AUSTRALIA OPEN 2010 Finals – 3 out of 4 ain’t bad

The Yonex Australia Open Grand Prix finished up this afternoon in Melbourne. The highlight of the day was the men’s singles final, where the only two remaining seeded players did […]

The Yonex Australia Open finished up this afternoon in Melbourne. The highlight of the day was the men’s singles final, where the only two remaining seeded players did battle, victory going to world #6 Nguyen Tien Minh (pictured) of Vietnam in his first tournament win of the year. Korea, meanwhile, had a red-letter day, taking two of their three finals against Japanese opponents.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: BadmintonPhoto and Don Hearn (archives)

Nguyen Tien Minh won four international tournaments last year but despite some top-notch performances in 2010, he had to wait until today to bag his first title of the year. But that he did, and he will head back north from Australia the proud owner of yet another Grand Prix title after his straight-game win over Malaysia’s Yogendran Krishnan, over whom the Vietnamese ace was just as dominant as he had been a day earlier over India Open champion Alamsyah Yunus of Indonesia.

Four down up north, but 3 up down south

Just minutes after the last Korean had left the semi-finals at the concurrent Grand Prix event up in Canada, Korea embarked on a golden afternoon south of the Equator. First up was Seo Yoon Hee (pictured). Seo came to Australia not having played internationally since the summer of 2007 but she has been busy at home, having taken the summer championship title last month and chalking up her fourth national championship runner-up finish last December. Today, there was no doubting the quality of her training at Samsung with teammates like Kang Hae Won and Hwang Hye Youn and coaches like former Olympic heroes Park Tae Sang, Ha Tae Kwon, and Gil Young Ah. After dispatching 2006 champion and home favourite Huang Chia Chi in the semi-finals, Seo had to fight hard to see off the threat of this week’s real surprise of the week, 18-year-old Minatsu Mitani of Japan. After nearly an hour, Seo emerged the 22-20, 14-21, 21-19 victor, thus taking her first international title since the Dutch , just over 10 years ago!

Kim Min Seo came out on top in two finals in Melbourne. The tall shuttler – who changed her name this year from Kim Mi Young – was paired with the reigning Asian men’s doubles champion Cho Gun Woo in mixed and with Olympic silver medallist Lee Kyung Won in women’s doubles and with them she managed to take the first and second international titles of her career.

Korea also had two pairings of singles specialists in Sunday’s finals in Australia. Seo Yoon Hee, playing with Kang Hae Won, had to cede the honour of a second gold to Kim Min Seo (pictured) and partner Lee Kyung Won but immediately before, Park Tae Sang and Kang Woo Kyum had been similarly outclassed by Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hayakawa, who had a day earlier upset the men’s doubles top seeds Gan/Tan in two close games. Endo and Hayakawa thus earned Japan its only title on the day.

Most of the players in Australia will be taking next week off but many will be back in action the following week as the tour moves back to Asia for the Grand Prix Gold tournaments in Macau and Taipei.

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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