BWF Badminton World Championships 2022, as it happened: Day 7 - Axelsen and Yamaguchi claim repeat singles wins as Zheng/Huang regain world XD title; Chia/Soh secure Malaysia's first world crown in MD; Chen/Jia retain WD.

Read what happened on finals day at badminton's World Championships in Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday 28 August 2022.

By Shintaro Kano in Tokyo
Picture by Badmintonphoto | Courtesy of BWF

The 27th BWF World Championships in badminton in Tokyo, Japan came to a conclusion in men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles on Sunday (28 August 2022), finals day at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

The men's singles final saw Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medallist Viktor Axelsen comfortably defeat Thailand's Kunlavut Vitidsarn to regain the title he first won in 2017, while home favourite Yamaguchi Akane retained her world title in a decider against reigning Olympic champ, Chen Yufei.

Read on to find out what happened in each of the five finals, as it happened, in the Japanese capital.

All times below are Japan Standard Time (UTC/GMT +9 hours). Most recent updates at the top; please refresh for latest.

21:51 - Zheng/Huang on winning in Tokyo:

Zheng: “We’re thrilled. I’m really happy right now. Preparing for this tournament was a really tough process. Today’s win feels like our first win at the 2018 world championships.

“Today we had a firm strategy against our opponents. Their defense is really good and we were actually behind but we had a solid plan and that’s how we won".

Huang: “We broke up after last year’s world championships hoping to get better. Then we got back together, just trying to do our best”.

21:17 Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong seal third world title

Watanabe Yuta and Higashino Arisa made a bright start to the second game with Watanabe getting into attacking positions and making them count.

They went into a 5-2 lead, but Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong took the next four points in a row before taking an 11-8 advantage at the break.

Watanabe's powerful left-handed smashes inspired a comeback from the Japanese as they took a 14-13 lead. That got the crowd going, but Zheng and Huang quickly reeled off the next five points in succession.

The end came swiftly after that with the Chinese converting their first match point to regain their world title 21-13, 21-16 in 41 minutes.

Incredibly, Zheng and Huang are now on a winning streak of 35 matches and have won all of their last seven tournaments.

21:05 Reaction from women's champion Yamaguchi Akane

"I was a little pessimistic in the second game but, in the end, I just let go and had fun playing the match.

"I wasn’t very good in the second game but in the first and third, I was aggressive but managed to be patient at the same time. I gave it everything I had and enjoyed being out there.

"I fed off the crowd as well; they were huge. I’m truly happy and this (the first World Championships in Japan) has been such a novel experience. I still have another competition in Japan and hope I can feed off the crowd again. I want to keep playing well."

20:50 Zheng/Huang on track for third world title

This is not going the way the Tokyo crowd had hoped.

Two-time world champions Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong have been on top from the start against Watanabe Yuta and Higashino Arisa, winning the net battle and taking an 11-6 lead into the changeover.

They cemented their superiority after the restarting, Huang converting their first game point with a delightful drop shot to take the opener 21-13 in just 17 minutes.

20:29 Japan bid for double triumph at end of World Championships

After Yamaguchi Akane's success, the home fans are hoping for more gold in the mixed doubles final which rounds out these 2022 World Championships.

The head-to-head is defintely against Watanabe Yuta and Higashino Arisa with two-time world champions Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong winning 10 of their previous 12 meetings.

Zheng and Huang won their Tokyo 2020 final rematch against Olympic champions Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping yesterday and are clear favourites here. The Japanese third seeds had an easier time of it, cruising past Germany's Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Lohau.

20:10 - Yamaguchi secures back-to-back titles

The roof has nearly come off the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium as Yamaguchi Akane retains her world crown.

At 13-8, Yamaguchi went down awkwardly as she made a vain attempt to retrieve a Chen Yufei smash.

The Japanese scraped her left wrist and, after some running repairs, managed to go out into a 15-9 lead.

Back came the Olympic champion, winning a superb 42-shot rally - the longest of the match - to close the gap to four.

But urged on by the home crowd, Yamaguchi raised her level again to set up eight championship points.

Chen saved the first two, but a netted forehand from the back of the court handed victory to the Japanese 21-12, 10-21, 21-14 in an hour and seven minutes.

Despite her obvious fatigue, the 25-year-old was all smiles afterwards.

She may have won a second world title, but Yamaguchi will lose her world number one position when the new rankings come out on Tuesday. Chinese Taipei's beaten semi-finalist Tai Tzu Ying takes over at the top.

19:53 - Yamaguchi on the brink as volume rises

Yamaguchi Akane is closing in on her second consecutive world title.

There was some speculation from the television commentators at the start of the decider that conditions are favouring the player on the far side of the net as viewers would see it.

That appears to be the case with the drift helping Yamaguchi into a 7-1 lead over Olympic champion Chen Yufei before pulling off a miraculous retrieval to make it 8-1.

Chen won the next two points before Yamaguchi showed her nerves with a routine forehand into the net. The Chinese has fought back but a fine guided crosscourt winner saw Yamaguchi take an 11-6 lead into the mid-game interval. But Chen now has the more advantageous court conditions.

19:39 - All square in women's final

We have our first decider on finals day as Chen Yufei levels up the women's final against Yamaguchi Akane.

Chen raced into a 16-9 lead after the restart with the Japanese then appearing to be conserving her energies for a third game.

The Olympic champion needed just one opportunity to wrap up game two 21-10 as Yamaguchi dropped her first game of the tournament.

19:30 - Chen fighting back in women's final

A much more positive start from Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Chen Yufei in this second game as she tries to draw level against home favourite Yamaguchi Akane.

And the errors have started to creep into the reigning champion's game with Chen taking an 11-6 lead into the break.

19:27 - Axelsen: "To win in Tokyo is something really, really special"

Speaking to Olympics.com, the Dane reflected on completing the Tokyo Olympic-Worlds double and capturing his first world title in five years:

"Tokyo is one of my favourite cities in the world. It’s really, really important for me to do whatever I can to perform well here. And there was no spectators during the Olympics; this time there was. So it was really special for me to be back here and I’m super proud of how I managed to perform.

"It was absolutely amazing. It was finally to see the Japanese badminton fans and see them in the eyes to thank them for their support. It has been an amazing atmosphere this week and it’s one of the biggest tournaments in Japan. For me to win in Tokyo is something really, really special.

"I came out really, really strong. Kunlavut Vitidsarn is an amazing player and we played against each other a few times already and there are really, really good things to come for him. I’m really, really happy with the way I managed to control and deal with everything. I was also the favourite and there was a lot of pressure on me but I managed to perform under the pressure and I’m really proud about it.

"I’m going to celebrate a little bit tonight with some good food and a team around me. I’m going to call my family and enjoy the win. And as you say, there’s always the next tournament in badminton but I want to celebrate tonight and enjoy this".

See how Axelsen won his second world title below.

19:20 - Yamaguchi draws first blood in women's final

Yamaguchi Akane is one step away from retaining her world title in front of her home fans against Olympic champion Chen Yufei.

The 25-year-old has shown great attacking intent so far, dominating the net on her way to an 11-8 lead at the break.

She continued to manoeuvre her Chinese opponent around the court after the restart, and converted the first of eight game points to take it 21-12.

Yamaguchi has won their previous three meetings, the last in the semi-finals of March's All-England Open with the Japanese going on to take the title.

The reigning champion is yet to drop a game in this tournament, but Chen came back yesterday against Tai Tzu Ying and cannot be written off.

18:30 - Axelsen strikes another gold in Tokyo

Last summer, the Olympic Games. This summer the world championships.

The top men's seed traded points with Vitidsarn until halfway through the second game but the Dane pulled away with six straight points to take the set 21-16, capturing the championship for the first time since 2017.

18:05 - Viktor Axelsen in cruise control

It was all Axelsen in the first game which he won in 19 minutes, 21-5, vs Kunlavut Vitidsarn.

At 7-4, the world No. 1 rattled off nine consecutive points to put the game to bed. The junior world champion from Thailand is just trying to keep it respectable.

Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fen pulled away in the second game after forcing deuce in the first against South Korea's Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong.
Picture by Badmintonphoto / Courtesy of BWF

17:26 - Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan repeat in women's doubles

The Tokyo 2020 silver medallists defeat Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong 22-20, 21-14.

See the highlights below.

17:09 - Chia/Soh: "Nothing to describe our feelings right now"

The Tokyo 2020 bronze medallists spoke to Olympics.com following their historic win over the three-time world champions from Indonesia.

This was Malaysia's first gold in either the worlds or the Olympic Games.

Chia: "I don’t know what to say. There is nothing to describe our feelings right now. We are like, finally, we did it. Even though we hadn’t won any Tour titles, God gave us the biggest one.

"I think this is the (fifth) time we beat them and of course this title gives us more confidence, trust each other more and we hope to win more titles.

"Actually I got a minor injury on my right back but it’s fine. After this we are leaving for the Japan Open. This is just like the final day for the world championships. There’s more to come. Tomorrow we will be starting again from zero".

Soh: "I cannot describe this. Really happy because it’s our first-ever title. We were able to play against our idols…

"I don’t think it’s not only about confidence but it’s just the focus on ourselves. Every match we always remind each other on the court to focus on every point".

Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik are going home as national heroes.
Picture by Badmintonphoto / Courtesy of BWF

15:50 - They did it!

Chia/Soh have won Malaysia's first-ever gold medal at the world championships! 21-14 second game!

15:30 - Game 1 goes to Chia/Soh

What a turnaround for the Malaysians, who climb out of a 18-12 ditch to take the set 21-19.

Ahsan/Setiawan seemed to tire late after a salvo of smashes saved by Chia/Soh.

14:05 - The last dance

Good afternoon from the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on the seventh and final day of these championships.

Rain peppering outside, we are in for an intense five finals starting with the men's doubles between Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan and Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik from 15:00 JST.

GO OLYMPIC. GET ALL THIS.

Free live sport events. Unlimited access to series. Unrivalled Olympic news & highlights.