MACAU OPEN Finals – Huang Yaqiong takes two

China’s Huang Yaqiong won the doubles double at the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold, including a convincing win with new partner Zheng Siwei. By Don Hearn.  Photos: Mak Chiu Wo […]

China’s Huang Yaqiong won the doubles double at the Gold, including a convincing win with new partner Zheng Siwei.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Mak Chiu Wo / Badmintonphoto (live from Macau)

The last time someone won a doubles double at a major international badminton tournament, Zheng Siwei was there.  That, of course, was the Finals in Dubai last December, when Chen Qingchen took both the mixed and women’s doubles tiltes.

Actually, the last time his partner of today, Huang Yaqiong, was involved in two finals, it was Zheng and Chen who nipped that in the bud by winning the Malaysia Open mixed title.  Today, though, Zheng and Huang were paired up for the first time and the mixed doubles title was theirs for the taking.

Standing in their way when the afternoon began at the Tap Seac Multisport Pavilion in Macau were Seo Seung Jae and Kim Ha Na.  The Koreans had won the only two finals they had contested – the Chinese Taipei and U.S. Open Grand Prix Golds – but this time, they were taking on a pairing of the reigning world #1 and #2 and the Chinese pair made sure this was known.

Zheng Siwei moved like lightning around the court and kept the Koreans guessing with some deceptive and perfectly placed backhands when he wasn’t hammering away with smashes.  Huang Yaqiong ruled the front court and kept the pressure on so the Koreans didn’t have the chance to get the attack back once they’d given it up.

Huang was back on court in the fourth match.  Her first game with regular partner Yu Xiaohan looked like a rout of reigning World Junior Champions Baek Ha Na and Lee Yu Rim.  Forced to respect Yu’s powerful smash, the 17-year-old Koreans were on several occasions caught off guard by some deft drops off the same backcourt specialist’s racquet.

In the second game, the Koreans had a lot more luck with the length of their clears and they used this to play a big court game that had their Chinese opponents moving and making mistakes they weren’t making in the opener.  The Koreans maintained a slight lead for most of the game but after some catch and release, they finally caught and passed the Koreans, putting together a 5-point run to match point and the title was soon theirs.

Huang 2, Seo 0

Huang’s doubles double was the first by any player in a major event in 2017.  Seo Seung Jae had his own chance at such a feat dashed when he lost the mixed final.  He was also unable to salvage one from the day as the afternoon ended with him and Kim Won Ho dropping the men’s doubles final in straight games.

Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pangkaryanira / Ade Yusuf Santoso were just overwhelming as they played an even better fast, flat game than they Koreans and executed more devastating attacks as well.  Kim and Seo could show none of the dominance they had managed over the top seeds in the semi-final.

First Grand Prix Gold golds for young and not-so-young alike

With all three of the youngest Koreans coming up short, the only teenager to title on Sunday was China’s Cai Yanyan in women’s singles.  Cai let Chinese Taipei veteran Pai Yu Po get the better of her in their second game but she got the lead early in the decider and didn’t let it go.  Cai is the youngest winner of a Grand Prix Gold title since Saena Kawakami won in New Zealand in early 2015.

In the men’s singles, Kento Momota won his fifth title in a row in his sixth final in a row but this one is his biggest so far since his return from suspension.  Momota ruled over Indonesia’s Ihsan Maulana Mustofa, winning in straight games to take the first Grand Prix Gold title of his career.  The victory should put Momota just inside the world’s top 50.

Most of the Macau finalists are now headed up to Fuzhou for next week’s Superseries Premier.  The three Indonesians are giving both the China and Hong Kong Opens a miss, as are Pai Yu Po and Kento Momota, while Cai Yanyan is playing China but not Hong Kong.  The women’s doubles runners-up will both be playing in China and Hong Kong but with brand new veteran partners.

Final results
XD:  Zheng Siwei / Huang Yaqiong (CHN) [5] beat Seo Seung Jae / Kim Ha Na (KOR) [6]  21-14, 21-11
WS:  Cai Yanyan (CHN) beat Pai Yu Po (TPE)  21-15, 17-21, 21-16
MS:  Kento Momota (JPN) beat Ihsan Maulana Mustofa (INA) [14]  21-16, 21-10
WD:  Huang Yaqiong / Yu Xiaohan (CHN) [8] beat Baek Ha Na / Lee Yu Rim (KOR)  21-10, 21-17
MD:  Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pangkaryanira / Ade Yusuf Santoso (INA) beat Kim Won Ho / Seo Seung Jae (KOR)  21-13, 21-14

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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