SINGAPORE OPEN 2012 Finals – First title for Juliane

Ranked world no. 6 and LiNing Singapore Open 2012 2nd seed, Juliane Schenk, in front of 7088 spectators, continued to display her strong fighting spirit to clear her final hurdle […]

Ranked world no. 6 and LiNing 2012 2nd seed, Juliane Schenk, in front of 7088 spectators, continued to display her strong fighting spirit to clear her final hurdle on Sunday. And bagged her first title ever while Boonsak booked his second Singapore gold.

By Timothy Chan, Badzine Correspondent, reporting live from Singapore. Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Juliane Schenk (photo) sent a clear message that she rightly deserved one of the top seedings in this tournament, when she overcame Cheng Shao Chieh of Chinese Taipei in two straight games to win this Superseries title for Germany and for Europe. “I fight for Europe. I fight for Germany,” said Schenk.

No European woman player had won any Superseries singles title since 2010, when Tine Baun of Denmark won the Yonex All England. Today in the coldness of Singapore Indoor Stadium, Schenk, now European No. 1, captured her first ever Superseries title, after failing to bring it home two months ago when she was denied that chance in the India Open Superseries by Li Xuerui of China. She is the second European player in the Li-Ning Singapore Open’s history to win this women singles title -Tine Baun was the first European to lift that trophy in 2008.  Schenk, who is also called by some fans as the German “Super Dan”, registered a narrow 21-11, 26-24 victory against Shao Chieh.  It was a hard-fought and thrilling match which rewarded the fans who made the effort to come on a super-hot Sunday afternoon without those top superstars who had absented themselves from this tournament.

An ecstatic Schenk was thankful to the fans in both Singapore and Germany, saying, “This match was really tough. She refused to give up the fight regardless of the score and she kept coming back stronger. I am proud to have emerged as the champion and this win will be a great platform and booster as a prelude to my Olympic preparations.

After going back home, I will take a short rest before resuming training for the Olympics,” Schenk further added.

Shao Chieh came into the match on a high note of confidence, having beaten Singapore’s Xing Aiying in the semi-final, but she was overpowered by the tenacious grit shown by Schenk in the first game, which the German won 21-11.

In the second game, Shao Chieh stepped up the pace to set up a late rally and looked strong to force the match to a rubber. Shao-chieh was trailing at 10-15, when a pocket of Taiwanese fans started to shout and cheer her on until she overturned the scoreline to level at 15-15 and then started to take the lead until earning game points at 20-17.  But Schenk came back strongly to level at 20-20, then finally won it 26-24.

Second Singapore Open title for Boonsak

Olympics-bound and 2007 Singapore Open champion Boonsak Ponsana (photo), after losing in two finals in Singapore 2009 & 2010, ran to his two coaches to hug them when he nailed his first match-point to win 21-19 and snatch the Li-Ning Singapore Open men’s singles title for the second time, beating former World Junior Champion Wang Zhengming of China.

A boisterous sector of spectators, mainly Boonsak’s fans, cheered on the two finalists as they took to the court but it was Boonsak who turned out to be stronger as he went on the attack from the get-go to ward off the dangerous rising star from China. The 30-year-old Thai, whose world ranking has fallen from fourth in November 2010 to a current 32nd, ended the first game with a score 21-18 but during the second game gave his fans a scare when he asked for medical attention after sustaining a finger injury.

Despite his injury, Boonsak stepped up his tempo to put on a good show in the second game with some amazing rallies coming from both of them, bringing the crowd to their feet. Wang tried valiantly to counter Boonsak’s fluid play but could not stop the powerful and more ‘hungry’ Thai from sealing the second game.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, and through translation from his coach Mr Udom, the Li-Ning sponsored Boonsak said, “Whenever I play in Singapore, I feel like I am playing at home. The Li-Ning Singapore Open is my favourite tournament. The crowd here has always given me plenty of support and I am grateful to have put on a good show for them.

As for the match, I was very attack-minded from the start but my coach told me to slow down and pace myself.  Wang is a very quick player so I had to ensure that my choice of shots was well-planned. This is my second title here at the Singapore Open and I will definitely be back for more!”

In 2007, unseeded Boonsak beat 7th seed Chen Yu of China to win two straight games 21-17, 21-14 to capture his first title at the Li-Ning Singapore Open, the only other Superseries title to his name.

Wang Zhengming (photo) felt that he was a bit nervous at this final and thus did not play quite well. “Maybe he was champion and finalist two times before in Singapore, so he got the advantage and experience. This is my first final here and I lack that experience and while anxious to get the points, I made a lot of mistakes.

An overall good show at Singapore Open 2012

As was predicted when the 2012 Li-Ning Singapore Open kicked off, even without the Wangs from China and the many other top stars, some of whom pulled out at the very last minute, the show goes on. The participating players who came to this lion-city put on an entertaining show throughout the week – equally as good as the top star players in terms of their skills and fighting spirit – ultimately pleasing the die-hard fans to who turned out each day to watch them play.

This Singapore Open, a tournament with a 25-year heritage with the role of title sponsor changing hands several times, came to an interesting closing in 2012 with – as at last week’s Indonesia Open – each of the five titles going to a different nation.  Three of those winners will be hoping it is a Singapore springboard to Olympic success as well.

All results HERE

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