PHILIPPINE OPEN 2007 – Two for two for Malaysia, China loses all

The Philippine Open 2007 will be remembered as one of the few tournaments where all Chinese finalists had to settle for second best. The Malaysian team went two for two […]
Image The Philippine Open 2007 will be remembered as one of the few tournaments where all Chinese finalists had to settle for second best. The Malaysian team went two for two as Lee Chong Wei shows he’s ready for the coming world championships and teammates Koo and Tan (photo) make an amazing comeback to win the men’s doubles title.

Article : Ants Kong, Badzine Correspondent. Photos : Ants Kong

In the day’s first final, Lee Chong Wei (pictured below) of Malaysia proved that he is still be best as he steamrolled Chen Hong in 2 sets 21-9, 21-15. The Chinese shuttler just couldn’t match the Malaysian’s speed and accuracy.
”I’m happy that I managed to win this tournament. The crowd’s support was good. Now I’m looking forward to the World Championships next month in Kuala Lumpur. There are still so many things to be done.” said Chong Wei following his victory.

The second match was equally exciting as the women’s doubles’ first seeds Chien Yu Chin & Cheng Wen Shing of Chinese Taipei showed worthy of their seeding. Even though they struggled in the first set against Pan Pan and Qing Tian’s attacking play, the first seed’s experience prevailed and they closed the match at 22-20, 21-14.

“Seeing the entire seeded pairs bow out was a bit scary but we were focused since the beginning. Playing the Chinese pair in the final was not easy as we have not played them before. Now that we have won, we hope to come back next year to defend the title”, explained Wen Shing.

Former world number one player Zhou Mi of Hong Kong had an easy game against China’s upcoming player Zhu Jing Jing. Zhou held off Zhu’s assault in the first set and ran away with the second set 21-18, 21-12 to bag her first Philippine Open title.

In mixed doubles, the Indonesian pair of Lilyana Natsir and Nova Widianto was not to be written off by Koreans Sang and Yu – the latter pair having earlier ousted second seeds Marissa and Limpele in the semi-finals. Natsir and Widianto easily took advantage of Sang Hoon Han’s injury with a quick 21-17, 21-13 win.

“I’ve tried my best to play in the final but I’m still hampered by the injury I got yesterday. I would like to thank my partner Hwang Yu Mi for encouraging me to play on. We lost but we are happy with our results”, explained the injured Korean player.

The Philippine Open ended on an exciting note with the men’s doubles final between Malaysians Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong and Chinese Guo Zhendong / Xie Zhongbo. The Malaysians showed the crowd that their All England and Asian Games titles were no fluke. With their uncanny ability to turn defense into offense, the Malaysians got to a fantastic head start with a 21-8 in the first set.

The Chinese turned up the volume in the second set and were attacking all the way through. As the Chinese lead 19-10, the two points away from a third set ran into a wall of determination from the Malaysians. Refusing to give up, the Malaysians played each point as if it were their last and showed the Chinese that they had no intention of going into a rubber set. The more the Chinese pushed them, the more the Malaysian pair fought back. In a nail biting see-saw battle, the Malaysians prevailed and took the second set 26-24 to claim their third win of the year.

Commenting on their amazing comeback, Koo said: “We took the second set one point at a time and refused to give in. I hope this win will give us more confidence in the coming world championships.”

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