FRENCH OPEN 2009 Finals – Super Dan is back!

The Yonex French Open ended on a slightly anticlimactic tone with many of the finals being one-sided.  Super Dan claimed his first title in Paris, in a display of pure […]


The Yonex ended on a slightly anticlimactic tone with many of the finals being one-sided.  Super Dan claimed his first title in Paris, in a display of pure dominance which is sure to resonate around the world to the rest of his closest adversaries.

By Tarek Hafi.  Photos: (Live In Paris)

Majestic Lin Dan reminded us why people from around the world nicknamed him “Super Dan”.  Even though the score line shows a very one-sided match for this level.  It is, however, a graphic illustration of how Lin Dan (pictured below posing in front of the Eiffel Tower after the finals) was throughout the match and the tournament overall.  Since his third straight World Championship success, the Chinese number one player has preferred to stay at home and train for his first target, his own country’s National Games, where he emerged an easy winner.  Taufik played his best, as well, with fantastic backhand smashes superb and net play, but still it was not enough to overcome the Olympic champion.

I played very well today and I’m very happy with my performance,” commented Lin Dan after his first win at the French Open.  “I expected more from Taufik but he looked a little off the pace, which may have been a result of his tough match against Peter Gade yesterday.  Now I will continue to train hard and be ready for the Worlds here in this stadium next year.

fofinals-LindanThe new China Games champion Wang Lin was absolutely no competition for Wang Yihan, the tall Chinese player who raised her game for this final match.  After a disastrous first game, won 21-9 by Wang Yihan, Wang Lin improved in the second game, but an injury to Wang Yihan after she went over on her ankle stopped the resurgence of the younger Wang.  After a break of a few minutes for some medical attention the matched resumed with Wang Yihan dominant.

Wang Yihan (pictured top with Wang Lin) continued to dominate with her offensive game and made it impossible for Wang Lin to compete.  Wang Yihan won every long rally, her confidence building step by step, in the second game.  Even though she had a better start in the second game, Wang Lin, couldn’t do anything against her compatriot’s speed and offensive play.  Thus, Lin could not retain her title in Paris, leaving it to the better of the two in today’s final, Wang Yihan, 21-9, 21-12, who seemed to have learn from her defeat in last week’s Denmark Open.

I really expected a harder match and as I am currently injured, I tried to finish the points earlier, attacking all the time, but for me it was really hard to play now even if it looked easy,” said Yihan of her victory.

Youngsters Wang Xiaoli and Ma Jin, appear to be following in the steps of their famous elders Gao Ling and Huang Sui.  They rose to the top as juniors in 2006, the same year as Wang Yihan, and although, unlike Wang, they spent the next two years in near obscurity, they have really come into their own in 2009 with three Grand Prix Gold titles and now two Super Series victories in a row.  The two young players outplayed their compatriots Cheng Shu and Zhao Yunlei, the pair that ousted them from the semi-finals of their first ever World Championships and finished runners-up.

They are our training partners so we know their game very well,” said Wang Xiaoli after the match.

Even though they’d benefited from a walkover from Du Jing/Yu Yang, the world number two pair couldn’t settle as they were being constantly pressured by impressive attacks from Wang Xiaoli, the girl who was first noticed in 2006, when she gave a good laugh to the Chinese nation when she performed in the Chinese New Year show dressed entirely as a man, already showing the lighter side of her personality.  After their first French Open appearance, the young Chinese pair will return to China as champions.

fofinals-kidoThe Olympic silver medallists Lilyana Natsir and Nova Widianto finally brought a title home after a ten-month famine.  They simply outplayed their compatriots and now independent Vita Marissa and Hendra Aprida Gunawan, who seemed completely lost, making mistake after mistake, giving their opponents ample opportunities to finish off the rallies.  This will prove to be the easiest Super Series title for Widianto and Natsir as they spent just 20 minutes on court.

Former world and current Olympic champions Hendra Setiawan and Markis Kido (pictured) retained their title in Paris.  The Indonesian pair had suffered a loss of form recently with Kido’s knee injury, but they bounced back in Paris in a match that saved finals day.  In the only really competitive game of the day, Kido and Setiawan beat Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong in a three-game battle.  Even if the Malaysian pairs showed some spectacular flashes of greatness – with Koo Kien Keat sitting on the floor at one point, sending back two smashes then winning the rally – it was never enough to claim a second consecutive Super Series title and it was Kido and Setiawan who stepped onto the top of the podium.

Even though the finals of this year’s French Open were slightly disappointing, the week’s badminton in general made up for that disappointment.  Some great matches were seen in all disciplines and the interaction of the French public makes the French Open in the Stade de Coubertin a must for any badminton fan.  Next year not only will the French Open be in town but there is a double treat as the Worlds land at the same venue in August.  Get your tickets now!!

For complete results from the 2009 Yonex French Open Super Series, CLICK HERE

About Tarek Hafi