HYDERABAD OPEN – 2 teens title, 4 have to settle

India got one title at the 2019 Hyderabad Open Super 100 today courtesy of Sourabh Verma, but Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy lost to veteran Jung Kyung Eun and 18-year-old […]

India got one title at the 2019 Hyderabad Open today courtesy of Sourabh Verma, but Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy lost to veteran Jung Kyung Eun and 18-year-old Baek Ha Na.

Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

5 nations split the titles on Sunday at the Hyderabad Open Super 100.  All teams but Malaysia had chances at multiple titles but were still held to one.  Several teenagers figured prominently on finals day but only those with older partners managed to claim victory.

In the opening match, 21-year-old Bagas Maulana played the role of elder statesman as he and 19-year-old partner Muhammad Shohibul Fikri (pictured top) took on a pair of teenagers from Korea, Na Sung Seung and Wang Chan.  Wang Chan is not to be confused with the similarly named Wang Chang of China, who actually beat Na and this Wang in the 2017 and 2018 Asian and World Championships respectively.  The two Korean teens are out of juniors now and are playing together both on the national team and on the same pro team, but this was their first senior international final.

The Indonesians were just too strong on the attack on Sunday, though.  The Koreans tried to rely on their largely strong defense but just had a few too many occasions where they had to lift and Fikri and Maulana made the most of their smashing opportunities.

Fikri’s former partner from his junior days was another Maulana and he too featured in Sunday’s finals in Hyderabad.  Adnan Maulana was coming off a title at the Russian Open Super 100 with partner Mychelle Crhystine Bandaso and they got the upper hand early against Hoo Pang Ron and Cheah Yee See (pictured above).

But the Malaysians came out firing in the second game, with Hoo making sure of his smashes and Cheah taking control of the net.  The Malaysians turned the match around and dominated the decider to deny Indonesia a second title on the day.

That brought up the youngest finalist of the day.  Korea’s is becoming accustomed to that distinction, as she was playing in her fourth final of the year.  But her opponent Yeo Jia Min (pictured left) of Singapore has been there and done that too, so to speak.  She too won her first major title at age 17 and she has 3 years of learning on top of that to draw on.

The match took a while to get going.  At 14-11 in the first game, the hall went completely dark and play had to be suspended until the technical difficulties were dealt with.  When the lights came back on, An romped to an easy win in the opener and left Yeo to play catch up.

The 20-year-old top seed raced out to a commanding 6-0 lead in the second game and didn’t flinch when An threatened to erase the lead altogether by rhyming off 5 straight points from 12-19 down.  Yeo closed out the second game and refused to be left behind in the decider.  It was really the tale of the match when An placed her last shuttle into the net to give Yeo the third game win 21-19.

The crowd seemed to be growing through the afternoon and by the time Sourabh Verma (pictured right) took to the court for the men’s singles final, there was a critical mass to give the Indian players some much-needed support in the last two finals.  Thailand Masters winner Loh Kean Yew had won a nail-biter of a semi-final a day earlier but he hadn’t spent that long on court.  The Singapore shuttler looked strong, winning the first game and taking a 10-4 lead in the second, but Verma reeled in his opponent and ran away with both games after the interval.

After Indonesia and Singapore had failed, India was determined to follow up one title with a second as top-seeded Ashwini Ponnappa / Sikki Reddy got ready to contest the last final of the day.  Opposite them was the new pairing of 18-year-old Baek Ha Na and veteran Jung Kyung Eun (pictured below) of Korea.

Since the Koreans did their last partner swap last month, the two newest pairings have been in 3 finals and 2 semi-finals between them but the Indian ladies had no intention of being pushovers on home court.  Still, with all previous partners, India’s two best women’s doubles players have accounted for only one previous win over either of these Korean shuttlers.

Ashwini and Sikki showed great variety in their attacking play and caught the Koreans off guard repeatedly with their defense.  But the Koreans stayed more consistent in both games.  Baek used her power to great effect and Jung’s turned defensive blocks frustrated the home favourites’ attempts to finish off the rallies late in the match.  Baek and Jung took Korea’s only title of the day with a pair of 21-17 games.

The players now go off in different directions, with the Indians now gearing up for the World Championships, along with the two singles players from Singapore.  Korea’s two runners-up in Hyderabad are slated to play the Akita Masters next week, as are the mixed doubles winners from Malaysia.  Verma, the Korean winners, and the two Indonesian pairs will be getting some rest or back to training.

Final results
MD:  Muhammad Shohibul Fikri / Bagas Maulana (INA) beat Na Sung Seung / Wang Chan (KOR)  21-18, 21-18
XD:  Hoo Pang Ron / Cheah Yee See (MAS) beat Adnan Maulana / Mychelle Crhystine Bandaso (INA)  16-21, 21-16, 21-11
WS:  Yeo Jia Min (SIN) [1] beat An Se Young (KOR) [2]  12-21, 21-17, 21-19
MS:  Sourabh Verma (IND) [7] beat Loh Kean Yew (SIN)  21-13, 14-21, 21-16
WD:  Baek Ha Na / Jung Kyung Eun (KOR) beat Ashwini Ponnappa / Sikki Reddy (IND) [1]  21-17, 21-17

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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