HONG KONG OPEN 2014 Finals – Back to the top for Son Wan Ho

Korea’s Son Wan Ho bested top seed and World Champion Chen Long to win the Hong Kong Open, his first Superseries since before his army life. By Emzi Regala.  Photos: […]

Korea’s Son Wan Ho bested top seed and World Champion Chen Long to win the , his first since before his army life.

By Emzi Regala.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

A first round loss result by Korea’s Son Wan Ho (pictured) in last week’s China Open turned out to be just the right motivation to stay focused on the prized gold at the Hong Kong Open.  After beating the 2nd seed Jorgensen in the semi-finals, the 6th seed from Korea registered his third career win against Chen Long to take home the men’s singles title.

Chen and Son opened the first game fighting a neck-and-neck race to the 21st point.  Playing steadily, Son put enough pressure on his Chinese opponent to secure the first game 21-19.  The first half of the second game was the same story until Son managed to create some breathing room towards the latter half.  Chen could not find the solution to catch up and eventually gave away the game and effectively the match.

This second win over the World Champion in exactly two months gives the Korean his first Superseries title since the 2012 India Open.  Son’s victory will provide extra confidence going towards the Superseries Finals in the qualification race toward which will end up ranked 4th.

Another disappointment for the China team came in the men’s doubles final, where 6th seeds Liu/Qiu fell short against their opponents from Indonesia Hendra Setiawan / Mohammad Ahsan (pictured above).  The Chinese pair took the equalizing second game to forge a decider game and it looked as if they were taking control of the match until after the interval when the Asian Games gold medallists from Indonesia decided to be more positive in their play, easily pulling away with only their second Superseries title of the year.

Meanwhile in the women’s singles, the very experienced Tai Tzu Ying once again showed artistry and class.  Tai never gave her opponent Nozomi Okuhara (pictured above) a chance to shine as she grabbed the title in two straight games.

China settled for two gold medals, one in the women’s doubles and another in mixed doubles, each courtesy of Zhao Yunlei and partner.  Zhao first took centre stage in the women’s doubles final.  She and Tian Qing (pictured) overwhelmed recently ascendants to the world #1 spot, Matsutomo/Takahashi from Japan, giving away only 13 points in each game.  This performance will put the Chinese pair back into the world #1 spot, a place they haven’t occupied since nearly two years ago.

Zhao Yunlei then returned to court with Zhang Nan, this time against compatriots and regular rivals Xu Chen / Ma Jin for the mixed doubles finals event.  In the shortest match of the day, barely over 40 minutes, they registered a 21-14 21-19 victory to add to Zhao’s gold haul.

Final results

WD: Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [2] beat Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) [1]  21-13, 21-13
WS: Tai Tzu Ying (TPE) [6] beat Nozomi Okuhara (JPN)  21-19, 21-11
MS: Son Wan Ho (KOR) [6] beat Chen Long (CHN) [1]  21-19, 21-16
XD: Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [1] beat Xu Chen / Ma Jin (CHN) [2]  21-14, 21-19
MD: Mohammad Ahsan / Hendra Setiawan (INA) [2] beat Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan (CHN) [6]  21-16, 17-21, 21-15

Click here for complete results

About Emzi Regala