BAC Finals – Superdan flies away with title, Malaysia shines

China return with three gold while Malaysia capture historic gold in mixed doubles. By Dev S Sukumar, Live from New Delhi. Photos: (archives) Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu […]

China return with three gold while Malaysia capture historic gold in mixed doubles.

By Dev S Sukumar, Live from New Delhi. Photos: (archives)

Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying (pictured left) gave the final day of the 2010 Badminton Asian Championships a surprising start. The young Malaysian duo gave Malaysia her maiden mixed doubles title with a 21-17, 20-22, 21-19 win over Korea’s Yoo Yeon Seong / Kim Min Jung, who were thus forced to settle for silver for the second consecutive year.

Malaysia was, however, hit with mixed fortune when their heroic women’s doubles pair of Woon Khe Wei / Vivian Hoo was tamed 21-10 21-6 by China’s Pan Pan / Tian Qing.

While for the singles events, which were both all-Chinese, leading to initial doubts on how competitive they would be but the first singles final between Li Xuerui (pictured below) and Liu Xin quickly quelled those doubts. Despite the all-Chinese status, the women’s singles finals was a tense, tight match, which eventually went to Xuerui, the 2008 Asian Junior champion.

The match was a contrast in styles. Xuerui displays a wicked smash and express pace, which she used to decimate Liu in the first game, but once Liu got her length, it turned out into a fascinating contest.

Liu might lack her opponent’s heavy smash, but she has fine courtcraft and variety, and dragged her compatriot across the court to level and then go ahead in the third game. When it seemed the craftier girl had done enough to win came some errors of length and judgement. Liu saved four match points but not the fifth. More however will be heard of her.

But surely of the two all-Chinese singles finals, the spectators were clearly more eager to see Lin Dan bag the one major title that is missing from his collection of elusive titles in this sport.

Lin Dan is back

It took 39 minutes on Sunday for the world’s greatest badminton player to reverse a brief career slump. Coming in to the , Lin Dan (pictured below) had been without a major title since winning the China Superseries in late November. He complained of participating in his domestic league; lost to a rookie Korean at the East Asian Games, and looked rusty in his quarter-final losses at the All England and Swiss Open.

He really wanted this one. One could sense it in his eyes, in the way he refused to speak to the media; in the way he pumped his fists after the big points. When he finally won that last point, there was no celebration, just relief, then a wave to the audience.

His opponent did no wrong. Wang Zhengming will be a name to reckon with in future, but the present belongs to Lin. Wang briefly stood toe-to-toe with his idol, using his whippy smashes, superb footwork, and fine touch at the net to share some of the limelight. Against a lesser opponent the bullets he shot or the net-kissing dribbles would have seen no return.

Lin played within his comfort zone, avoiding his famous jump smashes even when he had the opportunity. Instead, he played soft, flicked and drove, jabbed and thrust, like an expert fencer probing his opponent before delivering one fatal cut after another.

In the second game he indulged in a bit of showmanship; he allowed Wang to crack his blistering smashes, inviting the youngster to show the best he had, so he could outdo him. At 17-13 came a glimpse of the man they now call ‘Superdan’ — rearing up, hammering a winner, leaving his young compatriot a spectator to the missile.

“I like playing in India,” said Lin. “I have won the World Championships and the Asian title here, and the support for me has been good. I want to keep winning; I want to satisfy my fans. The last two tournaments I didn’t do well, so I wanted to win this one.”

Like Malaysia, Korea also had a day of mixed moments. After losing the mixed doubles title, Yoo Yeon Seong then teamed up with Cho Gun Woo to regain for Korea the men’s doubles crown that Yoo was unable to keep from Indonesia’s Olympic champions Hendra Setiawan / Markis Kido in 2009 when the Asian Championships were held in Korea.

This year, Cho/Yoo (pictured right) stepped up in the absence of their famous compatriots Lee Yong Dae / Jung Jae Sung to nail down the top seeded pair of Chen Hung Ling / Lin Yu Lang from Chinese Taipei in scores of 21-17, 20-22, 21-19.

Results (all finals)

MS: 2-Lin Dan (Chn) bt Wang Zhengming (Chn) 21-17, 21-15
WS: Q-Li Xuerui (Chn) bt Q-Liu Xin 21-13, 18-21, 21-19
MD: 5-Cho Gun Woo / Yoo Yeon Seong (Kor) bt 1-Chen Hung Ling / Lin Yu Lang (Tpe) 21-19, 12-21, 21-17
WD: Pan Pan / Qing Tian (Chn) bt Vivian Hoo / Woon Khe Wei (Mas) 21-10, 21-6
XD: Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying (Mas) bt Yoo Yeong Soo / Kim Min Jung 21-17, 20-22, 21-19

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