ALL ENGLAND 2013 Finals – Defending champions Ahmad/Natsir win again

Liliyana Natsir and Tontowi Ahmad (pictured left) carried across their form from the previous round, as they blew away Zhang / Zhao of China 21-13 21-17 to prevent a fourth Chinese title of the day and earned their second straight mixed doubles title.

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent, live from Birmingham.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live).

Indonesians Natsir / Ahmad were just too good for Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei (pictured below). Their defence was a level above the Chinese pair, who could not themselves return Ahmad’s destructive smash. A brisk first game ended 21-13 as the Chinese looked short on ideas to counter the defending champions.

The second game saw the Indonesians now relaxed, able to play for the lines, with Ahmad’s smash and Natsir’s net play near fault-less as they went into the mid game interval with an 11-7 lead.

Zhang / Zhao fought well to keep the gap small for a while, but an inspired Ahmad / Natsir walked the game towards the end, taking the second 21-17.

The Chinese spoke after to say: “We are a bit disappointed but it makes no real difference whether we won or lost. We got experience and will learn from our mistakes. It has been a good day overall for China.”

Liliyana Natsir said of the game, “Today we played very well and they made mistakes. We tried to push hard early to pressure them and our tactics worked. We tried to keep calm and play slowly at the key points, and just focus on the court.”

Next up for them is the World Championships: “I hope we keep improving so that we can win at our next big tournament, the World Championships.”

The full results for the day can be found here.

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