AS IT HAPPENED - BWF World Tour Finals, Day 5: Tai, Antonsen win singles; South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Thailand win doubles
After three long weeks of competition in Thailand, the season concluded with five down-to-the-wire finals as BWF World Tour Finals champions were crowned. Re-live the day's action and reaction.
Welcome to the Olympic Channel live blog from Finals Day at the BWF World Tour Finals for the 2020 season in Bangkok, Thailand.
All times are Bangkok local time (GMT + 7 hours). If you missed any of the action as Tai Tzu-ying and Anders Antonsen claimed the singles titles, as well as from the three doubles finals, you can catch up below.
8:30 PM: Wrapping up
What a day of badminton it has been.
Indeed, what a week – or three weeks – of badminton. Credit to the BWF and Thailand for successfully pulling off this bubble and three well-run tournaments.
The hosts have something to celebrate at the end of it all with Dechapol and Sapsiree winning the country's first Finals crown.
"I feel very happy and proud to be Thai," Sapsiree said. "Today we knew we could do it and have more confidence going forward. We will try our best at the next one too."
We were also treated to great performances in all five categories over the last three weeks.
This concludes the 2020 season, with the players due to begin the new World Tour season with the Swiss Open in Basel from 2-7 March.
Thanks for joining us this past week and see you soon! In the meantime, don't forget to check out all our badminton coverage on Olympic Channel.
7:54 PM: Joy for Thailand
The Thais gain match point after Dechapol deals well with a quick return at the net.
Unfortunately for them, Seo and Chae haven't really given a good account of themselves in this deciding game.
A looping shot from Dechapol to the far court and Chae sets up a hard return, but only into the net! Hosts Thailand have won a title!
Score: Seo/Chae 18-21, 21-8, 8-21 Dechapol/Sapsiree
7:49 PM: Axelsen expresses disappointment
Some words from the beaten men's singles finallist, Viktor Axelsen:
"I wouldn't say I'm as satisfied with my game as I have been the other days. There were way too many mistakes and bad decisions. I think mentally I've used up a lot of energy. Anders played really well and I want to congratulate him. It wasn't for me today, but I can still look back at a great three weeks."
7:45 PM: Thailand on course
11-2 in just nine minutes of this decider.
It's a long road back for Seo and Chae from here.
7:42 PM: What is going on?!?
Well, well, well.
The Thais are out to a 7-1 lead in this decider. What has happened to Seo and Chae?
7:39 PM: Dechapol strikes
A 43-shot rally, the longest of the match, is won by the Thais as Dechapol smashes it just beyond Chae's reach.
Great play from the Thais.
Score: 18-21, 21-8, 1-3
7:35 PM: Seo / Chae enjoying things, level match
If anything, it's Dechapol who's struggling more of the Thai pair, not Sapsiree.
Seo and Chae are controlling the rhythm and they're enjoying their badminton right now.
Game point up for the Koreans and Dechapol tamely returns the serve into the net.
Score: 18-21, 21-8
7:28 PM: Injury woes?
This is odd. Seo and Chae are not really under any pressure here from the Thais.
Is Sapsiree's hand giving her issues?
That's the interval. The Koreans lead by eight points.
Score: 18-21, 11-3
7:25 PM: Antonsen "shocked" at win
Anders Antonsen can't quite believe he's beaten Viktor Axelsen.
"I'm shocked and I'm so, so happy of course. It's overwhelming, I didn't expect to go all the way. It's amazing to get a title as big as this one. It's hard to process and I don't even know what to say. I've had a tough month, things have not been working well for me and I've been struggling a lot, so to win here is unreal."
7:21 PM: Thais take first game
A powerful smash from Dechapol is seen off by Chae. Sapsiree's return looks like it's going out, but Seo plays it and only finds the net.
Game to the Thais.
7:19 PM: Medical timeout
Sapsiree is getting a cut on her right hand tended to.
The Thais are on game point.
7:14 PM: A lot better from the Koreans
Here we go… six straight points for Seo and Chae.
All square at 18-18.
7:10 PM: Dechapol / Sapsiree no match for Seo / Chae
The Thais have strengthened their grip on this match and Seo/Chae look a bit lost right now.
A shot goes long from the Koreans and Dechapol/Sapsiree are up big.
7:05 PM: Thais ahead
It's Dechapol and Sapsiree ahead at the interval though as they string together a good series of points.
7:00 PM: Koreans bright
Seo and Chae have started well, and are looking bright. But the home pair – no doubt cheered on by millions on TV – are keeping things close.
Score: S/C 6-5 D/S
6:50 PM: Mixed doubles final to come
We've got one last match to wrap up the championships, Seo/Chae (KOR) v Dechapol/Sapsiree (THA) – a re-match of their group stage meeting, which the Koreans won.
Dechapol and Sapsiree beat Seo and Chae in last week's Toyota Thailand Open final. Can Seo/Chae overturn that result?
6:40 PM: Axelsen receives prize
Along with collecting his runner-up medal and trophies, Axelsen is receiving a prize for the best men's player through this Asian Leg of BWF World tour events.
6:35 PM: Antonsen roars in victory!
Quick net play results in Axelsen sending a lazy-looking return wide and he walks away in disgust.
Antonsen sinks to his knees and lets out a big roar. Second game aside, he played well.
Score: Axelsen 16-21, 21-5, 17-21 Antonsen
6:33 PM: Antonsen has match point
Axelsen took a 17-16 lead but Antonsen has pegged him back.
Great flick of the wrist to hit a cross-court shot Axelsen couldn't get to.
Now it's championship point for Antonsen.
6:27 PM: Still anyone's game
The world number three is hoping to tie his career head-to-head with Axelsen at 3-3 (Axelsen leads 3-2).
Axelsen, bronze medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympics, still trails in the decider but he's closed the gap to 14-15.
6:22 PM: Court change of sides
They've swapped sides on court now at the interval in the third game.
Antonsen is 11-8 up.
6:18 PM: Antonsen is back
This is better from the world no. 3, who's put that second game behind him.
That was a very weird performance in the second game but he doesn't seem hurt and he's forcing a nervous Axelsen into mistakes.
Antonsen ahead by three.
Score: 16-21, 21-5, 6-9
6:11 PM: Tai says "finally, I won"
"Finally, I won. When I can remain calm and patient, I can win the game. In the end it was a tight game and I was tired and happy at the same time. For every match, I hope I can be patient in my style of play, so before this match today I kept telling myself that I had to play patiently."
6:08 PM: That was quick
Well… Antonsen really had no answer there.
Axelsen blitzes through in less than 10 minutes. Is Antonsen hurt?
Score: 16-21, 21-5
6:03 PM: Axelsen blitzes Antonsen
Well this is a turn-up for the books. Antonsen has lost his concentration, perhaps?
Two failed video challenges in a row as well. They seemed like desperate challenges.
Axelsen is up by 10 at the towel break in this second game.
Score: 16-21, 11-1
5:57 PM: Antonsen takes first game
An audacious between-the-legs shot from Antonsen and although Axelsen does well to recover, he loses the point.
Antonsen then takes the next point but loses a video review on game point.
On Axelsen's serve, however, Antonsen hits a forehand smash winner to take the first game.
5:52 PM: Tight, but not a lot of quality
Unlike the women's singles final, while this match is close, it's notably of a slightly lower quality.
Both men look nervous and neither wants to go on the aggressive. Too many errors.
5:45 PM: Antonsen ahead, just
Axelsen slips at the net and Antonsen hits an easy winner to take the lead.
A return from Axelsen off Antonsen's service goes long and the world no. 3 leads at the interval.
5:41 PM: All-square
Antonsen is actually the higher-ranked player in the world rankings, at third compared to Axelsen's fourth.
Both men will be innately aware of the other's strengths and weaknesses as Danish teammates.
Early on in this first game and it's level.
5:30 PM: All-Danish men's final
Time for an all-Danish men's singles final between Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen.
5:14 PM: Tai wins!
Marín and Tai are on the verge. Aggressive from both. This looks like it's going long from Tai…
But it's in! Marín left it thinking it was out but it lands in bounds and the Chinese Taipei world number 1 has her third Finals tournament title!
Score: Tai 14-21, 21-8, 21-19 Marín
5:13 PM: Match point Tai
Tai, who was five points back at one point, has match point as Marín can't deal with a drop shot!
5:12 PM: Level again
19-19! Marín with an unforced error, returning into the net.
5:10 PM: What a save
Marín pulls a great save out of the bag on another long rally and she's two points away.
5:07 PM: Warning for Marín
Marín gets a verbal warning from the chair umpire as the game starts to slip back in the other direction.
Tai is growing in confidence.
Score: 14-21, 21-8, 15-17
5:04 PM: Wang on winning men's doubles
Some words from Tai's compatriot Wang Chi-lin, one half of the winning men's doubles pair from earlier.
"Today's win has made us really, really happy. We faced our idols. We had no pressure coming into this match. We just tried to use our speed to challenge them. In the second game, it was very close. This title is unbelievable."
5:02 PM: Marín takes coach's advice
Great badminton. Another high-quality rally ends as Tai returns into the net.
Good attack from Marín.
Score: 14-21, 21-8, 10-15
5:00 PM: It's anyone's match to win
A long rally ends with a return into the net from Tai. This is good from both players.
At the interval in the decider, Marín is just ahead.
"You can attack her body, you can attack her backhand. Speed, attack, okay?" That's the advice Marín is receiving.
Score: 14-21, 21-8, 10-11
4:56 PM: Marín defends well
This is looking far better from the Olympic champion.
Tai is being aggressive but Marín is defending well.
Then an incredible drop shot just over the net to win a long rally by Marín.
Score: 14-21, 21-8, 8-9
4:48 PM: Big yell from Marín
The Spaniard is trying to get herself pumped up. Tai wins the first three points of the decider and when Marín finally gets on the board, she lets out a big yell.
Score: 14-21, 21-8, 3-2
4:44 PM: Tai levels it up
It's 1-1 in games as Tai wins the second game 21-8.
What happened between the first two games? Both players looked completely different.
"Have the confidence, eh? Confidence and intensity," Marín's coach tells her.
Score: 14-21, 21-8
4:40 PM: Ahsan reacts to defeat
Here's some words from Indonesia's Mohammad Ahsan, reflecting on losing in the men's doubles final.
"I'm not disappointed because we tried our best. The Taipei pair are very strong, they're confident. I would like to say congratulations to them. They [Lee/Wang] have won two titles before this, so they had more confidence on the court. They are very good opponents and very good friends also."
4:38 PM: Marín needs to find something
In a complete reverse of the first game, Tai is now in full control.
She's enjoying a spring in her step and doesn't look under threat.
Marín's coach is talking to her at the towel break about her racket placement and being less tense and more confident. "You can do it, eh," he encourages.
Score: 14-21, 11-3
4:33 PM: Tai more confident
This is definitely better from Tai. That first game set her back but her mind looks back on track.
Marín isn't helping herself as she starts to make some errors herself.
Score: 14-21, 5-2
4:28 PM: Marín breezes to first game
Tai will have to turn this around in the second set. Maybe she's overthinking things?
Marín takes the first game.
4:24 PM: Nice smash
Better from Tai who's decided to go on the attack. A nice smash which Marín can't get to.
4:20 PM: All going wrong
Tai can't get anything going. Another return into the net.
4:17 PM: Marín leads at towel break
Tai returns a Marín serve out of bounds and she finds herself trailing.
Too many unforced errors from the Chinese Taipei athlete.
4:14 PM: Close game
The rallies continue to come. These are two closely-matched ladies and Tai is aiming to break that streak of final losses in Thailand to Marín.
Tai went out to a 5-2 lead but it's all level again.
4:08 PM: High-quality badminton
Two points in and already two high-quality rallies. We're in for a treat.
Score: Tai 2-0 Marín
4:00 PM: Marín in 50th career BWF World Tour/SuperSeries final
Spain's Carolina Marín is about ready to go in her 50th career BWF final, as she takes on Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu-ying, the world number one.
It's a match-up between the top two seeds in Bangkok, although surprisingly both finished second in their group – Marín behind An Se Young, and Tai behind Pornpawee Chochuwong.
Tai leads the head-to-head 9-8, although Marín has won their last two finals in straight games.
3:45 PM: Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin take the title
A superb attacking performance and Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin cap off their incredible three-week unbeaten streak by being crowned the men's doubles champions at the 2020 BWF World Tour Finals.
They raced off the blocks as usual, stuck to their guns, and were not intimidated by the stature of their opponents. There were smashes galore and though a few errors cropped up, the winners were far more in number.
Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan were chasing a second-consecutive title but it was not to be. They were put on the back foot from the beginning and showed some of their famous dogged defending but were overwhelmed by the Chinese Taipei pair.
Score: 21-17, 23-21
3:35 PM: Lee-Wang erratic
A number of errors from Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin here, with Lee struggling this time on the frontcourt but have done enough to lead. Ahsan-Setiawan have defended well and have been instinctive at the net but need just a bit more to edge ahead.
Score: 21-17, 11-10
3:23 PM: Lee and Wang up a game
And just like that Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin clinch the first game. A breather has allowed Wang to gather himself and the Chinese Taipei pair dictated the game from there. You would think only Lee and Wang can beat Lee and Wang here.
3:20 PM: Ahsan-Setiawan back in it
Wang Chi-Lin has struggled to nail his smashes from the backcourt and it has allowed Ahsan-Setiawan a way back into this match, and they are actually leading.
3:12 PM: Rapid start by Lee and Wang
A great start to the men's doubles final here and Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin are at their attacking best - playing the shuttles early and powerfully, which Ahsan-Setiawan have not been able to counter. Good lead for the Chinese Taipei pair.
3:00 PM: Can Ahsan-Setiawan make it two in a row?
The men’s doubles final pits the experienced Indonesian pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan against Chinese Taipei challengers Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin.
Ahsan-Setiawan, the defending BWF World Tour Finals champions, looked ominous on Saturday with their attacking game, and their top-class defending weathered the wave of smashes quite effectively.
It will be a crucial asset when playing against the rapid Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin.
The top-ranked Chinese Taipei pair, playing in their first final, have been in blistering form, winning the Yonex Thailand Open and Toyota Thailand Open, while also going unbeaten at the BWF World Tour Finals so far.
There are no obvious favourites here. Who do you think will be crowned champion?
2:48 PM: Lee So Hee-Shin Seung Chan take the title!
What a match, what an effort, and what a result! Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan are the women's doubles champions at the 2020 BWF World Tour Finals!
This is a just reward for their perseverance. They saved six, yes six, match points in the second game, never, ever gave up and their belief carried them through.
Spare a thought for Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong though. Unbeaten for two weeks, dominated the first game, and looked like they would coast through. It needed a special, marathon effort to upstage them and Lee-Shin produced exactly that - a truly extraordinary match. Badminton of the highest quality to start off our Sunday!
Score: 21-15, 24-26, 19-21
2:30 PM: Going down to the wire
Shin's renewed confidence has played a big part in Lee-Shin's relentless attacks. Kim and Kong looked off the boil initially but roared back, winning five points on the trot and lead at the break.
Score: 21-15, 24-26, 11-9
2:15 PM: Lee-Shin force third game
Incredible stuff that! This is some brilliant resolve by Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan to take this final to a third game. They saved as many as six match points, dragged this game long, and Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong simply could not finish it off.
This has all the makings of a thriller!
Score: 21-15, 24-26
1:58 PM: Lee-Shin hit back
Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan suddenly seem to have found their groove again. They are attacking much better, finding empty areas of the court, and have unsettled Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong's momentum. Can they continue?
Score: 21-15, 13-14
1:50 PM: Kim and Kong dominate
Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan are trying their best to attack but Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong's defence is frustrating them and they have just not been able to be decisive so far. Shin's receiving and netplay have been inconsistent and one gets the feeling that if she sorts that out, Lee and Shin will have a much better chance. Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong are motoring along nicely.
Score: 21-15, 11-7
1:38 PM: Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong draw first blood
A few unforced errors from Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan has given Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong all the momentum they needed after the break. Lee has been exceptional at the net but Shin needs to be more active to help out her partner. Kim and Kong will be hoping to continue in the same vein in the second game.
1:28 PM: Even contest
This is a high-quality match-up between two pairs of equal calibre. Neither has dominated so far and an 88-shot rally within the first four minutes of the match should tell you all you need to know. Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong have a very narrow lead though.
12:45 PM: Who will be the women's doubles champion?
The first BWF World Tour Finals champion to be decided today will be the women’s doubles and it is an all-South Korean affair.
Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong take on compatriots Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan in a repeat of last week’s Toyota Thailand Open final, where the former pair emerged champions.
Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong, ranked second on Tour, are also unbeaten in the BWF World Tour Finals thus far, and when combined with the Toyota Thailand Open triumph, that winning streak stretches back two weeks.
So, Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong definitely start as the favourites today but Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan look in great form themselves and will no doubt want to upstage their fellow countrywomen.
Who will emerge on top?
12:35 PM: Welcome again!
Good afternoon folks and welcome to the Olympic Channel's live coverage of the final day of the BWF World Tour Finals.
It's time for the champions to be decided in Thailand, as the last two remaining badminton players and pairs in each event battle for the end-of-season honours.
If you missed Saturday's semi-final action, you can re-live it here.
More details of what's coming up on Sunday are below.
Who made it through to the last day at the BWF World Tour Finals in Thailand
Saturday saw 2017 badminton world champion Viktor Axelsen – the Rio 2016 bronze medallist – set up an all-Danish men's singles final against Anders Antonsen, with both men defeating their Chinese Taipei opponents in the semi-finals.
Tai Tzu-ying and Carolina Marín will face each other for the third time in three consecutive finals, with Marín having won each of the first two in straight games at the Yonex and Toyota Thailand Opens.
Men's doubles pair Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin will hope to salvage something for the Chinese Taipei team as they aim to complete the tournament unbeaten.
There is an all-South Korean women's doubles final, while they are also represented in the mixed doubles final against Thailand's home hopes Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai – who like Marín and Axelsen are looking for the third tournament win in a row in Bangkok.
Our team will be providing updates of all the final games and reaction too. Here's how they'll line-up on Sunday:
BWF World Tour Finals Sunday schedule
Matches begin at 1 pm Bangkok time on Sunday.
- Women's doubles final: Lee/Shin (KOR) v Kim/Hong (KOR)
- Men's doubles final: Lee/Wang (TPE) v Ahsan/Setiawan (INA)
- Women's singles final: Tai Tzu-ying (TPE) v Carolina Marín (ESP)
- Men's singles final: Viktor Axelsen (DEN) v Anders Antonsen (DEN)
- Mixed doubles final: Seo/Chae (KOR) v Dechapol/Sapsiree (THA)