Viktor Axelsen and Carolina Marin claimed the Thailand Open in Bangkok Sunday.
Spaniard Marin bolstered her chances of defending in Tokyo later this year by defeating top seed Tai Tzu-ying while Axelsen of Denmark put it across Hong Kong’s Angus Long Vwas in the men’s final.
Marin, 27, a former world number one, was an imposing force with razor-sharp smashes, clever net work and an unmatched level of aggression and agility.
She screamed in delight as she won match point in the second set after steam-rolling her 26-year-old opponent from Taiwan 21-9, 21-16 in 42 minutes.
The first non-Asian women’s player to win an Olympic badminton gold, Marin has faced an uphill battle to recover from a January 2019 knee injury in time to defend her crown in Tokyo.
Axelsen, meanwhile, took just 44 minutes to triumph 21-14, 21-14 over Long.
It was back-to-back tournament wins for the Dane, 10 months apart, after claiming the All England Badminton Championship in mid-March.
The Thailand Open is the first of three consecutive tournaments in Bangkok culminating in the World Tour Finals from January 27.
Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu were too good for Thailand’s Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai in the women’s doubles final, prevailing 21-15, 21-12.
In the men’s doubles Taiwan’s Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin beat Malaysia’s Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong 16-21, 23-21, 19-21.