SWISS OPEN 2012 Finals – Chen Jin “right on time”

Chen Jin and Saina Nehwal were crowned winners of the Yonex Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold on Sunday in Basel. If it doesn’t change much for the Indian, who had […]

Chen Jin and Saina Nehwal were crowned winners of the Yonex Gold on Sunday in Basel. If it doesn’t change much for the Indian, who had won here last year, it will bring Chen Jin back into the top 4 in the Olympic qualification race, which means a good chance that China will have three again in London.

By Michaela Bencova, live from Basel. Photos: Sven Heise. (live)

Switzerland is well known for its precision and its mastering of time. This Sunday, Chen Jin (photo) came to shine right on time in the capital of clock-making. So it was the third match of the day which was to be the cherry on the the cake as it was drawing all the attention – the men’s singles between Chen Jin and Lee Hyun Il. And it was to be the most important one in terms of consequences for the upcoming Olympics as a close battle between Chen Jin and Peter Gade for the fourth spot was at stake on Sunday. And during this final, spectators saw quite a few unbelievable shots where the Chinese had his ups and downs, but he managed to finish on top, knowing that this could be his best chance to qualify for the Olympics as he had missed out last week in Birmingham when he was beaten by Taufik.

This time, after his revenge over the Indonesian in the semi-final, he made sure he would get the maximum of points and beat Lee Hyun Il 14-21, 21-9, 21-17 after a thrilling final. This means the Chinese will get enough points to pass Gade and take the 4th spot, not quite yet in the current world ranking, but in the tally of Olympic qualification points (see here).  Should he stay there, he would then get another shot at a gold medal in London, 4 years after scooping bronze in Beijing.

A lot of action had taken place before that great match, however. The finals had kicked off at 12:00 with women’s doubles. Suprisingly there were already a lot of people in the hall even if it was an all-China affair. Both pairs Xia Huan / Tang Jinhua and Bao Yixin / Zhong Qianxin were about the same strength – 20th and 21st respectively in the world ranking. In the corner of the hall, Chinese spectators with illuminated placards were supporting all Chinese teams to go through. In this first match, they enjoyed long rallies, even some discussions, a little bit of delaying mental play on both sides. Xia/Tang finally beat Bao/Zhong 21-17, 21-10.

The second match was men’s doubles.  It was not, however,  the one-sided affair that the scoreline might suggest it was.  The Japanese pair Naoki Kawamae and Shoji Sato (pictured above) had more power and they were a little bit more organized on court. But the Malaysia Open champions Fang Chieh Min / Lee Sheng Mu were able to keep the shuttle in play for a very long time. One rally was so long that spectators started to laugh and it looked that players would have to take a long break afterwards, but the Japanese stayed focus and succeeded in winning their second Grand Prix Gold title 21-13, 21-14.

Saina keeps her title

The women’s singles final was very much anticpated by a big group of Indian supporters. Saina Nehwal (world ranking 5, pictured left) was even with Wang Shixian (world ranking 3) with a 1:1 head-to-head statistics entering the match, at least since their first meeting in their junior days.  The young Indian star was loudly supported by the crowd and this likely helped push her through the match. Last year’s success was probably another good memory and a boost, which led her to have the match under control all the time. She finally made her fans very happy after her 21-19, 21-16 victory.

The last match of the day – mixed doubles – had another group of loud supporters from Indonesia. Unfortunately, this match was influenced by the fact that the Thai pair had to catch the flight at 18 o’clock while the tv wanted to have that match as a the last one. The match started at about 16-15 and didn’t last long. Even when Indonesians didn’t have it too easy, it looked like the Thais were just hoping to finish the match as soon as possible.  Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir beat Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungthongkam (photo) 21-16, 21-14 in only 23 minutes.

Full results HERE

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