VIETNAM OPEN 2015 – Teen Kawakami wins 3rd title of the year

17-year-old Saena Kawakami of Japan made the Vietnam Open her third title of 2015 in a finals day that mixed familiarity with surprises. By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto […]

17-year-old Saena Kawakami of Japan made the her third title of 2015 in a finals day that mixed familiarity with surprises.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto and Adrianna Yiu (archives)

Japan’s Saena Kawakami (pictured) may only be 17 years old but it just isn’t a surprise any more to see teenagers winning women’s singles titles generally, nor Saena in particular.  Kawakami came into the final having already won the Dutch Junior title and the New Zealand Open Gold but added to her collection with a from Vietnam.

In fact, runner-up Fitriani Fitriani is even younger and she, too, has titled already in 2015.  It was only an International Series that the young Indonesian won but at only 16, she can revel in having reached a Grand Prix final, something she had to beat the (also teenaged) world #17 to accomplish.

China’s 19-year-old Huang Kaixiang lost a men’s doubles final to compatriots Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen (pictured) for the fifth time in just over two years.  The streak began in the two big 2013 junior events when Huang was paired with Zheng Siwei but he and current partner Wang Sijie came up short earlier this summer at the Canada Open as well.

Huang did have continued success with mixed partner Huang Dongping, however.  After winning the U.S. Open earlier this summer, the two Huangs beat two-time Asian Junior Champions Choi Sol Gyu / Chae Yoo Jung of Korea.  Both of the Koreans’ junior titles involved wins over at least one of the Huangs but this was the first time they had played the new pairing and it was over in straight games.

Each of the Koreans will be heading to the Superseries with veteran partners – Chae with former Asian Games gold medallist Shin Baek Cheol, and Choi with former World Championship runner-up Eom Hye Won – while the Chinese pairing should move up into the world’s top 40 with this result.  Huang and Huang will miss the Superseries and get back into action at the Thai Open Grand Prix Gold.

Speaking of veteran Koreans, two-time Olympic semi-finalist Lee Hyun Il had his chance at a third title for the year but he was stopped by Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto.  Sugiarto bounced back from disappointment at his home World Championships to title in his second straight Grand Prix event after winning the Russian Open in July.

Finally, the only first-time Grand Prix winners of the day were Thailand’s Jongkonphan Kittiharakul / Rawinda Prajongjai (pictured) in women’s doubles.  Not only was it their first title ever as a pair, but both players also made their first trip to the top of a podium since winning International Series titles, separately, in 2013!  They beat Suci Rizky Andini / Maretha Dea Giovani, their third Indonesian opponents in a row.

While Sugiarto, Kawakami, and Choi and Chae will be taking the week off before participating in the next Superseries event, the two Indonesian runners-up will be right back at it this week in their home International Challenge event in East Java.  Most of the others will next be seen in action as the Grand Prix Gold circuit resumes in Thailand in late September.

Final results
MD: Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen (CHN) [1] beat Huang Kaixiang / Wang Sijie (CHN)  21-8, 21-16
MS: Tommy Sugiarto (INA) [1] beat Lee Hyun Il (KOR) [2]  21-19, 21-19
WD: Jongkonphan Kittiharakul / Rawinda Prajongjai (THA) [4] beat Suci Rizky Andini / Maretha Dea Giovani (INA) [8]  21-14, 21-12
WS: Saena Kawakami (JPN) beat Fitriani Fitriani (INA)  26-24, 18-21, 21-10
XD: Huang Kaixiang / Huang Dongping (CHN) [5] beat Choi Sol Gyu / Chae Yoo Jung (KOR) 21-19, 21-12

Click here for complete results

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 @