GERMAN OPEN 2014 Finals – Underdogs take over

Only Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi were able to live up to their status of top favourites at the Yonex German Open today in Mulheim. The Japanese twosome, who started […]

Only Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi were able to live up to their status of top favourites at the Yonex today in Mulheim. The Japanese twosome, who started the tournament as first seeds, overcame Kyung Jung Eun and Kim Ha Na. All other finals were won by – at least on paper – the lesser players.

Article by Elm Vandervorst.  Photos: Sven Heise for Badmintonphoto (live)

Matsutomo and Takahashi finally took revenge as they were defeated by their Korean adversaries at the German Open in 2012 and 2013. This year the Japanese duo had to give their absolute best but, in contrast to their previous encounters with Jung and Kim, won after two games 23-21, 24-22.

Kim Ha Na had a second chance to get back home with a title, in the mixed doubles. Together with Ko Sung Hyun she faced Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier. But the Korean seemed tired after her earlier battle and their Scottish opponents won straightforward 21-15, 21-18.

“The support was fantastic, we’re really grateful. It’s our second win here in Germany. The Koreans made us work hard, but we were able to take control,” explained the Scots.

The third double match of the day was an all-Japanese clash between top seeds Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa and their compatriots Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda. The latter were crushed at the China Open in November last year. However at the German Open, they were able to win the first and deciding third game. Enough for the victory and the title.

Sayaka Takahashi was Japan’s last remaining chance to obtain the much wanted trophy in Mülheim an der Ruhr. The younger sister of Ayaka had to deal with Sung Ji Hyun, a player whom she had not yet defeated. Today after both shuttlers had won a game, Takahashi took control and prevailed 21-17, 8-21, 21-12. A third victory for Japan.

Could Arvind Bhat complete the German Open with a sixth victory in a row? The Indian, who plays in the German league, had surprised everyone so far and beating the clear favourite Hans-Kristian Vittinghus would be a perfect ending of his week. Bhat seemed on his way to his first victory at the German Open after winning the opener 24-22, but lost the second 21-19. But the tired Dane had to accept defeat in the end, losing the decider 21-11 after losing 10 points in a row – he felt a sudden pain in his chest but still mentioned his opponent of the day was better.

Much to the delight of Bhat who was like an (under)dog with two tails. “He played very well and it was a very fast match,” said Bhat. “But this was very likely one of my best matches and certainly the tournament of my life. Germany is my second home and the support of the crowd really helps!”

Final results
WD: Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) beat Jung Kyung Eun / Kim Ha Na (KOR) [2] 23-21, 24-22
WS: Sayaka Takahashi (JPN) [6] beat Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) [1] 21-17, 8-21, 21-12
MD: Takeshi Kamura / Keigo Sonoda (JPN) [8] beat Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hayakawa (JPN) [1] 21-19, 14-21, 21-14
XD: Robert Blair / Imogen Bankier (SCO) beat Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (KOR) [3] 21-15, 21-18
MS: Arvind Bhat (IND) beat Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (DEN) [12] 24-22, 19-21, 21-11

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