Jang Ye Na struck gold in her first appearance after her December injury and Kim Ha Na did the same in her first tournament outside Korea since the Olympics. Meanwhile, the title remained elusive for Juliane Schenk at her home event, the Yonex German Open.
By Emzi Regala, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Sven Heise (live from Mülheim)
Double Celebration for Korea
Jang Ye Na did it all that was required of her… and then some more. In her first on-court appearance since retiring with an ankle injury from the mixed doubles final at the Korea Grand Prix Gold in December, Jang played the net, set her partner up, defended, attacked from the back court and saved a match point!
Shin Baek Cheol struggled against the clever placements of the opposing Danish pair Anders Kristiansen / Julie Houmann. But Shin, who was gifted the title in December by then-opponent Jang’s injury, earned his gold this time, as he showed better nerves to lift his partner out of the 20-20 deadlock in the third game and final game. The newly re-united Koreans, who played three tournaments together back in 2009, sealed Asia’s gold medal haul to a perfect 5.
Shin/Jang wasted no time getting ahead to a game point in the first game, and thanks to a service error by their opponent, quickly registered the first game win, 21-19. Even as Kristiansen committed even more service errors in the second game, Houmann kept her dominance at the net, enough to come through with a 21-19 equalizer.
At the beginning of the third game, her skillful net play frustrated their Korean opponents. The Danish pair went as far ahead as the match point at 20-19, and another one at 21-20. But nervous wrists produced more service errors which eventually gave away the rubber game and effectively the gold to the Koreans, 24-22.
For Shin Baek Cheol, it was his third title in Germany in his last four visits, as he won men’s doubles in his first tournament with Lee Yong Dae back in 2009, which he actually added to the boys’ singles title he’d already won in 2007 at the German Junior.
It seems that Jung Kyung Eun / Kim Ha Na (pictured above) have finally moved on from their forgettable London Olympic experience as the pair successfully disposed of China’s Ma Jin / Tang Jinhua in 3 games, 11-21, 21-14, 21-13 in the women’s doubles final. The Korean pair started sluggishly in the first game, but eventually found their rhythm and never looked back; taking the last two games that led them to grab their first title together in 2013.
For Kim Ha Na, it was her first tournament outside of Korea since the Olympics, while Jung did compete with her corporate team, KGC, at the Djarum Superliga last month. The pair reached the semi-final of the Korea Open in January but had to skip the Malaysia Open as their re-instatement to the Korean National Badminton Team did not come through until later that month.
China seals singles
Wang Yihan (pictured right) was out to prove a point – that she still remains as one of the best, if not the best in the world of women’s singles badminton. There was not much Juliane Schenk (pictured above) could do to pacify Wang’s attacking strategy. The German settled for silver, for the third time in four years at her home Open, after losing in 2 games, 14-21 13-21 in 34 minutes, the shortest time she spent on court in this competition.
Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto failed to finally register a win against Chen Long, who had an easy walk in the park final victory 21-17, 21-11. The win will certainly boost the confidence of Chen Long, to whom some refer to as the potential successor of the Great Lin Dan.
The men’s doubles final was an uneventful encounter between two Chinese teams Chai Baio / Hong Wei and Liu Xiaolong / Qui Zihan. Despite the much longer partnership of Liu/Qiu, it was the scratch pairing of the lanky Hong and Chai who prevailed 21-16, 21-17 in just a shade under 30 minutes.
MD: Chai Biao / Hong Wei (CHN)  bt Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan (CHN)  21-10, 21-14
MS: Chen Long (CHN)  bt Tommy Sugiarto (INA)  21-17, 21-11
WD: Jung Kyung Eun / Kim Ha Na (KOR)  bt Ma Jin / Tang Jinhua (CHN)  11-21, 21-14, 21-13
WS: Wang Yihan (CHN)  bt Juliane Schenk (GER)  21-14, 21-13
XD: Shin Baek Cheol / Jang Ye Na (KOR) bt Anders Kristiansen / Julie Houmann (DEN) 21-19, 19-21, 24-22