Kunlavut Vitidsarn celebrates after winning the men's singles title ©Badmintonphoto

Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn dug extremely deep to overhaul Japan’s Kodai Naraoka in a gruelling men’s singles final at the Badminton World Federation World Championships here.

The match was a war of attrition as both men played out long, exhaustive points that often agitated the Danish crowd at the packed out Royal Arena in Copenhagen.

There were moments of magic from Vitidsarn and Naraoka as they showcased extraordinary defensive skills but it was determined by who won the physical battle.

Vitidsarn was left bruised and bloodied from the 100-minute marathon but used every ounce of his energy to emerge victorious.

Naraoka took the opening game and was just three points away from winning only for Vitidsarn to claw his way back and capture the title with a 19-21, 21-18, 21-7 victory.

It was an incredible fightback from Vitidsarn who had to have his leg bandaged and received treatment for a cut to his hand in a brutal first game that lasted 45 minutes.

Blood had to be cleaned from the court as Vitidsarn and Naraoka battled it out for their first men’s singles title.

Japan's Kodai Naraoka was three points away from winning only to crumble physically ©Badmintonphoto
Japan's Kodai Naraoka was three points away from winning only to crumble physically ©Badmintonphoto

Naraoka received a warning for time wasting at 20-19 in the first game that added to the tension but it failed to stop the Japanese ace from clinching it after Vitidsarn went long.

Vitidsarn lost last year’s final to Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen and it looked like he might fall short again as he slipped 6-2 behind at the start of the second game.

The spectators became increasingly restless as they voiced their disapproval at the length of the exchanges as the match passed the hour mark.

At 18-18, Naraoka was within touching distance of taking the title as he got involved in another long rally with Vitidsarn.

The point went on and on to the frustration of the crowd before Naraoka netted to give the Thai player a 19-18 lead.

Vitidsarn took the next two points to clinch the second game before kicking on in the decider.

Naraoka fell 10-1 behind as the gruelling rallies started to take their toll on his body while Vitidsarn set his sights on victory.

Vitidsarn produced a sensational shot when he managed to flick the shuttle from behind his back to stay in a point before Naraoka hit the net.

Naraoka saved one match point only to go long as Vitidsarn dropped to his knees and celebrated winning an epic encounter.

Vitidsarn also made history as he became the first man from Thailand to win the singles crown.

The women’s singles final lasted almost half as long as South Korea’s An Se-young swept aside Spain’s Carolina Marín with an emphatic 21-12, 21-10 victory.

Marín was seeking a fourth world title and first since 2018 but she was outpowered and outmanoeuvred by the impressive An.

After the disappointment of losing the opening game, Rio 2016 Olympic champion Marín managed to fight back from 8-3 down to draw level at 10-10.

An responded to the challenge, winning 11 points without reply to clinch her first world title.

It was one of three gold medals for South Korea who topped the medal table.

Two of those were won by Seo Seung-Jae.

Seo teamed up with Chae Yu-jung to secure the mixed doubles title with a 21-17, 10-21, 21-18 win over China’s top seeds Zheng Siwei and Huang Ya-jung.

He then spoiled the Danish party when he and Kang Min-hyuk recovered from a game down to defeat home favourites Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen 14-21, 21-15, 21-17.

China’s Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan won a fourth women’s doubles crown with a 21-16, 21-12 triumph against Indonesia’s Apriyani Rahayu and Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti.