The old hand versus the upcoming star. A country which hosts 5.6 million residents vs. the nation with a population over 66 million. Denmark versus Thailand. Or Boe/Mogensen up against Jongjit/Puangpuapech: a thrilling U.S. Open final with only one winner.
By Elm Vandevorst. Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)
Could the Danes repeat their previous victory against their Thai opponents? At the India Open in April, the latter were defeated by a straightforward performance by the former world #1s 21-15, 21-15. The Danish duo, clear favourites before the start of this match as well, had a rather faltering start and lost the first 17-21, the first game they had dropped throughout the entire tournament.
Maneepong Jongjit, who received a three-month ban after an on-court fight against former team-mate Bodin Issara a year ago this weekend, was back alongside Nipitphon Puangpuapech (pictured) playing in their first final since that fateful day. The twosome advanced to the semis of the Asian Championships this year, but hadn’t been back to a final since Jongjit’s return to competition in October.
Was it the experience of the Danes or the nerves of their Thai rivals? Either way, Boe and Mogensen equalized by winning the second game 21-15. The decider started well for the Thai men, who took an early lead. But at 17-17 things could have gone either way. A crucial sprint from Jongjit and Puangpuapech resulted in a hard-won title.
The victory was consolation for Jongjit’s earlier loss in the mixed. Together with Sapsiree Taerattanachai he had to accept defeat against Muhammed Rijal and Vita Marissa, 21-16 21-19. Rijal captured his first international badminton title in the mixed in 2008 with Vita Marissa, beating fellow Indonesians Nova Widianto and Lilyana Natsir. After a long time apart, Rijal and Marissa reunited earlier this year.
Vita Marissa had to face Taerattanachai a second time in the women’s doubles and could celebrate another time together with Shendy Puspa Irawati (pictured). It was a major blow for the Thai who was very keen on winning at least one doubles title after winning the singles here last year. A feat few shuttlers have managed to accomplish.
In the men’s singles, an exciting encounter between the top seeds was on the menu. Nguyen Tien Minh and Chou Tien Chen are both in the top 25 in the world. At the Singapore Open in April, the Vietnamese veteran forced his rival to a first round loss. And although he had to give everything, Nguyen prevailed again at the U.S. Open 21-19, 14-21, 21-19. Meaning the Vietnamese shuttler will remain titleholder for at least another year.
Zhang Beiwen (pictured), representing the United States today after playing for Singapore in the past, had to overcome Japanese Kana Ito if she would like to grant the home nation at least one title. It would be the first victory for the United States since Tony Gunawan won the mixed doubles alongside Vita Marissa in 2012. Beiwen had no mercy and blasted to a convincing 21-15 21-10 win, within half an hour.
XD: Muhammad Rijal / Vita Marissa (INA) beat Maneepong Jongjit / Sapsiree Taerattanachai (THA)  21-16, 21-19
MS: Nguyen Tien Minh (VIE)  beat Chou Tien Chen (TPE)  21-19, 14-21, 21-19
WS: Zhang Beiwen (USA)  beat Kana Ito (JPN) 21-8, 21-17
WD: Shendy Puspa Irawati / Vita Marissa (INA) beat Puttita Supajirakul / Sapsiree Taerattanachai (THA)  21-15, 21-10
MD: Maneepong Jongjit Nipitphon Puangpuapech (THA)  beat Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (DEN)  21-17, 15-21, 21-18