Glorious Gregoria scores a historic first for Indonesia

PETALING JAYA: Gregoria Mariska (pic) created history in the Japan Masters by becoming the first women’s singles shuttler from Indonesia to capture a World Tour Super 500 title.

World No. 7 Gregoria stunned China’s reigning Olympic champion Chen Yufei 21-12, 21-12 in a surprisingly one-sided final at the Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium yesterday.

The 24-year-old played brilliantly from start to finish to deny her more illustrious opponent.

It was Gregoria’s third win over Yufei in 10 meetings and first this year.

The Indonesian ended her country’s wait in the women’s singles for a Super 500 or above title since the World Tour format was introduced by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

Gregoria was overjoyed after winning her second World Tour title following her breakthrough success in the Spain Masters in April.

“I’m very thankful after winning this title. This win gives me a lot of confidence moving forward. I’m so happy as this is my first Super 500 title,” said Gregoria, in a post-match interview with the Indonesian National Badminton Association (PBSI).

“I knew I had to work very hard against Yufei and I prepared myself well.

‘‘I managed to stay calm and was patient on court.

“Yufei was also not at her best and made many unforced errors. Overall, I’m satisfied with my own performance.”

Meanwhile, in the men’s singles, Denmark’s world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen captured his fifth title of the year after beating China’s world No. 7 Shi Yuqi 22-20, 21-17 in a match that oozed class.

Axelsen proved his calibre by overcoming a stiff challenge from Hangzhou Asian Games silver medallist Yuqi in a clash that lasted 66 minutes.

The Dane had also won the Opens in Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and China this year.

China, though, were not to be denied after He Jiting-Ren Xiangyu (men’s doubles), Zhang Shuxian-Zheng Yu (women’s doubles) and Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (mixed doubles) all triumphed after defeating their compatriots in their respective matches.

Men’s singles: Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt Shi Yuqi (Chn) 22-20, 21-17. Men’s doubles: He Jiting-Ren Xiangyu (Chn) bt Liu Yuchen-Ou Xuanyi (Chn) 21-14, 15-21, 21-15. Women’s singles: Gregoria Mariska (Ina) bt Chen Yufei (Chn) 21-12, 21-12. Women’s doubles: Zhang Shuxian-Zheng Yu (Chn) bt Liu Shengshu-Tan Ning (Chn) 12-21, 21-12, 21-17. Mixed doubles: Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) bt Feng Yanzhe-Huang Dongping (Chn) 25-23, 21-9.

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