HONG KONG OPEN 2013 Finals – A bit of Hong Kong back to England

The Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open became not only England’s first Superseries title in 4 years but also the first international title for newlyweds Chris and Gabrielle Adcock. By Adrian Kok.  […]

The Yonex-Sunrise became not only England’s first title in 4 years but also the first international title for newlyweds Chris and Gabrielle Adcock.

By Adrian Kok.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Finals day at the 2013 Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open began with an international mixed doubles match and ended with one in men’s singles, while the three in between had members of the same team on the opposite ends of the court.  Although the Chinese women dominated the women events, there were still lots of surprises.

Mr. and Mrs.

Chris Adcock and Gabrielle White – or now officially Mr. and Mrs. Adcock – were the only representatives in the today’s finals from the European continent.  The English couple quashed the dream of the younger Chinese pair of Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin, who were making their first appearance in an international final since they won the World Junior title in 2010.

Liu and Bao found it difficult to maintain their defensive play in the first game.  The huge gap in score between the English and the Chinese went down to the relentless attacking by the Brits.  Chris, who is known to be a powerful smasher, took every opportunity to attack and created openings for his wife to nail the shuttle.

However, the Chinese fought back in the second game after some sound advice from the coach.  Though the Brits were attacking hard, they were forced to move around the court more because of the China’s defensive strategy.  Every defensive shot made by the Chinese put the English pair out of position and created chances from them to attack.

Nevertheless, that was not enough to put an end to the determination of the Adcocks.  They fought hard to erase five straight game points and finally won the match in straight games.  They are the first pair in the last four years to win a Superseries title for England.

“This is something we’ve worked for and it feels amazing,” said Gabrielle White.  “Growing up as youngsters, this is what we were aiming at – a title in a Superseries.  Now time has come and it just feels unreal.”

Wang vs. Wang

They see each other on court everyday as they train together Wang Shixian is not just her opponent in today’s final but she is also a fellow team-mate.  The official head-to-head record favoured the lanky Wang Yihan, who had won 7 of the previous 9 matches against her team-mate.

The first two games had a lot of dull moments as neither shuttler had the fiery pace and attacking tenacity.  Both were comfortable clearing the shuttle back and forth.  Even to some point of the game it looked as if they were training.  Still there was a showcase of world class shots that thrilled the audience.

It all changed in the rubber game when both players put their game up a notch and looked ready to battle all-out.  The pace of the game was faster with several fast drive shots coupled with quicker movements.  Yihan injected more attacking pace, which proved difficult for Shixian, who was scrambling to retrieve her compatriot’s smashes and Yihan won the deciding game by a comfortable margin.

“I got three titles this year.  That’s not bad,” said Wang Yihan, whose win was not enough to qualify her for the Superseries Finals.

“Perhaps I didn’t handle several rallies at the start of 3rd game, as I took 1st game smoothly, and in the 2nd game, my opponent started to change tactics, and I didn’t adapt to the change until the middle of the 3rd game.”

Wang admitted that she is facing competition inside National team: “Li Xuerui lost in the quarter-finals, but I still think she performed not badly in this tournament.  Besides, she also got many titles of important events this year.  Wang Shixian also performed very well this year.  Even several youngsters inside the national team performed quite well and are catching up with us.  I must actively adjust my condition to keep up.”

New pair takes 3rd of 4

The men doubles is the second event of the day to have members of the same team on either side of the net.  Kim Ki Jung and Kim Sa Rang, who are currently world ranked 7th in the world, were fired up in the first game and held nothing back.  Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong didn’t have an answer to the attacks and quick movement of their opponents.

Lee and Yoo began to calm their nerves in the second game and communicated more.  They reworked they strategy and implemented it to bring about a positive effect.  The two Kims continued to fall behind Yong Dae and Yeon Seong.  Besides dealing with the relentless attacks, the younger players were out of tactics to force them to err.  They were in a defensive stance all through the rubber game and were not able to create opportunity for attack.

In the end, it was the new pair who took their third Superseries titles in just four attempts since their partnership began.

“This is a good victory for us.  It’s always difficult to play against our own compatriots,” said Lee Yong Dae.  “As now a senior player in the team, I feel like there is more pressure somehow than when I was the younger one in the team, so now, I just train harder to make up for it.”

Next generation

The fourth event of the day, was another all-Chinese battle between two of the country’s new generation of women’s doubles.  Bao Yixin and Ou Dongni may have been partners when they won the World Junior title in 2010 but since then, Bao and Tang Jinhua, losing finalist in said junior championship, have gotten far more international experience than Ou and Tang Yuanting.

Even so, Ou and Tang didn’t give up and bravely took on their senior opponents, even finishing victorious in the first game.  However, they began to lose focus in the second game, and by the decider, it was clear that Bao and Tang were calm and collected.  They continued to attack persistently and gave no space for a counter attack.  The younger players lost but they were all smiles as they knew that this was a good lesson learned.


One of the most anticipated matches of the day gave fans a chance to see men’s singles world #1 Lee Chong Wei in action.  Sony Dwi Kuncoro, who has been combating injury had been putting on stunning performances all week to reach today’s final.  The 31-year-old Malaysian played with caution the first 8 points in the match as he too was nursing an injury.  After getting warmed up, though, Chong Wei wasted no time to smash his way to reach the 21 point mark.  Sony tried everything he could to retrieve the shots but was clearly out-manoeuvred.

In the second game, Chong Wei began to stamp his dominance by showcasing his speed and agility on court.  Although Sony won several points from the net, the Malaysian’s smashes were pin-point sharp and often positioned away from Sony’s racket.  The match ended in 34 minutes with Chong Wei victorious.

“This is my 6th title of this year, and six is also my lucky number.  I hope this will bring fortune for me to play in the rest of the events this year,” said Lee Chong Wei after his match, also mentioning that his wife Wong Mew Choo was in the stands supporting him.

“I enjoyed this tournament very much, and I did not expect that I could perform so well.  I could feel the enthusiasm from the Hong Kong fans.  That’s why I come here every year: to play and meet the friends in Hong Kong.”

Final results
XD: Chris Adcock / Gabrielle White (ENG) beat Liu Cheng / Bao Yixin (CHN)  21-14, 24-22
WS: Wang Yihan (CHN) [3] beat Wang Shixian (CHN) [4]  21-13, 16-21, 21-15
MD: Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Seong    (KOR) beat Kim Ki Jung / Kim Sa Rang (KOR) [4]  12-21, 21-15, 21-18
WD: Bao Yixin / Tang Jinhua (CHN) [5] beat Ou Dongni / Tang Yuanting (CHN)  18-21, 21-16, 21-15
MS: Lee Chong Wei (MAS) [1] beat Sony Dwi Kuncoro (INA)  21-13, 21-9

Click here for complete, detailed results

About Adrian Kok