CHINA OPEN 2006 – Looking back…

For a six-star badminton event, there were not too many too-level players in the China Open, with the exception of the home team. Still, we witnessed some wonderful games between […]

Image For a six-star badminton event, there were not too many too-level players in the , with the exception of the home team. Still, we witnessed some wonderful games between the older and emerging generations. Our correspondent looks back on the key moments.

By Yan Liang
Photo: Freeman Chan for Badmintonphoto

China claimed four out five titles on Sunday, with Indonesians Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan stealing the men’s doubles from the Chinese pair of Cai Yu and Fu Haifeng. The men’s singles final was a repeat of last year’s, with Bao Chunlai meeting Chen Hong once again. Bao’s performance was also a repeat: he failed to match the speed of Chen and quickly lost 17-21/19-21, making this his third runner-up title at the China Open.

“I was too tired after the match against Lin Dan, but I don’t feel sad about it. At least I beat him. I hope to be Champion at the World Cup in Yihan next week.” said Bao.

“I am so lucky to win the title, because we play at the same level. I am the eldest in the Chinese team now, so I just try to enjoy the match without considering the result,” expressed Chen.

Zhang Ning beat Yao Jie 21-14/21-5 in the ladies’ singles final. However, the Chinese girls did not perform well in this event, with Zhang being the sole Chinese player to enter the semifinal. The renowned Tang Xianhu will be returning to the Chinese team to help train the ladies’ singles players.

World champions Cai Yu/Fu Haifeng lost to the Indonesians 16-21/16-21.

“We used the wrong tactics in the match, probably because we were too tired,” said Fu.

Chinese wins in the women’s doubles and mixed doubles somewhat made up for the defeat.Yang Wei/Zhang Jiewen beat compatriots Wei Yili/Zhang Yawen 21-17/21-7. Xie Zhongbo/Zhang Dan beat Xu Chen/Zhao Tingting 21-19/21-5.

Chen Jin and Taufik
Chen Jin, rising star of the Chinese team, set an important target for this China Open upon seeing the draw.

“I don’t care about being Champion, I just want to meet Taufik (Hidayat),” he said before the tournament. This he did, in the quarter-finals, and after 3 difficult games, defeated Hidayat 21/13 – 12/21- 21/18.

“I asked Lin Dan and Bao Chunlai for tips on beating Taufik. This is my first time playing him and the victory gave me more self-confidence,” said Chen after the match, “Of course, Taufik wasn’t in top condition.” he added.

Hidayat, on the other hand, was not disappointed about the outcome. His wife, Armi, kept him company after the game, and they were laughing about some incoming text-messages from his friends.

“I don’t want to say anything about the Asian Games. You just wait and see,” said the Indonesian wonder, who has set his target for the competition in Doha. He also refused to answer any questions about Lin Dan.

ImageAnother great moment from this year’s China Open was the semifinal affair between best friends Bao Chunlai and Lin Dan.

“I couldn’t believe I did it!” exclaimed Bao Chunlai, after beating Lin Dan 18/21 – 21/19 – 21/10 after another difficult three sets. It was the third time that Bao had defeated Lin.

“I felt hopeless in the second set, especially when he led me by 17 to 9. So I tried to change my tactics, just for the fun of it. I sped up the game, and the Lin couldn’t seem to catch me. That’s when I knew my chance was coming!”

Bao took the second set, following the magical reversion.

“I made a big mistake in the second set, I thought that I would win the game easily and lost focus,” said Lin.

The China Open served as the last chance for Asian players to observe their opponents’ condition before the Doha Asian Games in December. Taking four titles gave Chinese national coach Li Yongbo added confidence, and he promised that the Chinese team would be able to win more than two titles in Doha. He also announced the team roster for the Asiad.

Men’s team: Lin Dai, Bao Chunlai, Chen Jin, Cai Yu, Fu Haifeng, Zheng Bo, Guo Zhendong, Xie Zhongbo
Women’s team: Zhang Ning, Xie Xingfang, Zhu Lin, Gao Ling, Huang Sui, Du Jing, Yu Yang, Zhang Yawen.

Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.