MALAYSIA GPG 2013 Finals – Treated with thrills in threes

No fewer than four out of five contests on final’s day were decided in three games. The Indonesian shuttlers were able to steal three trophies on rival ground, while home […]

No fewer than four out of five contests on final’s day were decided in three games. The Indonesian shuttlers were able to steal three trophies on rival ground, while home player Alamsyah Yunus and 17-year-old PV Sindhu ran away with one title each, the latter being one of three first-time Gold winners.

By Elm Vandevorst, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

Long-time foes Indonesia and Malaysia each had several chances before the start of the remaining five matches at the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold, held in Kuala Lumpur’s Stadium Juara. The venue’s name means champion but in the two finals where the Asian powerhouses were opposed to each other, it was the visitors who assumed that title.

The first Indonesia-Malaysia final was the men’s singles clash between Alamsyah Yunus (pictured) and Goh Soon Huat. The much higher-ranked Yunus was considered to be the favourite, certainly as he won the two previous matches against his opponent: one in India in 2010 and the last one in the second round of the Australion Open a month ago.

However Goh Soon Huat didn’t seemed impressed by these statistics and comfortably won the first game 21-10. With all pressure now on his shoulders, Yunus knew he had to step up his game and didn’t disappoint with an effortless 21-9 in the second game. The deciding game started with some beautiful rallies and two shuttlers who didn’t allow each other to take control. With their nerves probably as tense as their strings, Alamsyah Yunus outshined Goh Soon Huat in the end with 21-19.

The crowd couldn’t relax for one minute as another nerve-racking encounter was served by PV Sindhu (pictured) and Gu Juan. In a hard-fought final lasting an hour and 11 minutes, Sindhu emphasized her status as the rising star of Indian badminton with her first ever Grand Prix Gold title. Nevertheless Sindhu was facing defeat in the deciding game while she was 13-7 and 15-10 down, but eventually prevailed.

Her quarter-final at the Asian Championships and a semi-final at the India Open already proved her capabilities and her result in Malaysia is the icing on the cake. To Indian broadsheet DNA the 17-year-old talent expressed her delight: “It’s a very big victory for me. A long match and the toughest one I have played in this tournament. I’m playing well at the moment, but I need to get better and better.”

From there, it was back to the home players in the men’s doubles. Could Goh V Shem and Lim Khim Wah (pictured) cause an upset by surpassing compatriots and living legends Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong? In their last meeting, at the Japan Open in 2011, the latter demonstrated they were still a force to be reckoned with, claiming victory in the quarter-finals. Now two years later, they had to accept defeat as their teammates prevailed in two games with 22-20 and 21-15.

It should be a comforting result for the Malaysian twosome, who were very close to failing their qualification limits for the World Championships after a surprising defeat at the early stages of the New Zealand Open in April. However, they redeemed themselves with a semi-final finish at the Asian Championships and now the title at the .

Three scenarios were still possible for Vita Marissa at the Bukit Kiara National Sports Complex: leaving Kuala Lumpur empty-handed or claim victory in one or two of her final matches. In the end, the practised shuttler had to be satisfied with one more trophy. Together with new partner Praveen Jordan, she was triumphant in the mixed doubles, ousting locals and mixed doubles specialists Tan Aik Quan and Lai Pei Jing 20-22, 21-13, 21-17.  Despite the fact that the seeded Malaysians took the first game, the second and deciding third one went on to their challengers.

In the women’s doubles, however, Marissa’s winning streak came to an abrupt end as Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth and Rizki Amelia Pradipta (pictured) beat her and Aprilsasi Putri Lejarsar Variella after yet another three-game contest. This time with a 21-17 16-21 and 21-17 result.

With the Malaysia Grand Prix Gold coming to an end, the action will remain in Kuala Lumpur, as Malaysia will be the host for the Sudirman Cup held between the 19th and 26th of May.

Final results
WD: Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth / Rizki Amelia Pradipta (INA) [1] beat  Aprilsasi Putri Lejarsar Variella / Vita Marissa  (INA)  21-17, 16-21, 21-17
MS: Alamsyah Yunus (INA) [12] beat  Goh Soon Huat (MAS)  10-21, 21-9, 21-19
WS: P. V. Sindhu (IND) [1] beat  Gu Juan (SIN) [5]  21-17, 17-21, 21-19
MD: Goh V Shem / Lim Khim Wah (MAS) [3] beat Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong (MAS) [1]  22-20, 21-15
XD: Praveen Jordan / Vita Marissa (INA) beat Tan Aik Quan / Lai Pei Jing (MAS) [4]  20-22, 21-13, 21-17

Click here for complete detailed results

About Elm Vandevorst