MACAU OPEN 2015 Finals – Jeon’s 1st gives Korea 4

Korea’s Jeon Hyeok Jin scraped by against Tian Houwei of China to make the Macau Open his first ever Grand Prix Gold title. By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto and Don […]

Korea’s Jeon Hyeok Jin scraped by against Tian Houwei of China to make the his first ever Gold title.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto and Don Hearn (archives)

There was to be no third time lucky for Tian Houwei.  Beaten by legends Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei in his first two finals appearances this year, Tian was looking forward to doing one better than his runner-up finish at the Hong Kong Open but this week he was the one suffering an upset.

Korea’s Jeon Hyeok Jin (pictured) was the one who ended up third time lucky, as it turned out.  For him, it was with match points in the third game.  Jeon glided effortlessly around the court in the first game and together with persistent defense, he won it handily.

After letting Tian get the better of him in the second, Jeon continually surged ahead to 13-6 in the decider, only to see Tian reel him in.  The Korean never relinquished the lead but on each of his three match points he felt the pressure as Tian evened the score.  The 20-year-old saw his golden opportunity on the third attempt, however and delivered a crisp smash down each sideline in succession to leave Tian sprawling and Jeon celebrating.

Two different firsts for Chae and Shin

Jeon was actually the second player on the day to take a first ever Grand Prix Gold title.  His compatriot Chae Yoo Jung (pictured) was playing in her fourth such final, the first coming at this very event in 2013, just weeks after she and Jeon collaborated in winning Korea’s World Junior Mixed Team title.

Choi Sol Gyu, Chae’s mixed partner in that first Macau Open final two years ago, has since won his own Grand Prix Gold title, when he and Eom Hye Won claimed the gold in Thailand this autumn.  However, this time it was to be the turn of Chae and Shin Baek Cheol.  They nosed ahead to take the first game but pulled away much earlier in the second to win it decisively.

For Shin Baek Cheol, it was to be the first doubles double of his career.  He and Ko Sung Hyun (pictured bottom) won only the third international title of their two-year partnership.  They held on to win the first game 22-20 against Indonesia’s Berry Angriawan / Rian Agung Saputro but were dominant in the second.

With both of his partners having qualified for the Superseries Finals in Dubai, Shin has now withdrawn from the trio of North American tournaments he had been entered in.

Three in a row for Sindhu

It was a third straight Macau Open title for Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (pictured) in the women’s singles.  She blew two match points in the second game but dominated the decider to prevail over Japan’s Minatsu Mitani.  Sindhu now heads down to Indonesia, where she will have the chance to avoid Macau being her only title for a consecutive year.  She is the top seed for the Indonesia Masters and will be keen to finish 2015 with two titles.

The women’s doubles provided the saddest note of the afternoon.  At one game up and leading 15-14 in the second, Poon Lok Yan came down from a floating smash only to have her left knee give out.  She collapsed in pain and had to be wheeled out in a chair, her tears more likely for the prospect of having to give up on the dream of playing in the Olympics.

Jung Kyung Eun thus ended up with her second Macau Open title and she and Shin Seung Chan (pictured) took their second as a pair, again without finishing a final match.  They now have a week break before they head to California and Mexico for a pair of Grand Prix events to finish off the year.

The Koreans should join their compatriots Jang Ye Na / Lee So Hee in the top 8 in the Race to Rio standings but they will be keen to accumulate more points to weather the storm of Chinese pairs likely to sweep into the top echelon in the last few months of the qualification period.  More Korean and Japanese pairs are also still on their way up as the most wide open of Olympic qualification races continues to get interesting.

Final results
XD: Shin Baek Cheol / Chae Yoo Jung (KOR) [5] beat Choi Sol Gyu / Eom Hye Won (KOR)  21-18, 21-13
WS: P. V. Sindhu (IND) [5] beat Minatsu Mitani (JPN) [6]  21-9, 21-23, 21-14
MS: Jeon Hyeok Jin (KOR) [13] beat Tian Houwei (CHN) [2]  21-11, 13-21, 23-21
WD: Jung Kyung Eun / Shin Seung Chan (KOR) [6] beat Poon Lok Yan / Tse Ying Suet (HKG)  18-21, 15-15 [Retired]
MD: Ko Sung Hyun / Shin Baek Cheol (KOR) [2] beat Berry Angriawan / Rian Agung Saputro (INA)  22-20, 21-14

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 @