WORLDS Finals – Lin Creates History but Cai & Fu Provide the Thrills

It was a record three straight for Lin Dan, then finals day at the 2009 Yonex Sunrise BWF World Championships continued by serving up three straight first-time winners.  But it […]

It was a record three straight for Lin Dan, then finals day at the 2009 Yonex Sunrise BWF continued by serving up three straight first-time winners.  But it was the three games of cliff-hanging men’s doubles that gave the spectators what they’d all been waiting for.

By Gaurav Gupta, Badzine Correspondent live in Hyderabad.  Photos: BadmintonPhoto (live)

Historic Third for Lin Dan

He may not be the #1 player according to the rankings but there is absolutely no spec of doubt that he is the best player dominating the sport of badminton currently and Lin Dan showed off his pedigree as the best in the world with his third consecutive World Championship title.

The desire to rewrite the history books and enhance his already established domination in the men’s game was evident from the dominating fashion in which the defending champion started his match against compatriot and 2nd seed of the tournament Chen Jin (pictured with Lin).

Lin never needed to hit top gear as his younger team-mate was unable to create any atmosphere of pressure on the Chinese supreme.  Too many unforced errors at crucial junctures cost Chen Jin the first game 18-21 as Dan was in no mood to create a recurrence of the 2008 All England finals which he lost to Chen.

There was a hint of a comeback when Chen raced to an early lead in the second, going ahead 8-5 but the masterful Lin Dan (pictured) was in a zone of his own.  Super Dan allowed Chen Jin only 2 points after levelling at 14-14 and stamped his class and mastery winning the championship 21-16 in two straight games.

Maiden World Triumph for Lu Lan

Lu Lan had been left behind at the altar one too many times, taking the second prize in most major tournaments she has participated in in ‘08 & ‘09 with her most disappointing loss coming at the 2008 All England’s where she lost to Tine Rasmussen 20-22 in the rubber game.

But she announced her return to title-winning form in grand style, securing the gold medal at none other than the great stage of the World Championships.  Starting on a positive note at the start of the match, Lu built on a 4-1 early lead to build a six-point cushion at 13-7.  Xie Xingfang showed glimpses of the form that saw her demolish the challenge of the top seed Zhou Mi as she secured game point at 21-20.  It was Lu who had the measure of Xie today as she fought back to claim the next three points and take the game 23-21.

It was all downhill from this point on for Xie as she crumbled, losing 9 straight points from a 9-9 par score in the second as Lu Lan went on the secure her maiden World Championship title claiming the second game 21-12.

Zhang Yawen and Zhao Tingting take the WD Gold

Best doubles partnerships have duos who compliment each other with contrasting styles of play.  The strength of Zhao Tingting and the shrewd badminton brain of Zhang Yawen (pictured) was brought to fore as the pair was made to sweat it out in a hard-fought three-game thriller which the experienced 8th seeds won 17-21, 21-17, 21-16.  Horrendously long rallies lasting up to around 30+ shots resonated right throughout the match, which saw Cheng Shu & Zhao Yunlei resorting to their trademark delaying tactics to disrupt the momentum of the veteran pair.  The years of experience and the multitude of titles that both Yawen and Tingting have shared with various partners held them in good stead as they finally broke their World Championship duck.  The visibly delighted pair had to hold back tears of joy as they waved to the appreciative crowd from the winners’ podium.

Laybourn & Rytter Juhl Miles Ahead

After accounting for the Chinese pair of Zheng Bo & Ma Jin and defeating the Olympic gold winners from Korea, the Danes had no doubt in their mind that they were the superior pair in spite of facing off against the defending champions Lilyana Natsir & Nova Widianto.

The Danish duo, high on confidence, was clearly the stronger pair and established their dominance very early in the match, claiming the first 21-13 in quick time.

The second game was a foregone conclusion as the Indonesians’ late rally was never going to be enough to catch the miles ahead Danes.  Nullifying the net away from the defending champs and putting the weak Widianto serve under pressure was adequate for Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl (pictured) to take the second 21-17 as they secured their first ever World title.

Cai & Fu Plot a Fitting Finale

The ending of the 2009 World Championships could not have been scripted any better than the badminton spectacle that was the men’s doubles finals.  Intensely fast and aggressive style of play, amazing prowess and splendid rallies, service fault errors, pumped fists mixed with gut wrenching cheers and Li Yongbo himself on court side gave fans gathered at the Gachi Bowli stadium at Hyderabad a classic that will be often recalled as one of the best men’s doubles matches in the recent history of the sport.

Probably the greatest threat to complete Chinese domination for the gold on finals day was the explosive Korean pair of Lee Yong Dae & Jae Jung Sung, who gave many nervous and heart breaking moments to the Chinese fans watching all around the world.

Cai Yun & Fu Haifeng started the match by steaming ahead 11-6 at the interval and the five-point cushion proved sufficient enough against the slow starting Koreans.  Stringing together 3 points on the trot on the back of Lee Yong Dae’s springy retrieving, the Koreans closed the gap to 18-20 but playing catch-up was their undoing as the Chinese pair took the lead in the match claiming the first game 21-18.

The late charge in the first game was built upon the by Lee and Jung as they fought hard for their points against the determined Chinese who kept placing the shuttle back in play forcing winners from the Koreans’ racquets.  The two-time All England champs could not recover the 4 point deficit at the mid game break and went down 16-21 in the second as the match moved to level terms.

The first two games of the match were a prelude to the epic encounter that was played out between the two pairs in the rubber game as the “never give up” attitude of the both the pairs was brought to fray.  Exchanging leads with only a difference of a point, the pairs engrossed themselves in a pitched battled right throughout the game.  Both the pairs lost key points on service faults as the Chinese pair homed in on their first match point at 20-19.  The Koreans were in no mood to give up as the match reached its pinnacle with both pairs trading match & championship points.

It took the Chinese six match points before finally converting to close a marathon third game 28-26 and the delighted celebrations at the end of the match only indicated the pleasure of this hard fought win for Cai & Fu (pictured) who claimed their second World Championship crown after their win at Madrid in 2006.

For complete results from the 2009 Yonex Sunrise BWF World Championships, please CLICK HERE

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