VIETNAM OPEN 2011 Finals – No place like home

On home soil last year, Vietnam’s biggest star, Nguyen Tien Minh was surprised by Chen Yuekun in the quarters. This year Nguyen stayed on course, winning all of his matches […]

On home soil last year, Vietnam’s biggest star, Nguyen Tien Minh was surprised by Chen Yuekun in the quarters. This year Nguyen stayed on course, winning all of his matches in straight games. This includes his highly anticipated final against Sho Sasaki.

By Elm Vandevorst, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

Seeking, and failing to win, his third victory in a row last year, Nguyen Tien Minh reinstated his supremacy on home soil on Sunday. However, his final match against second seeded Sho Sasaki didn’t promise to be a walk through the park. At the U.S. Open, it was the Japanese who overcame his rival in straight games. But the home advantage combined with Nguyen’s never ending determination, meant that in the end, he was the one celebrating his third title. Vietnam’s best shuttler let Sasaki no chance whatsoever, resulting in a dominant 21-13, 21-17 victory in 40 minutes, still his longest match of the tournament.

Japan did have another chance to head back home with a title, if Kaori Imabeppu could beat Singapore’s Fu Mingtian in the women’s singles. Neither of these unseeded women were expected in the final, which made it difficult to pick a favourite. Evenly matched in the first stages of the match, taking one game each, a third game had to reveal this year’s champion. It was Fu Mingtian who left no doubt she was the well-deserved victor in the end, winning 21-8 in the decider. “This is my best win ever. I am so happy that I won this tournament, now, I will fight even more for the next one I play in”  Fu told Badzine after she ended her four year old title drought.

The afternoon began, though, with Russian mixed doubles pairing Nina Vislova and Vitalij Durkin attempting to claim Europe’s one and only chance for a title.  In search of points for their Olympic dream, Vislova/Durkin continued their brilliant run to storm towards the victor. Their opponents, Koreans Chung Eui Seok / Yoo Hyun Young, who had managed to defeat three seeded rival duos so far, couldn’t cause another shocker.

The Russians had the clear edge in experience.  Chung was playing in his first final since winning the World Junior Championships way back in 2007 and he and Yoo hadn’t played together since high school either.  The Russians, who have been playing together consistently for over three years, were able to take a comfortable 21-16, 21-13 triumph after only 35 minutes.  With it, one of Russia’s most successful pairs could add another title to their record, though their first at the level since the 2009 Russian Open.

With three trophies already handed out, the big question remaining unanswered was whether the Indonesian delegation would be capable of seizing both opportunities they had in the men’s and women’s doubles or whether Singapore would go home as the big winner on the day as it was two Indonesian/Singaporean clashes that had to settle the men’s and women’s doubles.

The Vietnamese crowd got some good value for their money as the Indonesians seemed definitively the most stress-resilient on the day.  After an intense contest, Anneke Feinya Agustin and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari could start their celebrations.  Yao Lei and Shinta Mulia Sari hoped to seek revenge for their loss at this year’s Malaysian Open, but were sent home empty-handed after the Indonesians won the thriller 23-21, 26-24.

In the men’s doubles, Indonesians Angga Pramata and Ryan Agung Saputra had to rally back after losing the second game to snatch it away from Danny Bawa Chrisnanta / Chayut Triyachart with 21-12, 16-21, 21-19.

Final results
XD: Vitalij Durkin / Nina Vislova (RUS) bt Chung Eui Seok / Yoo Hyun Young (KOR) 21-16, 21-13
WS: Fu Mingtian (SIN) bt Kaori Imabeppu (JPN) 21-18, 16-21, 21-8
MS: Nguyen Tien Minh (VIE)[1] bt Sho Sasaki (JPN) [2] 21-13, 21-17
WD: Anneke Feinya Agustin / Nitya Krishinda Maheswari (INA) [5] bt Shinta Mulia Sari / Yao Lei (SIN) [2] 23-21, 26-24
MD: Angga Pratama / Ryan Agung Saputra (INA) [5] bt Danny Bawa Chrisnanta / Chayut Triyachart (SIN) 21-12, 16-21, 21-19

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