KOREA OPEN 2012 Finals – An epic start to an epic year?

China would have planted their flag firmly on Korean soil if not for the efforts of a lone Malaysian who fought to stop the China dragons’  “redwash”.  The grand battles […]

China would have planted their flag firmly on Korean soil if not for the efforts of a lone Malaysian who fought to stop the China dragons’  “redwash”.  The grand battles that played out today in the first Open of the year could harbour signs of even greater matches to come later on in this Olympic year.

By Kira Rin, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Men’s Doubles – A late New Year’s reunion 1

The New Year mood seems to be hanging around as it brought around reunions of old rivals, starting off with the match of Lee Yong Dae and Jung Jae Sung facing Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng.

Even early on in the first game, both sides were going full power, with high paced exchanges of attack and defense, often pulling off near impossible returns.  Fu was perhaps overeager in the match as he broke not one but three racquet strings in just the first game, with the last one broken from hitting his partner’s knee by accident. The Koreans were at least able to keep a cool head to quickly grab the opening game.

The Chinese then stepped up their attack, being even more daring and desperate in their shots, with Fu even changing his racquet in the middle of a rally. The Koreans responded in kind, stepping up to par in the speedy madness of doubles. Desperation could be seen written on the faces of all the players as they fought and dove for every shot. In the end, the risky gamble paid off as Fu and Cai were able to stagger away with the match.

Women’s Doubles – An inspired pair

Zhao/Tian were definitely impressed by compatriots Fu/Cai’s epic victory and this clearly showed in their impressive complementary teamwork. The Korean pair of Ha Jung Eun and Kim Min Jung could not find any answers to the shots played and they tasted the bitter cup of defeat in two games.

Men’s Singles – A late New Year’s reunion 2

Old friends off court and old enemies on court, there could have never been a better time for a reunion a week after New Year on yet the same court as last year. Lee Chong Wei rose up to challenge defender Lin Dan for the right to take the crown, and with it, prevent the redwashing of the titles.

Unlike other matches, both players started off slow with many clears being played. Gradually, both players felt each other out and upped the pace. Past interval, both players finally brought out their big attacks, but Lin Dan was just a single step ahead in most rallies and – with Lee Chong Wei’s racquet not responding to his calls – managed to seal the first game in his favour.

Lee certainly had trouble taming his racquet as it would hit many a good shot out. However, the wild beast was tamed and Lee was finally able to turn the tide with power at his hands.  With the intimate knowledge of Lin’s style garnered from countless matches, Lee was able to grasp the shuttle paths and attacked every opportunity he could get to turn the rally into his favour.

Much to the delight of the Malaysian crowd, and quite possible Korean crowd at large, Lee was able to smash his way to victory in the 2 remaining games, ending yet another epic battle.

Women’s Singles – A long overdue conclusion?

If one were to look back last year at the China Masters women’s singles finals, one would see a match that was never finished.  Thankfully, the New Year gave both players a chance to clean up old matters and start afresh.

Wang Shixian and Jiang Yanjiao did precisely just that. Without regrets, both players went at each other and Shixian eventually emerged the victor, having outfoxed Yanjiao with her tricky play.

Mixed Doubles – a second chance to shine?

In light of their defeats earlier in the afternoon, Lee Yong Dae and Ha Jung Eun jumped at a chance to redeem themselves in the mixed doubles department.

Even early on, the match showed signs of being a great battle as both sides kept the shuttle going on strong.  The ever-acrobatic Xu Chen leapt for every smash, relying on experienced partner Ma Jin to help cover his tracks.  Such thunderous power could be heard so clearly, signs that Xu could be the Fu Haifeng of mixed doubles.

Having tasted bitter defeat in their respective doubles matches and being on the very edge, Lee Yong Dae brought forth his reserve power as he literally tore up the court with his quick coverage to take at least a game off the Chinese pair, leaving the poor referees to patch up the mess.

Feeling threatened by Yong Dae’s active court coverage and the facing the real possibility of losing, Xu brought out even more smashing power, going all out against the Korean pair and with the help of Ma Jin quickly grabbed the last remaining game of the day.

Final results
MD: Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng bt Jung Jae Sung / Lee Yong Dae 18-21, 21-17, 21-19
WD: Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei bt Ha Jung Eun / Kim Min Jung 21-18, 21-13
MS: Lee Chong Wei bt Lin Dan 12-21, 21-18, 21-14
WS: Wang Shixian bt Jiang Yanjiao 21-12, 21-17
XD: Xu Chen / Ma Jin bt Lee Yong Dae / Ha Jung Eun 21-12, 19-21, 21-10

For complete results, click here

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About Kira Rin