SWISS OPEN 2016 Finals – Denmark’s 3rd take their 1st

Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen took their first major title, beating former world #3 Lee/Tsai, while Chinese youngsters enjoyed some firsts of their own at the Swiss Open. Story […]

Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen took their first major title, beating former world #3 Lee/Tsai, while Chinese youngsters enjoyed some firsts of their own at the .

Story and photos by F. Dionisi and Marie Richard, Badzine Correspondents live in Basel & Don Hearn.

Finals day at the 2016 Swiss Open Gold had a very auspicious start.  Internecine finals are not always the biggest draws but Sunday in Basel began with a marathon as Shizuka Matsuo / Mami Naito (photo) and Naoko Fukuman / Kurumi Yonao repeated a 102-minute showdown just over a week after playing for exactly the same duration at the All England.

This time, it was Matsuo and Naito who prevailed.  Not only was it their first win over these compatriots in international play, but it netted them their first Grand Prix Gold title since 2011.

In the men’s doubles, an even longer wait was ended.  The favourites were former Macau Open champions Lee Sheng Mu and Tsai Chia Hsin but the former world #3 pair had not won a tournament since that time in Macau in 2012, which was actually their second tournament together.

Denmark’s Kim Astrup / Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (pictured top), meanwhile, had won nothing higher than an International Challenge prior to last week, although they had been in Grand Prix and Grand Prix Gold finals on occasion.  Finally, the pair had their day, however, as they took care of their opponents from Chinese Taipei in straight games.

Almost another birthday girl title

The 2016 Swiss Open was not a first for China’s He Bingjiao (photo).  She won her first Grand Prix title at 16 and added a couple of Grand Prix Golds last year.  However, this week marked the first time that she had gotten the better of a world top ten player in international competition and she did so twice, beating Ratchanok Intanon in the quarter-finals and then two-time Wang Yihan to win the title.

The fact that He turns 19 on Monday means that it was very nearly a repeat of last week, when Nozomi Okuhara won her first title in Europe on her birthday.

China’s other title on Sunday in Basel had to be the first ever as Wang Yilyu and Chen Qingchen (pictured below) were playing together for the first time.  The two young talents – 21 and 18 respectively – had won numerous major titles in other partnerships but they also made sure that this one would show some potential as they fought back from a game down to defeat Thailand’s Bodin Issara / Savitree Amitrapai.

It was also the first final in any Grand Prix event for Issara/Amitrapai but their first final in any tournament together was also in Switzerland, at last autumn’s Swiss International Challenge.  Although they were again unable to take the title, their runner-up performance will put them in 17th spot in the Race to Rio rankings after this week, which will make them the 13th Rio qualifier, with the last non-continental spot.

Prannoy ends the shorter title drought

After his recent quarter-final at All England, Marc Zwiebler reached the final here in Basel.  At the end of an uncertain first game, which he lost 18-21, he seemed to be suffereing from an injury and he was unable to find a way to overcome it or India’s H. S. Prannoy in the second either.

“The overall tournament was okay, but the last few weeks have been very hard with the German open and the All England,” said Marc Zwiebler after his match.  “I guess everyone in the final is a bit tired.  I also have a small injury.  I hope it’s nothing too bad. I felt unsure several times on my knee, so I’ve got to see the doctor.”

Opposite him on court in Basel, H. S. Prannoy was not about to let slip the opportunity to win his first Grand Prix Gold tournament since he won in Indonesia in the autumn of 2014. The second game looked complicated for the German, and he lost 15-21 against the Indian which ended this tournament but not his project for this year: “My next tournaments will be India, Malaysia, Singapore, and then the European Championships and then I will have one week of holiday, so my next goal is my holidays,” Zwiebler added with a laugh.

H. S. Prannoy (pictured here on the podium with Marc Zwiebler) will get a boost of over 4000 points from his Swiss Open performance and that will move him from 6th to 4th among Indian shuttlers in the Race to Rio standings.  However, he is still 7000 points out of the top 16 and India is still waiting for a second shuttler to join that exclusive group in men’s singles to make the cut for Rio.

Final results
WD: Shizuka Matsuo / Mami Naito (JPN) [5] beat Naoko Fukuman / Kurumi Yonao (JPN) [3]  21-16, 12-21, 21-12
MS: H. S. Prannoy (IND) [13] beat Marc Zwiebler (GER) [7]  21-18, 21-15
WS: He Bingjiao (CHN) beat Wang Yihan (CHN) [3]  21-16, 21-10
XD: Wang Yilyu / Chen Qingchen (CHN) beat Bodin Issara / Savitree Amitrapai (THA)  19-21, 21-16, 21-15
MD: Kim Astrup / Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (DEN) beat Lee Sheng Mu / Tsai Chia Hsin [4]  21-8, 21-15

Click here for complete results

Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.