FRENCH OPEN 2011 Finals – Denmark re-visited?

The doubles winners at the 2011 Yonex French Open Super Series remained the same as at last week’s finals in Denmark, as the same finalists created a gap with the […]

The doubles winners at the 2011 Yonex Super Series remained the same as at last week’s finals in Denmark, as the same finalists created a gap with the rest of the world as they all dominated from their first matches in Odense until the finale in Paris.

By Tarek Hafi, live in Paris.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

It is a second title in a row for Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen, looking completely out of this world, playing their best badminton ever. Despite the straight-game win, both pairs were obviously suffering and had difficulties settling their games, in what quickly became a mental battle.

As the match went on, both pairs looked completely worn out by their second finals in a row.

Xu Chen, frustrated with Ma Jin committing more and more mistakes tried long line smashes to cover the gap, but these were dug out of the mat by the Danes, who remained steadier than their opponents.

Christina Pedersen, shining on court, sent Xu Chen in the wrong way on a couple of service returns while once again the crowd was owned by the Danish partners. The Chinese combination simply couldn’t do anything more than undergo the Danes’ game, having no tactical solution to answer and the Denmark Open champions took it 21-17, 21-14.

Ma Jin did not even want to shake hands with her opponents, so obviously disappointed was she with her poor performance of the day, playing her tenth match in two weeks in Europe.

I can’t use fatigue as an excuse.  We both played the final last week but they were simply stronger than us, mentally and physically,” admitted Ma Jin.

Nor did Joachim and Christinna have the strength left for an exuberant celebration, as they usually do.  Instead, they shared their happiness with crowd, sincerely thanking them for their support.

“We wanted to show from the beginning that we were strong.  We had to see how much energy we had left, so we needed to finish points very quickly,” concluded the tired Joachim Fischer Nielsen in disbelief over his win today.

“We expected a tough match, both Chinese pairs are really strong and we are really happy to have beaten them two weeks in a row.  Now we only wish to rest, before the Asian tour and – why not – get one or two beer back at home.”

The most awaited match of the day, as expected, delivered a real show to the crowd, bringing delightful action from the top two pairs at the moment, in the world.

The Chinese admitted yesterday they have been elaborating a new tactic to beat their Korean opponent, after their straight-game defeat last week in Denmark. A brand new tactic, which seemed efficient only in the first game, having also Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae (pictured above) helping the Chinese with easy mistakes, as the Koreans looked a bit tense in their first ever French Open Super Series final.

Coach Kang Kyung Jin was then able to properly advise his charges, whereupon they switched to their recent majestic form, as the best pair in the world. There were simply no aspects of the game where we could point out flaws as they played their best match of the week.

Jung Jae Sung’s lethal attacks seemed to be the key, in front of an overworked Fu Haifeng, who was left on defending most of the time. After the second game loss, the Chinese – who seem unable to counter-attack any shots from the Koreans – turned white and let the gap separating them even further from their opponents.  They watched Lee Yong Dae and Jung Jae Sung now clearly lead the way in their head-to-head record.

“They started to be so fast in the first game, we weren’t really able to cope with that. But after we changed our tactics, we gained more confidence point after point.  Now we have been playing a lot, so we are going to rest a bit after this tournament,” commented Lee Yong Dae.

Indeed, the Korean pair were playing in their third consecutive tournament, after they began October with Korea’s National Sports Festival.

Yes it has been a lot of tournaments, this month but we’re happy to have won two tournaments and we will continue to work hard,” added Jung Jae Sung after the podium ceremony.

As expected, the powerful women’s doubles pairing of Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang (photo) once again took the title, leaving all the pieces to Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing. The Chinese friends, despite their incredible amount of matches played all-out in this one and still look as fit as ever. Two games were needed to determine the winner, and Wang and Yu are becoming more and more the runaway favourites for the gold medal in London.

All results HERE

Photos of the Day HERE
(copyright Badmintonphoto)

About Tarek Hafi