AUSTRALIAN OPEN R32 – Too hot to handle

Second wave men’s doubles proponents across the board noticeably possess greater knowledge and wisdom at an earlier age than before. They have a lot to thank their coaches for. By […]

Second wave men’s doubles proponents across the board noticeably possess greater knowledge and wisdom at an earlier age than before. They have a lot to thank their coaches for.

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

The problems of novelty

Sensationally, Sabar Karyaman Gutama / Frengky Wijaya Putra of Indonesia defeated the high profile Malaysian-Korean combination of former world #1s Tan Boon Heong / Yoo Yeon Seong, 21-19, 20-22, 21-18.

Within the opening three points, and well before Vita Marissa imparted further encouragement, there was already a sense that the Indonesians could make victory theirs.

The fitness of sixth seeded Tan/Yoo were exposed time and again in crucial long rallies when retrieving sudden drop-shots in the forecourt. Yoo Yeon Seong (pictured) framed more than a few defensive lifts while Tan’s signature relaxed high and deep defence ultimately hit long of the rear perimeter.

At the moment, Tan/Yoo are no more or less than the kind of novelty of watching interesting combinations à la the Indian Premier Badminton League. The partnership problems are less apparent or overlooked in that event because the majority of opponents are also scratch pairs.

We have yet to, but would love to, see the reinvention of Tan or Yoo to the extent of other former world #1 who changed partnerships and then added unexpected layers like Mohammad Ahsan and Fu Haifeng. The latter two not only turned into front court players but gifted ones.

Friendly fire

World ranked #433 Ou Xuanyi and Ren Xiangyu (pictured right) exacted a swift execution to the chances for their 4th-seeded compatriots He Jiting / Tan Qiang to claim their first men’s title.  Ou and Ren won it 21-16, 21-18.

Ou/Ren were too hot to handle from the get-go, especially with their timing on interceptions at the net. He Jiting never fully regained his composure, in spite of leading in the second game, because his opponents were constantly targeting his defences. He’s teammates were astute at catching him committed to his backhand stance and aimed shuttles at his right hip to catch him in a jam.

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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 @ badzine.net