Naraoka nails biggest title so far


PETALING JAYA: Japan’s Kodai Naraoka captured his biggest title so far in the men’s singles in the China Masters.

Surprisingly, World Championships silver medallist Naraoka’s only World Tour title before this had been the Super 100 Vietnam Open last year.

The world No. 5 Japanese rose to the occasion to out-play teammate and world No. 13 Kenta Nishimoto 21-13, 21-13 in the final of the Super 750 China tourney at the Shenzhen Bay Gymnasium.

The impressive win in Naraoka’s first final since finishing runners-up to Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the world meet in August was a huge boost for him ahead of the prestigious season ending World Tour Finals in Hangzhou from Dec 13-17.

Meanwhile, in the men’s doubles, world No. 1 Liang Weikeng-Wang Chang justified their top billing in front of their home fans by winning the title with a hard-fought 21-19, 18-21, 21-19 victory over reigning Asian Games champions Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty of India.

It was redemption for Weikeng-Wang Chang after they had failed to win a medal in the Asiad at home in Hangzhou last month.

It was the Chinese pair’s fourth title of the year after they had also captured the Opens in India, Thailand and China.

Weikeng-Wang Chang have now established themselves as one of the favourites for the Tour Finals crown.

There was further joy for the hosts when Chen Yufei and Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong triumphed in the women’s singles and mixed doubles finals respectively.

Reigning Olympic champion Yufei had lost 18-21 in the first game against her teammate Han Yue and won the second game 21-4 before the latter retired from the match due to a leg injury.

RESULTS

Semi-finals

Men’s singles: Kenta Nishimoto (Jpn) bt Zhao Junpeng (Chn) 21-17, 21-8.

Men’s doubles: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (Ind) bt He Jiting-Ren Xiangyu (Chn) 21-15, 22-20; Liang Weikeng-Wang Chang (Chn) bt Chen Boyang-Liu Yi (Chn) 21-17, 14-21, 21-15.

Final

Men’s singles: Kodai Naraoka (Jpn) bt Kenta Nishimoto (Jpn) 21-13, 21-13.

Men’s doubles: Liang Weikeng-Wang Chang (Chn) bt Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (Ind) 21-19, 18-21, 21-19.

Women’s singles: Chen Yufei (Chn) bt Han Yue (Chn) 18-21, 21-4, ret.

Women’s doubles: Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida (Jpn) bt Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (Jpn) 21-18, 21-11.

Mixed doubles: Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) bt Seo Seung-jae-Chae Yu-jung (Kor) 21-10, 21-11.

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