RUSSIAN OPEN 2010 – 2×1 Japan; 3×2 for Russia

The 2010 Russia Open Grand Prix finished with all three doubles titles going to the home team, led by double-doubles-gold winner Valeria Sorokina (pictured here with Nina Vislova), while ‘visiting’ […]
The 2010 Russia Open finished with all three doubles titles going to the home team, led by double-doubles-gold winner Valeria Sorokina (pictured here with Nina Vislova), while ‘visiting’ Japan prevailed in both the singles finals.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

Russia sent all their best in an attempt to perpetrate a second consecutive title sweep at their home event.  However, in fact, with Vladivostok hosting again, it was in Russia’s Far East but Japan’s Near West.  Contrary to last year when it was concurrent with the Japan Open, this year Japan was ready and willing to have some of its best young players do the short hop across the sea to take their shot at Grand Prix glory.

20-year-old Ayane Kurihara (pictured) dealt the first blow to the Russian veterans, beating out defending champion Ella Diehl in two close games 21-19, 21-19.  While it was fully expected that this season’s string of 9 consecutive major tournaments, all with half-strength fields at best, would produce plenty of first-time Grand Prix winners, for the young Ayane, this was her first ever international title.

Nor would she be alone in grabbing her first piece of the limelight.  Compatriot Takuma Ueda beat defending champion Vladimir Malkov en route to his first ever international singles title and his first trip to the top of a Grand Prix podium.  Ueda had tasted international success once before as a doubles player but he showed his depth when he beat Stanislav Pukhov in the final 21-17, 21-17 after having lost out in the doubles quarter-finals to the eventual winners.

Doubles was all Russia, however.  The mixed doubles final was a repeat of last year’s, but this time, Alexandr Nikolaenko was spared the ignominy of losing two finals as he had last fall in Vladivostok.  Instead, he and Valeria Sorokina edged the defending champions – and their respective doubles partners – Vitaly Durkin and Nina Vislova by scores of 8-21,  21-14, 21-16.

Durkin was fated to play the role his partner had played last fall and the top seeds were again unable, in the second repeat final of the day, to get the better of defending champions Vladimir Ivanov / Ivan Sozonov.  This time, Durkin and Nikolaenko were on the losing end of a 17-21, 21-10, 18-21 battle.  Vladimir Ivanov (pictured), like Ueda, whom he had beaten in men’s doubles, made the quarter-finals in both singles and doubles but it was again the doubles where he and his partner were able to stake their claim to Grand Prix gold.

In the women’s doubles, Sorokina/Vislova were able to defend their title, beating Japan’s Yuriko Miki / Koharu Yonemoto in two straight games of 21-18.

All of Russia’s doubles finalists, minus Ivanov, will be making the long journey west to Gatchina for this week’s White Nights International Challenge.  Diehl and Pukhov will give that tournament a miss and the Japanese contingent will also be taking the week off before some of them go their separate ways to Australia and Canada for more Grand Prix action.

The world’s badminton action will stay centred on the Pacific Rim for some weeks to come as the Canada Grand Prix in Richmond, B.C. will be followed by the U.S. Open in Orange County California, after which everything returns to Asia for the Macau and Chinese Taipei Opens.

For complete results from the 2010 Russia Open Grand Prix, CLICK HERE

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 @