CANADA OPEN 2010 Finals – Singles to World Champs but Taiwan Triple!

Finals day at the 2010 Yonex Canada Open Grand Prix was a coronation for former World Champions Taufik Hidayat and Zhu Lin. Taiwan badminton fans will be hoping that pattern […]

Finals day at the 2010 Yonex was a coronation for former World Champions Taufik Hidayat and Zhu Lin. Taiwan badminton fans will be hoping that pattern is a portent of glory for Chinese Taipei as their shuttlers grabbed the rest of the titles, mixed doubles partners Lee Sheng Mu and Chien Yu Chin accounting for two titles each.

Story and Photos: Yves Lacroix, live in Richmond for Badzine and BadmintonPhoto

The early birds attending finals day of the Canada Open made a wise choice: stands were already filling in as early as 10:30 AM – 90 minutes before the start of play. As the queue at the ticket counter began to lengthen, so did the expectations awaiting the finals line-up. Indeed, the knowledgeable Richmond crowd knew they had a star-quality line-up in store for them with former World Champions Taufik Hidayat and Zhu Lin as well as the hottest men’s doubles pair of the hour, namely Fang Chieh Min and Lee Sheng Mu of Chinese Taipei.

Hands down the main attraction, Taufik Hidayat (pictured) did not disappoint, displaying plenty of net-tape artistry en route to a straight-game dismissal of Brice Leverdez. Brice has had a very eventful month, having run up against Olympic medallists in the first round of both Super Series tournaments in June but he finally got his chance to mount a Grand Prix podium for the first time this year. Taufik, meanwhile stole the show and again his popularity with the fans was an impediment to his making it to the locker room.

“I hope my win will help promote badminton in Canada and in the USA,” said the soft-spoken Indonesian after his final. “I really don’t mind if the organizers use my image and popularity to promote the sport as I really want badminton to become a huge sport in the Americas. I know badminton will never be able to reach the status of tennis but if my presence and participation can help getting closer to the goal, I’m more than happy to do so.

“Even though the light can be a problem here, I knew how to cope with the conditions of the stadium because this is not the first time I’ve played here,” said Hidayat. “I think today’s match was easier for me than for my opponent because I have a lot more experience than him. It’s true I almost lost my round-of-16 match to Lo Ying Ping – a left-hander who at many times surprised me with good shots – but I have to say I was feeling jetlag as I had only slept for two hours the night before. However, Mathieu did surprise me and, he being a left-hander, I had problems with his play. Since then, I was able to get decent sleep which showed in the results of the following matches.”

Frenchman Brice Leverdez was radiant despite his 15-21,11-21 loss: “Playing Taufik was my dream and I finally did it. Plus, I had the chance to do so in front of a good crowd, which made the occasion even more special. Taufik was gracious and displayed a lot of fair play today which was the perfect end for the best week of my career. In just one month, I got to play top players such as Lee Chong Wei, Kuncoro and now Taufik. This is the ideal preparation for the upcoming world championships in my country as I can now better gauge my level of play, which I now know is not so far from theirs.”

Women’s doubles (podium photo) went according to seed but not before Sandra Marinello / Birgit Overzier had had their say on court. The German ladies picked up the second game and kept things very close in the decider before a serve into the net ceded the title to top-seeded Cheng Wen Hsing / Chien Yu Chin of Chinese Taipei. For the Indonesia Open runners-up, it was their first actual title since the Korea Open last year.

Cheng and Chien seemed to be much more comfortable playing together than apart as they had gone head-to-head in the first match of the day, the mixed doubles final, where Chien and Lee Sheng Mu (pictured below) – who had entered the tournament as top seeds and done the heavy lifting in the semis by beating Swiss Open runners-up Shin/Yoo – came out on top of the 21-16, 11-21, 21-15 contest.

In fact, despite their lofty seeding, it was Lee/Chien’s first ever title in their year-old partnership and, in fact only Chien had ever won a mixed title before, at last year’s Osaka International.

The longest match of the day was Zhu Lin’s 72-minute marathon win over Germany’s Juliane Schenk, who became the first player on the week to take a game from the 2007 World Champion. For Zhu Lin (pictured below), it was a welcome return from her international hiatus as she took her first title since her Asian Championship last spring in Korea. Nor was a Grand Prix title in an out-of-the-way place like Canada in any way easy pickings for the Chinese veteran as she still had to elbow her way past two top-ten players and the world’s #20 player to make it to the top in Richmond.

Things won’t get any easier for Zhu either as her next campaign, to win the U.S. Open Grand Prix Gold title, begins with a string of three qualifying matches the morning after her gold medal campaign ended to the north and winning the title in California may well end in a showdown with two-time All England winner Tine Rasmussen of Denmark.

Men’s doubles unfolded exactly as predicted, as Fang Chieh Min and Lee Sheng Mu again handled all challengers to take their third straight title. Opponents Hendri Kurniawan Saputra / Chayut Triyachart of Singapore had their chance to thrill the crowd a day earlier when they beat the top seeds in the semi-finals but on Sunday, they managed just under half an hour on court before bowing to Fang/Lee in two.

“It’s true we’ve won three tournaments in a row but there was a bit of luck involved,” said a modest Fang Chieh Min. “The Canada Open is not a Super Series but this tournament is just like any other for us as we really want to give our best every time we get on court. However, men’s doubles is our main event and mixed is just a bonus. Despite our success for the past month with three consecutive titles, we fear any top 10 pair as many of our wins were close calls.”

The successful Taiwan contingent have an even more perilous schedule mapped out for them into next month than Zhu Lin’s even. They are among the select few who plan to play the U.S. Open before immediately crossing the Pacific to battle jetlag as well as a top notch field at the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold before heading home to hold court at the Chinese Taipei Open.

For complete results, CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to see our live photo gallery from the 2010 Yonex Canada Open Grand Prix

Yves Lacroix

About Yves Lacroix

Based in Montréal, Yves has been an archivist for most of his career and started badminton photography early in the millennium. He has been part of the team since its infancy and his work both behind the camera and behind the photo website is key to the success of Badzine.