The titles may have been dominated by veterans from Japan and Europe but the 2013 Yonex Polish Open was a chance for invaluable experience for many of the young visitors, including a few finalists.
By Agnieszka Pugacewicz and Janusz Rudzinski, Badzine Correspondents live in Warsaw. Photos: Pawel Starega for Badzine Poland
In the past, the Polish Open has given a chance for promising young players from Europe and Asia to gain experience. Some of them later became really big successes. This time, one of the famous coaches and former players who has come from abroad with youngsters was Misbun Sidek.
“It is important for Asian players to take part in tournaments in Europe, like Polish Open here,” the Malaysian coach told Badzine. “The Europeans are much taller and play a strong, tough game, whereas Asian players are more agile.”
Sidek came to Warsaw with three players only, playing men’s singles and one double. The strongest among them, his son Misbun Ramdan Mohmed Misbun, was seeded seventh in men’s singles.
The new coach of the Polish team Jacek Hankiewicz, who took up this post after Kim Young Man, likes the young Malaysian’s way because “He plays in the new style, which is based on neutralizing his opponent rather than – like Hsu Jen Hao – on an attempt to exhaust him.” According to the Polish coach, Misbun in 2-3 years can become a really good player.
At the moment, though, Hsu Jen Hao was more effective and he defeated Misbun in semi-final. But in the final, the 22-year-old defending champion from Taiwan did not manage to exhaust Vladimir Malkov (pictured right) and it was the Russian player who was shouting for joy after 80 minutes of play.
There was no match in women’s singles final. Top-seeded Pai Hsiao Ma, also of Chinese Taipei, won her semi-final against India’s Arundhati Pantawane but only after calling for medical help during the match. In the deciding game of the semi-final, she was still suffering foot pain, after every rally she was moving very slowly and the umpire was gently but firmly accusing the Taiwan player of delaying the game. So there was no surprise when, the next day, Pai announced that she could not play in the final versus Shizuka Uchida of Japan.
The second title for Japan was secured already in ladies’ doubles on Saturday when two pairs from this country defeated Slav opponents from Poland (Kamila Augustyn / Agnieszka Wojtkowska) and Russia (Irina Khlebko / Ksenia Polikarpova). Eto Rie and Yu Wakita, seeded third, defeated Yuki Anai and Yumi Murayama.
The hosts also secured one title already by semi-finals day. In mixed doubles, top seeds Robert Mateusiak / Nadia Zieba and fourth seeds Wojciech Szkudlarczyk / Agnieszka Wojtkowska outplayed their opponents from Sweden and England. The higher-ranked Polish pair lost the first game but finally won the tournament. Immediately after the ceremony, Mateusiak and Zieba headed to Denmark where they will be playing in the Danish league semi-final for Team Skaelskor-Slagelse against Jonas Rasmussen and Christinna Pederesen of Greve.
The second triumph satisfied Polish supporters gathered in the Warsaw Arena Ursynow thanks to the victory of Adam Cwalina and Przemyslaw Wacha. The men’s doubles third seeds defeated – with not a little difficulty – Yuya Komatsuzaki and Hiroki Takeuchi from Japan. 20-year-old Takeuchi, the youngest finalist of the day, was playing in his first international final.
XD: Robert Mateusiak / Nadia Zieba (POL)  beat Wojciech Szkudlarczyk / Agnieszka Wojtkowska (POL)  15-21, 21-16, 21-14
MS: Vladimir Malkov (RUS)  beat Hsu Jen Hao (TPE)  21-12, 20-22, 21-18
MD: Adam Cwalina / Przemyslaw Wacha (POL)  beat Yuya Komatsuzaki / Hiroki Takeuchi (JPN) 21-19, 20-22, 21-17
WS: Shizuka Uchida (JPN)  beat Pai Hsiao Ma (TPE)  (Walkover)
WD: Eto Rie / Yu Wakita (JPN)  beat Yuki Anai / Yu Murayama (JPN) 21-11, 21-7