ASIAN CHAMPS 2009 Finals – Kido and Setiawan Cool Champions

Korea’s doubles pairs kept the spectators on the edge of their seats but finally came up just short at the 2009 Happy Suwon Badminton Asia Championships.  Ko Sung Hyun and […]

Korea’s doubles pairs kept the spectators on the edge of their seats but finally came up just short at the 2009 Happy Suwon .  Ko Sung Hyun and Yoo Yeon Seong were the closest to glory, erasing nine match points, including six in a row before letting Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan (pictured) add a second Asian title to their extensive collection.  Earlier, Ma Jin and Wang Xiaoli took their second straight title leaving Lee/Lee with the silver medal at home for the second time this year.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Suwon.  Photos: Badmintonphoto.com (live)

The hard work appeared to be finished for Lee Kyung Won and Lee Hyo Jung yesterday when they emerged victorious over the pair that had beaten them both in last year’s BAC semi-finals and at their last home final, in Seoul.  But Ma Jin and Wang Xiaoli (pictured below) had other plans.  They beat a Korean pair in the final their last time in Korea, as juniors in 2006, and with their win in India two weeks ago, they seemed to approach the match like favourites rather than as unseeded underdogs.

The 11-point intervals came on shots that appeared, at first, to tell the tale of each game.  In the first, both Lees watched motionless as a smash whizzed right down the centre line.  The Chinese kept the momentum and finished the game 21-11.  The second game started with an onslaught from the Koreans as they nabbed the first two points with a powerful net kill from Hyo Jung followed by a smash return winner from Kyung Won.  The interval came at 11-3 when Hyo Jung killed the shuttle into Ma Jin’s body.

Throughout the match, Lee Kyung Won adopted the tactic of holding her serving pose then flicking over Ma Jin the moment she lowered her hand from the “not ready” signal position.  This seemed to work to a point but neither this, nor the Koreans’ impressive start could stop the Chinese from taking back the momentum and they finally caught the Olympic silver medalists at 17-all and took advantage of a string of errors, many of which they themselves created with their consistent, attacking play.  The match ended as Lee Hyo Jung pushed another shuttle into the net and the Chinese took their second Grand Prix Gold title in three weeks.

We are new to the international tour so every new matchup is unfamiliar,” said Ma Jin after the match, “but I think we were more prepared to play against them today than they were to play us.

Lee Kyung Won was trying some different tactics against us but we did well at anticipating their movements so that is why we won.

Korea’s next chance at a title seemed much slimmer as new pair Ko Sung Hyun and Yoo Yeon Seong (pictured below) had the unenviable task of taking on Olympic champions in the men’s doubles final.  Each of these Korean players came into this tournament having won no bigger international title than the Vietnam Open but their lack of experience was belied by their stellar performance.

In the first game, the lead continually traded hands until the Indonesians pulled ahead at 16-12. The Koreans evened it up at 18-all but Kido and Setiawan kept their composure and finished it 21-18.  Yoo/Ko gained an edge at the interval in the second game but Kido/Setiawan went on a rampage until they earned themselves six match points.

The Koreans then exhibited all the poise they needed under pressure and slowly clawed their way back.  Two dubious line calls helped and Setiawan’s appeals to the service judge and chair umpire were to no avail.  When Ko Sung Hyun made a spectacular, diving return and Hendra smashed the golden, short lift into the net, the crowd erupted in jubilation.

The Koreans saved another three match points and missed a game point of their own before the Ko mishit an interception to deliver Kido/Setiawan their second Asian title.

After the match, Setiawan maintained that he continued to believe they would win, even in the crucial final points, even though he felt he lacked power due to an inability to sleep the night before the final.

They played much as we expected: very powerful and speedy,” said Setiawan.  “We tried to keep attacking at the end.  We thought that was the best way, and with Markis at the back because he has a better smash.

This win is very important for us because it is our first title this year,” he said, adding that this milestone was more important than taking their first Asian title since 2005.  “Now we will celebrate by sleeping and resting for one or two days, then it’s back to training because the Sudirman starts in three weeks.  I feel good now and we have confidence now that we can win some Super Series events but it has been boring here without the rest of the Indonesian team.  It’s just been me and Markis and our coach.

We are very disappointed that we didn’t take the title,” Yoo Yeon Seong said.  “We dared to dream of taking the spotlight at home today but at the end it was obvious that the skill difference was just too great and we realize that but I think if we get back and train hard we can beat them the next time.

In the last points, it was obvious that with all their experience in big finals, they were able to control their excitement and remain calm and that was what made the difference.

With that final ended the international challenge on finals day but the crowd remained keenly appreciative of the men’s singles final, the first of two all-China affairs, which delighted not only the sizeable Chinese cheering section but which also kept the Korean spectators entertained as they looked forward to the appearance of the nation’s top two mixed doubles pair.

Playing in his first ever international final at the senior level, 2007 World Junior Champion Chen Long (pictured) made a more than acceptable showing, taking the first game from Bao Chunlai before the veteran  buckled down and won the battle of the giants 16-21, 21-10, 21-16.

For complete results from the 2009 Happy Suwon Badminton Asia Championships, please CLICK HERE

Our Hotel Partner for the Badminton Asia Championships is the Dormy Inn:
“A fully serviced residence as a stylish home for long/short term business people”
“We create a home-like experience”

Click HERE to make a reservation at DORMY INN

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net