CHINA MASTERS 2012 Finals – 3 sweeps in 4 years for China!

Chinese shuttlers made the most of what will be their only Superseries outing this month but sweeping all five Li-Ning China Masters titles for the third time in four years. […]

Women's doubles finalists: (from left) Runners-up Cheng Shu / Luo Yu, Champions Bao Yixin / Zhong Qianxin © Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto

Chinese shuttlers made the most of what will be their only outing this month but sweeping all five Li-Ning titles for the third time in four years.

By Kira Rin, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live from Changzhou)

In a clash of team-mates, doubles specialist Bao Yixin had a big tactical advantage which came from having been partners with all the other players on court.  Thus she had an intimate understanding of their playing styles, and with this knowledge was able to help set up opportunities for her smashing partner Zhong Qianxin.  Faced with Zhong’s biting smashes, there wasn’t much Cheng Shu and Luo Yu could do, especially when their returns were easily intercepted by a person who was able to read their game all too well.

This 2012 China Masters marks the 1st time Hong Kong’s Hu Yun (pictured right) has entered the final of a Superseries tournament.  With that in mind, Hu Yun kept close tabs on Chen Long, utilizing cross-court drives and net play to hit winners.  However, Chen upped the pace past the intervals of both games, intercepting the tight net plays and smashing opportune shots.  Hu Yun was at a loss for answers and couldn’t turn his finals attendance into a title.

Women’s Singles world #1 Wang Yihan was tested when she faced teammate Jiang Yanjiao.  While Wang was rallying consistently, Jiang played a game of retrieval, forcing herself to get the shuttle back over the net.  At times, Jiang was able to briefly get ahead of Wang but Wang’s patience ultimately gained her the match.

Defending champs tested

The only final to make it to three games in Changzhou today was the mixed doubles, where top pair Xu Chen and Ma Jin (pictured below) were taken by surprise when Qiu Zihan and Tang Jinhua started off with a high pace of attack.  Striking while the iron was hot, Qiu smashed hard to finish the 1st game in his favour.

Come the interval, Ma Jin was able to reorganize and the pair were able to bring the pace of the game to their control, placing shots with a variety of angles and smashing at blind spots.  Qiu and Tang were able to make some great returns, even pulling off behind-the-back returns, but that wasn’t enough to stop Xu Chen’s powerful and well-placed attacks and the younger pair ceded the match, scoreing little more than 10 points in each of the last two games.

As a thanks to the spectators for staying on to watch their display of badminton, both pairs went around hitting shuttles into the crowd to take home as souvenirs.

Top seeds topped

Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa started off with their own unique and reckless brand of doubles, favouring fast and early interception, even going as far as to jump from the net position to attack the shot.  However, the recently reunited pair of Chai Biao and Zhang Nan clicked together to cover each other and set up smashing opportunities.  The Japanese pair weren’t one to give up, though, and survived 4 game points before making an unforced error.

Being reckless does have its advantages in allowing for surprise attacks but on the downside such a player is more prone to making errors.  In that regard, Endo and Hayakawa ended up being the only top seeds to lose their match during this tournament’s finals day, after a combination of forced and unforced errors awarded the points and match to Chai and Zhang, who put the finishing touches on yet another Chinese clean sweep of Masters titles.

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