Great Finish to the 2007 KLRC New Zealand Open

The crowds were buzzing as they left the Auckland badminton stadium yesterday after the finals of the KLRCNZ Open. NZ and Oceania Badminton Life member Heather Robson commented that NZ […]

ImageThe crowds were buzzing as they left the Auckland badminton stadium yesterday after the finals of the KLRCNZ Open. NZ and Oceania Badminton Life member Heather Robson commented that NZ hasn’t seen this level of badminton in a very long time.

Lynne Scutt, Badzine Correspondent in Auckland. Photos (live), copyright Michael Bradley – www.mbphotos.co.nz

The tournament was a success from start to finish with a very high quality field and a large group of volunteers and staff to make everything run smoothly.

From the quarter-finals night the many local Indonesian, Hong Kong and Malaysian supporters came in large numbers to cheer loudly for their favourite players. On the Friday night, there was a first for this tournament as the doors were closed and public turned away with all the tickets having been sold out. 

Obviously, the one who impressed throughout the tournament was the Indonesian young gun Andre Kurniawan. He continued his fine form from the Indonesian Super Series to win the men’s singles from an unseeded position, beating Malaysians Roslin Hashim, Yeoh Kay Bin and then in the final against the much more experienced Wong Choong Hann. By winning, Kurniawan broke the run of Malaysian singles winners at the NZ for the last 2 years. Andre commented after the game that he was nervous at the start as this was his first major final, but he slowly got himself into the game and got stronger and more confident and was very happy to win. He is now to travel to Vietnam to see if his hot form can continue.

Another popular winner was Zhou Mi (pictured above) in the ladies’ singles. Always smiling and very approachable, it was great to see such a top quality player enjoying her game and taking the title in straight sets. Her hardest game was in the semi-final against top seed, Pi Hongyan of France, but Zhou’s experience and class was obvious from the start of the event and there will be many more titles to come her way.

ImageOn finals day, the crowds were lining up outside to get a good seat for the games ahead. The men’s singles and men’s doubles finals were the matches the supporters were looking forward to the most and they weren’t disappointed. The men’s singles was a long and exciting match, but the supporters had to wait until the last match of the day for the men’s doubles and it was well worth it.

Malaysia’s Hoon Thien How and Chan Chong Ming had the crowd on their feet creating an atmosphere not seen in NZ badminton for many years with their diving and jumping around the court. They won an exciting final against the experienced Hong Kong pair Njoto and Wiratama 21-14, 20-22, 21-11. The Malaysians maybe should have won this game in 2 sets but were still happy and relieved to take the title. This was an excellent finale for the KLRC NZ Open.

Both Badminton NZ and major sponsor Andrew Kam from KLRC were delighted with the success of the tournament and now look forward to next year’s event.

All RESULTS HERE

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