Chen Yu Fei may be the most complete player in women's singles badminton today and she proved her quality once again to defeat Tai Tzu Ying 12-21, 21-12, 21-17 to win the BWF World Tour Finals women's singles title. Through her great retrieving and majestic shot-making, Chen left her opponent from Chinese Taipei behind to clinch her maiden win at this event.
When the match got underway, Tai seemed to be in her element as she started with two brilliant shots to get off the mark. Unlike her previous matches where she played more like a workhorse than a wizard, in today's contest, the Taiwanese player was reeling off some of those delectable shots which she is known for.
After the first few points, Chen did start to get herself in the game but still trailed 6-11 at the interval. After the break, the Chinese too started to play some impressive shots but Tai remained ahead with her magical shot-making. The Asian Games Champion raced to a big lead and started to dominate the rallies.
At this stage, Chen also showed signs of coming under pressure as some of her smashes started going wide. But more ominously, Tai was finding the mark with her deft shots and soon had as many as nine game points. She needed just two as a smash down the line wrapped up the game.
The change of ends seemed to have an adverse effect on the Chinese Taipei player though, as her shots went beyond the lines and she fell 1-5 behind. But, a few moments later, Tai unleashed her cross-court smash to Chen's back-hand side earn three points in a row. She also injected a little more aggression to her game. But it didn't change the complexion of the match too much as the Chinese led 11-6 at the break.
After the interval also, Chen remained on top and raced towards leveling the match. Things were getting better and better for the crowd favourite and soon, she had taken the match into a decider.
In the final game, the Chinese player was soon ahead 3-1. What made her effective was the ability to retrieve most of the shots that her opponent was throwing at her. On her part, Tai wasn't looking at her absolute best, a condition in which all her ambitious shots hit the mark. On top of that, the most sumptuous shots were coming from Chen and errors from Tai were mounting.
The player from Taiwan was attempting to push her opponent to the back court and then deliver the winner. But Yu Fei was so fleet-footed that there were hardly any winners against her. In a worrying trend, most of Tai's points were coming through errors while Chen was able to find the mark with her winners.
Another area of the game where the home player was having the upper-hand was in her net-play. Despite her great skills, Tai was unable to earn any points in net exchanges. 11-8 was the scoreline at the last game's interval.
With her back to the wall, the 25-year old Tai decided to up the ante. But Chen's retrieving and measured play was proving too hard to crack. While she was sending almost everything back, many of her shots were just too good to return.
Soon, the result seemed a foregone conclusion as the dominance of the 21-year old Chinese lady looked complete. A couple of long lobs broke her momentum a bit and then, for the first time in the match, a net exchange brought Tai a point. Five straight points for the Taipei player brought the score to 18-17, just a one-point lead for Chen.
But the momentum was broken when Tai hit the shuttle into the net and then played a shot long to give three championship points to her opponent. The match ended with a long rally producing another shot that went long from Tai as Chen secured her first World Tour Finals title.