Marin claims Hong Kong Open title

Carolina Marin won the Hong Kong Open title for the first time in her career when she beat Nozomi Okuhara in an eagerly contested final on Sunday.

The world champion Spaniard and her unseeded opponent from Japan spent an hour and 24 minutes on court before they could be split, with the 22-year-old world number one eventually winning 21-17, 18-21, 22-20.

Marin has had a stellar year on the BWF Tour, winning the World and All England championships as well as the Malaysian, Australian and French opens prior to her triumph on Sunday, but has seldom had to work so hard for a victory.

The Spaniard led for most of the first game after opening up a 3-0 lead, but her advantage was never more than four points, as the Japanese shuttler kept in touch with her more accomplished opponent. 

At 16-all the game was either shuttler's to be won, but the Spaniard showed her class at this point, winning five of the next six points to go one up in the final.

The lead changed hands on several occasions at the start of the second game, but Okuhara showed the sort of form that saw her reach the final in the first place to open up a 7-4 lead.

Soon after she opened up a 14-7 lead and the match looked set to go into a decider, but at this point of the fixture Marin again played like the world champion she is and levelled matters at 18-all.

Not to be outdone, Okuhara won the next three points to force a decider.

The lead again swapped around a couple of times at the start of the third game, before Marin opened up a 16-9 advantage.

Okuhara continued to impress, though, and proceeded to level matters at 20-all, much to the surprise of most spectators.

Okuhara famously beat Marin at the same event in 2014 but another memorably victory wasn't on the cards on Sunday – the Spaniard winning the next two points to win the 18th individual title of her career.

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