AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2016 Finals – Chen Qingchen into the record books

China’s Chen Qingchen became the youngest ever woman to win a Superseries doubles title when she and Bao Yixin upset Maheswari/Polii in two games. By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live […]

China’s Chen Qingchen became the youngest ever woman to win a doubles title when she and Bao Yixin upset Maheswari/Polii in two games.

By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in Sydney.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Sum of parts sufficient

Page 13 of the tournament magazine stated she’s scarily good and Chen Qingchen earned her spot in two finals and made the world #4 Indonesians Nitya Krishinda Maheswari / Greysia Polii (pictured below) appear below par.  Chen was helped by the Indonesians not asking searching questions of her partner Bao Yixin.

What’s understandable is Maheswari/Polii isolating Chen to evaluate her range and consistency.  What’s perplexing is why they didn’t test Bao Yixin, who wasn’t being forced into doing anything difficult.

Both sides opened with patient rallies and the Chinese pair displayed their favourite formation of Bao playing front mostly and Chen commanding the rear.  The difference was that the Chinese were willing to spend Chen’s energy early on.  The Indonesians were trying the same plan as what worked in their semi-final over Tang/Yu, which is to show their opponents we know everywhere you can possibly think of putting the shuttle but the ultra-assertive Chen chose to take no notice.

Bao’s two unforced errors late in the piece prolonged the Indonesians’ lifespan a little longer in game one.  The tall Chinese returned serve into the net and supplied the Indonesians a bit of breathing room to ascend to game point, which they couldn’t convert.  Later, in extra points, Bao smashed an easy sitting duck and wasted Chen’s delicate drop shot on their own game point.

Like others this week, the losing pair fell for Chen’s unexpected lunging backwards jump smash when they thought they’d played a safe enough push past the front protector.

Three quarters into the second game, the umpire pausing play to caution all four women (probably) for time wasting did the match rhythm a disservice because the Indonesians were mounting a comeback from three points in deficit at the critical juncture.

The Chinese gained three free points, when already in the lead, from an easy Polii unforced error right after the umpire’s caution, from Maheswari hitting her own sitter into the net, and then from Chen getting out of trouble when her desperate shot clipped the net tape and rolled over.

Chen struck the winning smash to win both games, using a flat rear-to-rear version when the opponents and spectators were expecting a body attack or a sharp one.

“I was purely interested in bringing out my own standard since I’ve never played them before,” remarked Chen after the match.

Her partner Bao quietly added, “Been a while since I’ve had a chance to climb the stairs of the podium.”

Chen Qingchen’s win makes her the first doubles player since Lee Yong Dae to win a Superseries title before turning 19.  Previously, the youngest female Superseries winner on record was none other than her partner, Bao Yixin (pictured), who was just a few weeks older than Chen is now when she won the 2011 Japan Open.

Eight squeaky shoes

Indonesia’s first chance to medal went astray but they were assured of men’s doubles so the question here was: would it be an exciting match between compatriots? Note: the 2013 all-Indonesian men’s doubles final was a mind-numbingly boring.

Banish the thought.  If you were sitting in the spectator stands you’d have heard Hong Kong and Indian aunties and uncles ooh-ing and ahh-ing at Kevin Sanjaya’s flashy counter-offences and Ricky Suwardi using height advantage and conviction at smashing as many consecutive shots as it took to hit the ground.

The general public watching were always one or two steps behind the speed and artistry but for the players on court, the pace was routine and they knew what they wanted to do.  The taller Indonesians had intermittent success with catching Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/ Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (pictured) before they planted feet back on the ground and regain balance while bounding about.  The tactic was sound but the execution came undone via Pratama’s backhand as the front player gifting easy points and his subsequent loss of confidence enlarged the deficit.

The entertainment value didn’t dissipate because Gideon/Sukamuljo’s shot production can’t help but dazzle but Pratama/Suwardi pushing some steam against such a fast pair only spelled doom.

‘Lu K’ has luck

At the beginning of the mixed final, Chen Qingchen showed will to win a second Superseries title in a matter of hours, this time ably aided by Zheng Siwei.  But once the first game was gone and the two teenagers found themselves behind at the second game interval, the ideas about how to do it had evaporated as well.

The more seasoned mixed pair of Huang Yaqiong / Lu Kai (pictured) have the advantage that none of their opponents’ defeated foes had: lots of practice against them.

Lu Kai drew on his peripheral vision a lot to be able to take advantage of the momentary mid-rally instances of the opponents standing in tandem and surprise them with a cross court drive.

Huang Yaqiong was expectant and willing to take on Zheng Siwei in trading closer and close net shots, which she came out on top of.

Final results
WD:  Bao Yixin / Chen Qingchen (CHN) beat Nitya Krishinda Maheswari / Greysia Polii (INA) [2]  23-21, 21-17
MD:  Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) [7] beat Angga Pratama / Ricky Karanda Suwardi (INA) [6]  21-14, 21-15
MS:  Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (DEN) beat Jeon Hyeok Jin (KOR)  21-16, 19-21, 21-11
XD:  Lu Kai / Huang Yaqiong (CHN) [8] beat Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN)  21-18, 21-14
WS:  Saina Nehwal (IND) [7] beat Sun Yu (CHN) 11-21, 21-14, 21-19

Click here for complete results





Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @