INDIA OPEN 2015 Finals – 1st for 2 Chinese, first 2 for India

One half of two of China’s pairs in the Yonex-Sunrise India Open finals – Liu Cheng and Hong Wei – recorded their first ever Superseries titles, each beating their Danish […]

One half of two of China’s pairs in the Yonex-Sunrise finals – Liu Cheng and Hong Wei – recorded their first ever titles, each beating their Danish opponents in straight games.  Meanwhile, India’s Srikanth and Nehwal took India’s first home titles since it became a .

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

It was only a matter of time before they won Superseries titles.  Liu Cheng and Hong Wei had both won Grand Prix Gold titles, made several appearances in Superseries finals, and spent the last several months ranked in the world’s top 10.

What’s more, both Liu and Hong were playing with partners who had already passed that other particular milestone.  Bao Yixin has won ten women’s doubles Superseries titles while Chai Biao had won two.

In the mixed doubles, the probability seemed even higher that Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin (pictured) would finally win their first senior title together given that they were unbeaten against the world #2 Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen.  They found themselves playing catch-up in both games but surged at the right time to finish the match 21-19, 21-19.

In the men’s doubles, Hong Wei and Chai Biao (pictured) and their opponents Mads Conrad-Petersen / Mads Pieler Kolding were each dealing with less of a known quantity, this being their first meeting.  However, coincidentally, Conrad-Petersen was one of the runners-up on the occasion of Chai’s first Superseries titles, when he won the 2011 Malaysia Open with Guo Zhendong.

Hong and Chai moved out to a seemingly commanding 18-12 lead in the first game only to see the Danes pull to within two.  The Chinese finished it off safely and 21-18 and then really did run away with the second game, winning that one 21-14 to set off the celebrations.

The other two Chinese shuttlers who were looking for their first Superseries titles in Delhi today will have to continue waiting.  They went down after some long, gruelling rallies to top seeds Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi, losing both games 19-21.  It was their third time this week playing a two-game match that lasted more than an hour.

Finally, Superseries titles for India at home

Saina Nehwal’s last India Open title was in 2010, just before the event became a Superseries event.  She had already beaten one of the players who had blocked her 2013 attempt, Yui Hashimoto, in the semi-finals.  In the final, it was time to take care of the woman who won the India Open Superseries title that year.

Former World Champion Ratchanok Intanon found herself playing catch-up throughout the match, never once taking the lead.  In the first game, she erased Saina’s first four game points and had spectators wondering whether she might produce another ten-point run as she had against World Champion Carolina Marin in the semi-finals.  However, this time it was too little too late and the second game produced not even this sort of ray of hope.

It was a fitting end to a week that will push Saina to the top of the world rankings for the first time in her career.  Although her compatriot Prakash Padukone was once the top seed for the World Championships, Saina Nehwal (pictured) will be the first Indian to achieve the #1 spot in the comprehensive world ranking system that was developed after the great Padukone was in his heyday.

Immediately afterward, Kidambi Srikanth (pictured) became the first Indian to win the India Open since Prakash Padukone in 1981.  India’s premier event went through a hiatus of more than a decade before being reconstituted in 2008 as a Grand Prix Gold and then promoted to Superseries level in 2011.

Srikanth beat Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in a repeat of their Swiss Open final just two weeks ago.  Axelsen’s runner-up finish will be just shy of pushing him into the world’s top 5 for the first time.

Final results
WD: Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) [1] beat Luo Ying / Luo Yu (CHN) [2] 21-19, 21-19
XD: Liu Cheng / Bao Yixin (CHN) [2] beat Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen (DEN) [1]  21-19, 21-19
MD: Chai Biao / Hong Wei (CHN) [3] beat Mads Conrad-Petersen / Mads Pieler Kolding (DEN) [7]  21-18, 21-14
WS: Saina Nehwal (IND) [1] beat Ratchanok Intanon (THA) [3]  21-16, 21-14
MS: Kidambi Srikanth (IND) [2] beat Viktor Axelsen (DEN) [6]  18-21, 21-13, 21-12

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net