INDIA OPEN 2014 Finals – Three flags flying

The pride of three badminton nations stood atop the highest step of the podium in New Delhi but Indian spectators were the biggest winners of the day by being treated […]

The pride of three badminton nations stood atop the highest step of the podium in New Delhi but Indian spectators were the biggest winners of the day by being treated to the best finals action in a in recent times, where matches in across all five disciplines drew rapturous and appreciative ovation.

By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Men’s singles: A taste of his own medicine

Five years ago China’s Chen Long recorded the first of his eight victories over then and current world #1 Lee Chong Wei. But badminton’s superstar Lee would deny the lanky Chinese player, now the world #2, any lead in their head to heads, 21-13, 21-17, and kissed the Malaysian flag on the front of his shirt as soon as he had won a ninth time as well as defended his for a third consecutive year.

The most famous player on the badminton circuit as well as possessing the most consistent record of tournament wins, Lee, was the only exception as far as not going into deficit by beginning on the side of the court playing into the drift.

Although two games in length it stretched for nearly an hour in which Lee, for a change, managed to adjust the rhythm of his natural game against this particular opponent (an aspect that Jorgensen can also look forward to after more meetings as previously stated by Badzine).

Chen Long looked on edge at the new-found effectiveness of Lee’s high aerial jump smashes, which delighted the crowd immensely, and was forced to defend the kind of steep shots he is normally used to inflicting on others.

Unexpectedly, Chen was faulted by the service judge for a high flick thus gifting the Malaysian three match points of which only one was needed once the Chinese was rattled after pleading his case with the umpire.

Watch rear view mirror for Wang

The women’s singles was an all Chinese affair between the woman who won Olympic gold in London and the one who was ranked higher at the time but was passed over for selection. The latter, Wang Shixian, who is the current All England champion sunk her claws into the match with her usual intense ferocity.

Both women employed short serves a lot of the time, presumably to address the drift in the hall, but Li Xuerui had trouble with hitting within the length when she found herself on the “difficult” side of the court in the second half of the match.

Wang won this encounter over world #1 Li Xuerui through sheer determination to come from behind twice, each time near the finish line of the game, 22-20, 21-19, including saving game point in the opener, thus bucking the trend of losing a game when starting on the drift court. Both women were bent over from fatigue as they shook hands.

Tang[s] for the memories, but no golds for Kim

Kim Ha Na was in commanding the position after the mid-game interval in the decider of both women’s and mixed doubles but it did not turn out to be her day (to dance to Spandau Ballet).

At 12-8 in the women’s match and having extracted the lift from their Chinese opponents, Kim/Jung, who were earning dividends from targeting their combined offense against Yu Yang, inexplicably made a strategic error by changing focus mid-rally to teenager Tang Yuantang. But it wasn’t to be 13-8 to the Koreans, worse still the momentum swung around after a couple of Korean unforced errors and momentary lapse in confidence costing them eight straight points to the Chinese and ultimately regaining this title.

Having deposed a former and current world #1 in straight games a day previously, nineteen year old sensation Tang Yuanting who came close a month ago at the All England did it this time in a scratch pairing with the other current top player in the world to clinch her maiden Super Series title.

The mixed doubles was anyone’s race and had a buoyant energy about it, much of that due to Ko Sung Hyun’s athleticism and off the wall shot creations that left opponents flat footed.

Fortunately at the crucial stage near the end of the decider it was the idiosyncratically calm Christinna Pedersen who would be the one serving for her team. Match point was a suspenseful affair as would Joachim Fischer-Nielsen be able to produce a tight short serve or put the shuttle into the net with Ko Sung Hyun about to receive? Despite standing on the drift side of court, and against all conventional wisdom, the Dane served a high one that landed on the line and the entire stadium needed to wait a tense minute for confirmation from the Hawk Eye line calling system.

Danes Finally Smile

As far as facial expressions went, the encounter was joyless to the point of gamesmanship.  Danes Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen struggled initially with their rhythm and later on China’s Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan looked increasingly uncomfortable keeping the shuttle within the lines which resulted in a match lacking extended rallies.

Not only did the Danes win their eleventh Super Series title together but it was the first time they have beaten these Chinese opponents who are the defending champions, 17-21, 21-15, 21-15.

Final results
WD: Tang Yuanting / Yu Yang (CHN) beat Jung Kyung Eun / Kim Ha Na (KOR)  21-10, 13-21, 21-16
MD: Mathias Boe Carsten Mogensen (DEN) [2] beat Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan (CHN) [3]  17-21, 21-15, 21-15
WS: Wang Shixian (CHN) [2] beat Li Xuerui (CHN) [1]   22-20, 21-19
XD: Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen (DEN) [3] beat Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (KOR) [4]  21-16, 18-21, 21-18
MS: Lee Chong Wei (MAS) [1] beat Chen Long (CHN) [2]  21-13, 21-17

Click here for complete results

Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @