CHINA OPEN 2014 Finals – Indian Singles Triumph

With the conclusion of the Thaihot China Open Superseries Premier, India has every reason to celebrate. Kidambi Srikanth reached another milestone in his badminton career by beating Lin Dan and clinching […]

With the conclusion of the Thaihot Premier, India has every reason to celebrate. Kidambi Srikanth reached another milestone in his badminton career by beating Lin Dan and clinching the men’s singles title, while Saina Nehwal went ahead to snatch the women’s singles title – only the second ever non-Chinese player to have done so in this tournament.

By Serla Rusli, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

“There is no word, really, nor any comment I could do on this match or my opponent. It’s just a dream come true for me. Just to play Lin Dan in the final was amazing, so to beat him is just like a dream,” said the 21-year-old Srikanth (pictured left).

Not only did he beat the former world #1 and reigning Olympic champion in straight games 21-19, 21-17, he also set a new record for Indian badminton history: Srikanth is the only Indian male player to have ever won a Superseries title.

His victory came right after his compatriot Saina Nehwal (pictured right) clinched the women’s singles title. Saina seemed unshaken by her formidable 17-year-old opponent Akane Yamaguchi, who had been impressive throughout the whole tournament.

Saina finished the first game easily 21-12, but faced considerable challenge in the second game as Akane seemed to have found her rhythm and controlled the game. Saina, who trailed throughout the game, managed to close the gap at 14-14.

At the last crucial moments of the game, Akane, who reached game point first, threw away the chance as she hit her shot long, letting the 6th-seeded Indian back in to clinch the hard-fought title 22-20.

“This is just amazing. To win here, in China, after beating 3 Chinese players in a row is just more than I could imagine,” said Saina afterward.  “I have to congratulate Akane for the great week she’s had. I was nervous before the match after I saw her beat all her opponents so easily. I was expecting a tough fight and the second game was really hard.”

The sweet victory for India coincides with the birthday of Indian badminton legend Pullela Gopichand, who turns 41 today.

Defending champions Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Song (pictured left) were once again crowned China Open men’s doubles champions after beating Chinese duo Chai Biao / Hong Wei 21-14, 21-15.

The Korean duo has been dominating the men’s doubles scene with this their eighth international men’s doubles finals in a row. For Lee Yong Dae, this title is his seventh in the China Open – his massive collection includes his title last year with Yoo, winning men’s doubles title three times with his previous partner Jung Jae Sung, and two mixed doubles title with Lee Hyo Jung.

With India and Korea bagging three out of the five titles, China had to be satisfied with just two titles, in mixed and women’s doubles.

Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei reclaimed the title they last won in 2011 after a gruelling match against Koreans Yoo Yeon Song / Eom Hye Won, who beat the odds to reach the finals.

In the first game, a crucial video replay challenge by Yoo / Eom at 19-20 saved the Koreans, who eventually won the game 25-23. However, Zhang / Zhao fought back in the second and third games, and finally sealed the deal for the title, 21-14, 21-18.

Still, there was no double title for Zhao Yunlei as she and her partner Tian Qing had to surrender to their compatriots Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang (pictured right) in an exciting final, which went to the defending champions 21-16, 19-21, 22-20.

With this victory, Wang / Yu were crowned the women’s doubles champions for the fourth consecutive time at the China Open.

Final results
XD: Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [1] beat Yoo Yeon Seong / Eom Hye Won (KOR)  23-25, 21-14, 21-18
WS: Saina Nehwal (IND) [6] beat Akane Yamaguchi (JPN)  21-12, 22-20
MS: K. Srikanth (IND) beat Lin Dan (CHN)  21-19, 21-17
WD: Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang (CHN) [5] beat Tian Qing /Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [2]  21-16, 19-21, 22-20
MD: Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR) [1] beat Chai Biao / Hong Wei (CHN) [8]  21-14, 21-15

Click here for complete results

About Serla Rusli