GUANGZHOU - Thai teenager Ratchanok Intanon took the world women's badminton title in Guangzhou Sunday in a massive upset, beating Chinese Olympic champion Li Xuerui 22-20, 18-21, 21-14.
Ratchanok, 18, becomes the first ever Thai player to win gold at the world championships after defeating 22-year-old top seed Li, who was gunning for her first world title.
The three-game thriller was a battle of brilliant technical skills and stamina, with Ratchanok pushing a more experienced Li around the court with a huge repertoire of shots. Ratchanok came back from 19-12 down in the first game to clinch it by two points, with a grim-faced Li fighting back to take the second.
But the supremely relaxed Thai looked physically and mentally stronger in the final game, holding on to a lead even though Li threw everything at her.
At the end of the match Ratchanok dropped to her knees in tears on court before bowing to an applauding stadium.