As it happened - 2021 All England Open, Day 5: Lee Zii Jia takes maiden title as Okuhara Nozomi helps Japan sweep four of five titles on offer.

Relive all the action from the finals as Lee upsets defending champ Axelsen, Okuhara wins second title in two tournaments and Watanabe Yuta wins men's and mixed doubles titles. 

By Sanjeev Palar
Picture by Badmintonphoto

Hello and welcome to the Olympic Channel's live blog coverage of finals day at the 2021 All England Open Badminton Championships!

If it's half as exciting as yesterday's semi-finals then we're in for a real treat:

22-year-old Malaysian sensation Lee Zii Jia who eliminated World No.1 Momota Kento on Friday, pulled off another spectacular win over defending champion Viktor Axelsen to become the first Malaysian since Lee Chong Wei in 2017 to win the title.

In the women's singles 23-year-old Thai riser Pornpawee Chochuwong who Indian word champion PV Sindhu to make her first All-England final could not find a way around Okuhara Nozomi as the 2017 world champion snatched victory in straight sets.

Meanwhile Japan were always guaranteed all three doubles titles but Watanabe Yuta managed clinch both the men's and mixed doubles titles, proving that he is truly capable of gunning for both events.

Scroll down for results, highlights and how it all happened.

Video coverage of the All England Open on Olympic Channel is available subject to geo-restrictions.

All updates below in local time (GMT). Latest updates first; please refresh the page for updates.


4:07pm - Axelsen congratulates Lee

"I think Lee (Zii Jia) was the rightful winner today so I want to congratulate him. It was a crazy match, really close. The first game was pretty crucial I think, I used a lot of energy and should probably have won if I wanted to take the title today. I think Lee Zii Jia played well in the crucial points today, and I was a little too sloppy at times. Unfortunately I've spent quite a bit of energy this week playing long matches, and it took its toll a little bit." - Viktor Axelsen.

4:05pm - Watanabe completes the doubles double

Watanabe Yuta and Higashino Arisa clinch the mixed doubles title, as Watanabe completes the doubles double.

The number two seeds picked up their sixth international tour title, defeating new pairing of Kaneko Yuki and Matsutomo Misaki 21-14, 21-13.

It's the second time Watanabe and Higashino have clinched the Super 1000 title having won the tournament in 2018.

Watching him on court, you would not have believed that Watanabe had already played one final at the start of the day. The 23-year-old was full of energy and was oozing confidence on court as he became the first male player in 19-years to win the doubles double at the All England Open championships. South Korea's Kim Dong Moon last did it in 2002 and before that in 2000.

3:42pm - "Focus on every point" helps Lee to title

Lee Zii Jia says he is "happy, excited, sad; everything has come into one moment so it's hard to describe the feeling right now. Of course I'm happy about it" after clinching the All England Open title by beating Viktor Axelsen 30-29, 20-22, 21-9.

"For me, I think both of us played very well until the third game, when Axelsen lost a bit of focus and that's the moment I had the advantage. In the first game at 30-29 it was already a very tough game, and coming into the second game I had to focus on every single point. I couldn't afford to lose focus on the points, otherwise my opponent would have taken advantage of it. This is what I told myself: 'focus on every point'. - Lee Zii Jia

3:37pm - Watanabe and Higashino take opening game

The second seeds, Watanabe Yuta and Higashino Arisa win the opening game 21-14.

The 2019 world championship bronze medallist look in complete control against the newly formed, unseeded pairing of Kaneko Yuki and Matsutomo Misaki.

3:15pm - The final final of the day, opportunity for doubles double

The fifth and final match of the day gets underway with the mixed doubles title on the line.

It is another all Japanese affair with men's doubles winner Watanabe Yuta back on court for the mixed doubles, this time with partner Higashino Arisa. Can Watanabe pull-off the doubles double? That will be the question of the day.

They are going up against compatriots Kaneko Yuki and Matsutomo Misaki. Matsutomo won women's doubles gold at the Rio 2016 Games.

3:04 - Lee Zii Jia is the All England Open Champion

Lee Zii Jia defeats defending champion Viktor Axelsen in a grueling match to clinch the All England Open title, 30-29, 20-22, 21-9

The 22-year-old is the first Malaysian to win the All England Open since Lee Chong Wei in 2017. It was a huge win for him, reflected in his winning cheer after clinching the match winning point.

The victory is only his second World Tour title after winning the 2018 Chinese Taipei Open.

3:01pm - Lee opens up a gap

Lee Zii Jia is pullling away from the defending champion.

The Malaysian leads 17-7 and is just 4 points from clinching the title.

2:55pm - A six point lead at the change of ends

Lee lead 11-5 as they change ends.

It is a real test of stamina this match.

2:50pm - Lee leads in the rubber

The rubber game has begun in the same manner as the two previous, with neither player letting the other open up a gap.

Lee displayed to fine attacking shots while Axelsen made a few errors that allowed the Malaysian to edge ahead, 8-5.

2:45pm - Axelsen takes second game, forces a decider

Axelsen was able to just edge ahead of Lee and wins the second game 22-20.

The Dane has kept his title defense alive and we will now be treated to a third game to see who will clinch the crown.

2:43pm - Deja vu - tied at 20-20 in the second game.

Lee managed to pull himself back into the game and drew level at 14-14.

Indecision by Axelsen allow the Malaysian to move two points clear as Lee seemed to grow in confidence as the game progressed.

A great diving save by Lee saw him win a crucial point and move 4 points clear of Axelsen, 18-14.

However the defending champion won four points in a row to level at 19-19.

It's now 20-20 and anyone can win this.

2:32pm - Axelsen responds

The second game pickup from where the first left off.

Both Lee and Axelsen trading points and neither really able to open up a substantive lead.

The defending champion is playing with a lot more urgency and accuracy and as a result has a slim advantage at the mid-game interval, leading 11-9

2:28 - Let's hear from Okuhara after winning the title

After her 21-14 21-16 win against Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong

"I'm very happy to be the All England champion again! I wanted to play the same in this final as in my other matches, but I wanted to play my shots to the back higher which worked very well. It's her (Pornpawee Chochuwong) first time in the final of the All England, I think she felt a little bit of pressure.

Five years ago I won here and there was no pressure, this time i'm in the top five players in women's singles so that changed things. But my overall play is now at a higher level so I am very happy." - Nozomi Okuhara

2:20pm - Lee edges out victory in opening game

Lee Zii Jia was pushed all the way by Viktor Axelsen in the opening game but eventually prevailed, winning 30-29.

The two players were determined to win the opening game and it showed as they traded points and pushed each other to the maximum limit of points allowed in a game.

Lee held the advantage 26-25, and his fifth game point opportunity but made an error at the net to allow Axelsen back in.

Again the Malaysian set up a another game point opportunity at 28-27 but Axelsen found an answer.

Eventually at the final point on offer, Axelsen hit the shuttle long, which let the Malaysian to take the opening game.

2:08pm - Nothing separating Lee and Axelsen, tied at 24-24

Lee has been defending very well against Axelsen's attack. The Malaysian has retrieved several of the Dane's smashes and gone on to collect the point. And that seems to be throwing off the the 2017 world champion.

However several unforced errors by the 22-year-old Malaysian kept Axelsen within reach as he drew level at 16-16.

Lee, playing in his first Super 1000 final seemed more comfortable on court compared to Axelsen as he pulled three points clear 19-16.

But Axelsen drew from the experience of playing his third-consecutive All England Open final to claw back into the game 19-19.

The Malaysian had the first game point opportunity but the Rio 2016 bronze medallist is not giving up and has drew level 20-20.

There was little to choose between the two and at 23-23, the Malaysian gained this third game-point opportunity but Axelsen again pegged him back

1:59pm - Lee Zii Jia has the advantage over Viktor Axelsen in the opening game.

It's a very close opening game with both players playing great attacking badminton.

Tied at 8-8, Lee inched ahead but Axelsen immediately pinned him back 10-10.

However it is the Malaysian with a single point advantage at the mid-game interval.

1:45pm - Viktor Axelsen looking to defend his title

Defending champion Viktor Axelsen will be looking for victory against Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia.

Lee defeated top-seed Momota Kento in the quarter-finals and pulled-off a comfortable win in the semis.

Axelsen meanwhile makes this third All England final, losing to Momota in 2019, before clinching the crown last year.

Axelsen holds the advantage over Lee in the head-to-head stats, leading 3-1, but has had a shaky start to this tournament. The Dane was also pushed hard by his compatriot Anders Antonsen in a three-game semi-finals.

We should be in for an exciting match ahead

1:37pm - Okuhara wins her second All England Open title

The Japanese player defeats Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong, 21-12, 21-16.

Okuhara, who is playing her third Thai player in three days, looked in complete control throughout the match and needed only two games to clinch victory.

With all three doubles matches being an all-Japanese affair, the win means that Japan wins four of the five titles on offer today.

It is the second All England Open title for the 26-year-old, who last won it in 2016.

It is also the second title for the Rio 2016 bronze medallist in the two World Tour tournaments she has participated in since the resumption of play following the global pandemic. It certainly bodes well for her Olympic aspirations.

1:21pm - There’s hope for Thailand yet

Chochuwong was able to keep closer to Okuhara in the second game as they traded points.

Tied at 9-9 Okuhara was able to exert more pressure on the 23-year-old Thai and pulled out a two point advantage at the mid-game interval to lead, 11-9.

It's too close to call and if Pornpawee can keep matching the Japanese player, she could turn this around to her advantage.

1:08pm - Okuhara Nozomi comfortably takes the opening game

The Japanese player looked in full control against Pornpawee Chochuwong

The 26-year-old wasted no time after the mid-game interval and turned up the pace to run off to a 20-10 lead.

The Rio 2016 bronze medallist was quick to grab the first game 21-12.

Can Chochuwong dig deep and force a decider by winning the second game?

12:58pm - Early advantage to Okuhara

Pornpawee Chochuwong was faster off the blocks, winning the opening three points, but 2017 world champion Okuhara Nozomi responded and drew level at 4-4.

From then on the Japanese player has looked in control of the opening game, and leads 11-6 at the interval

12:43pm - Women's singles Chochuwong takes on Okuhara

Up next, get ready for the first non-Japanese player to take to the court. Pornpawee Chochuwong from Thailand is enjoying a phenomenal season with some high-profile victories including beating her compatriot and mentor, Ratchanok Intanon.

Chochuwong will face-off against number two seed Okuhara Nozomi from Japan who won the title here in 2016.

If the 23-year-old Chochuwong can clinch victory today, she will make history as the first-every player from Thailand to win the All England Open women's singles title. Chochuwong has only beaten Okuhara once in their five encounters.

While the women warm up, you can learn more about Chochuwong here:

12:34pm - Nagahara and Matsumoto clinch maiden All England Open title

Nagahara Wakana and Matsumoto Mayu win the All England Open title, defeating defending champions Fukushima Yuki and Hirota Sayaka 21-18, 21- 16.

The two-time world champions showed they had more firepower in reserve and built on their mid-game advantage in the second game to seal the title in straight sets. Fukushima and Hirota put on a great display in a match that lasted 55 minutes.

The reigning world champions add a maiden Super 1000 title to their growing list of achievements.

12:22 - Nagahara and Matsumoto edge closer

The reigning world champions edge closer to clinching their first-ever Super 1000 title, leading 11-9 at the mid-game interval,

Both pairs are fighting hard and the longest rally tally has been upped to 77 shots.

12:15pm - A birthday present for Endo Hiroyuki's son

We hear from the men's doubles winner Endo Hiroyuki

"We could control the first game and play well, the second game we got a lot of attacking shots from our opponents, but we stayed calm and concentrated on carrying on to the third. That tactic worked and lead to us winning. We won the finals last year, but we haven't been able to play since so we didn't feel like we had a better chance than our opponents. So we went into the match as challengers and took it point-by-point. We didn't feel we had a better advantage. When I was young, this was one of my favourite tournaments. Today is my second son's birthday, so this is a nice birthday present for him."- Hiroyuki Endo

12:09pm - Nagahara and Matsumoto take the opening game in the women’s doubles.

It remains a very closely contested match between reigning world champions Nagahara Wakana and Matsumoto Mayu against defending

Fukushima Yuki and Hirota Sayaka with neither pair managing to open up more than a two point advantage and the lead swinging between both pairs.

The longest rally of the game was first 71, and then 72 shots exchanged – just two shots shy of the longest in the men’s doubles match earlier on.

Tied at 18-18, it was the reigning world champions Nagahara and Matsumoto who were able to inch ahead for the first game point opportunity. They duly converted to win the opening game, 21-18

11:50am - Slim advantage for reigning world champion

It's a very close battle in the women's doubles.

Two-time reigning world champions Nagahara Wakana and Matsumoto Mayu take a slim 11-10 lead at the mid-game interval.

Defending champions, Fukushima Yuki and Hirota Sayaka are keeping them very honest in a game that has seen lots of long rallies as they both try to find a way ahead.

If you'd like to know more about the two-times world champions and their aspirations for Olympic gold, you can watch this video while waiting for our next update.

11:33am - Women's doubles warming up

The second all-Japanese final is about to get underway with women's doubles pairs of Nagahara Wakana and Matsumoto Mayu against Fukushima Yuki and Hirota Sayaka.

They have played each other 11 times before with the Nagahara and Matsumoto holding a slim 6-5 advantage over their compatriots.

11:19am - Endo and Watanabe defend their men's doubles title

The defending champion Endo Hiroyuki and Watanabe Yuta prevail and clinch the match 21-15, 17,21, 21-11

After the change of ends, Endo and Watanabe turned up the pace and pulled out a six point advantage to lead 16-10.

The long rallies and intense play seems to be taking a toll on Kamura and Sonoda, as they fell further adrift as the match progressed.

Endo and Watanabe created history by becoming the first-ever men’s doubles pair from Japan to clinch the prestigious All England open title last year, now they become the first pair to win back-to-back titles.

It was a brilliant match with a very high level of badminton on display. Both pairs played their hearts out in match that lasted an hour and seven minutes.

Watanabe's hopes for a doubles double is very much alive. The 23-year-old will have some time to recover and be back on court for the final match of the day.

11:10am - It is too close to call

The third game gets off to a very close start with very little separating the pairs at the moment. Tied at 4-4 no pair has been able to pull more than two points clear.

The defending champs Endo and Watanabe finally pull four points clear 10-6, and it is 11-8 at the interval.

But the pairs change ends now, and Kamura and Sonoda move over to the end where they won the second game.

10:54am - Men's doubles match goes to a decider

Kamura Takeshi and Sonoda Keigo take the second game 21-17.

Defending champions Endo and Watanabe tried hard to wrap up the match and fought hard in the second game. Despite a 74 shot rally, they could not get the points and will now have to make it count in the decider.

10:42am - Kamura and Sonoda respond

After trailing 2-5 at the opening stages of the second game, Kamura and Sonoda opted for a much more attacking style of play and it seems to be paying off.

They are keeping the pressure on their compatriots have a slim three point lead at the interval, leading 11-8

Kamura Takeshi and Sonoda Keigo in search of their maiden All England Open title
Picture by Badmintonphoto

10:32am - First game to Watanabe and Endo

The fourth seeds take take the opening game 21-15

The combination of experience and youth seems to be working for 34-year-old Endo and 23-year-old Watanabe. They turned up the pressure over their 31-year-old opponents Kamura and Sonoda after the interval to clinch the opening game in 19 minutes

Kamura and Sonoda will need to raise their game if they want to keep up with the defending champions and try and force a decider.

10:22am - Defending champs Endo and Watanabe hold the advantage

Kamura and Sonoda won the toss and chose sides.

The third seeds get off to a strong start, winning the opening four points. Endo and Watanabe finally get warmed up and haul themselves back into the game to draw level at 7-7.

We saw some great rallies, with the longest so far lasting 53 shots.

However Endo and Watanabe edge ahead at the mid-game interval, 11-7

10:00am - First final of the day about to get underway

Defending champions and fourth seeds Endo Hiroyuki and Watanabe Yuta take to court as they bid to become the first men's doubles pair from Japan to win back-to-back All England Open titles.

They will face off against compatriots Kamura Takeshi and Sonoda Keigo who despite being the thirds seeds, are making their first final appearance in this tournament.

Watanabe will not only be looking to make history in men's doubles, he will also have to conserve some of his energy for the mixed doubles finals, which he will be contesting later today with Higashino Arisa. So he could potentially fly home with two titles under his belt.

While we wait for action to begin on court, you can find out a little more about 23-year-old Watanabe here:

We will bring you live updates from the five finals.

Here's the order of play:

Play begins at 10am local time in Birmingham (GMT).

Men's doubles: Kamura/Sonoda (JPN) vs. Endo/Watanabe (JPN)

Women's doubles: Fukushima/Hirota (JPN) vs. Matsumoto/Nagahara (JPN)

Women's singles: Pornpawee Chochuwong (THA) vs. Okuhara Nozomi (JPN)

Men's singles: Lee Zii Jia (MAS) vs. Viktor Axelsen (DEN)

Mixed doubles: Kaneko/Matsutomo (JPN) vs. Watanabe/Higashino (JPN)