts in Xuerui’s head, even if she lost the attack upfront 21-19.
Marin, currently ranked two in the world, had hit her stride by the time she’d changed over to the other side of the court and led 11-5 at the break, continuing to hit with her left-handed lethality, levelling the sets at 21-19. It was an aggressive riposte as she would move quickly to the net for the killers, though it was in tiring out Xuerui that she maxed her momentum going into the decider.
The drama was reserved for the third game as she overturned the apparent advantage that Xuerui enjoyed at 14-9, claiming the next eight points to grab the lead, forcing the Chinese to scurry to corners and making the most of her gift of changing pace at a snap of a finger towards the culmination of a match.
Xuerui whose earliest memory of Marin was a Korea Open match in 2012 that went neck-to-neck from Point 1 to Pont 21 in the decider (the Chinese won that first-ever faceoff) has never been particularly confident in closing out against the Spaniard. Like at the Worlds, she would never recover from the bruising shift that Marin manages in a flurry of winners, and went down to the 21-year-old.
Photo by BadmintonPhoto.