VIETNAM OPEN – Two Zhangs win first major titles

Zhang Yiman won her first major title at the Vietnam Open and Zhang Shuxian did too, but missed out on the doubles double. Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives) 19-year-old Zhang Shuxian took […]

Zhang Yiman won her first major title at the and Zhang Shuxian did too, but missed out on the doubles double.

Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

19-year-old Zhang Shuxian took her first major international title at the Vietnam Open on Sunday.  Taking over from Liu Xuanxuan, with whom Guo Xinwa (pictured top) won both the China Masters and the Asian Juniors last year, Zhang and Guo did one better than they had at the Canada Open earlier this summer.

The Chinese youngsters were facing Lee Jhe Huei / Hsu Ya Ching of Chinese Taipei for the third time this summer.   It was beating Lee/Hsu that had propelled the Chinese pair into the final in Calgary and just two days later, they met again and Lee and Hsu continued that success all the way to taking the U.S. Open title.

The Chinese Taipei pair looked to be in control halfway at what would eventually prove to be the mid-point of the match.  With a one-game lead and 12-6 up in the second, they looked to be cruising toward the second title in their young partnership.  But Guo and Zhang turned it around with an 8-1 run and held their nerve on their second game point to even things up.  From there, the deciding game belonged to the younger duo and ended in a 21-8 rout.

In the women’s doubles final, Zhang had another chance but she and Huang Jia were not able to pull it off.  Opposite them were Indonesian veterans Della Destiara Haris / Rizki Amelia Pradipta (pictured right).  This pair got their own first major title at the very same tournament back in 2017.

The two 19-year-olds played a solid match but in the end, it was Haris and Pradipta who took it in straight games.  Haris and Pradipta have already played 18 and 17 tournaments respectively in 2019 with, respectively, 3 and 2 partners.  Theirs is still the second-highest Indonesian pair on the world rankings and they will relish the minor boost this victory will give them in the standings.

2 of 3 Zhang titles

Immediately after Zhang Shuxian left with her first winner’s cheque, her compatriot Zhang Yiman (pictured) came on to make her own mark.  Zhang announced her arrival on the international scene back in late 2016, when she beat Saina Nehwal to reach the semis of the Macau Open.  She duplicated that feat the following year and then in 2018 she reached her first major final at the New Zealand Open Super 300.

At the Vietnam Open, Zhang made no mistake this time.  It was her third major final and this time she made it count, beating Japan’s Asuka Takahashi in straight games.

Second of the year for Verma

In the men’s singles, Sourabh Verma (pictured) of India taking on 2016 World Junior Champion Sun Feixiang.  Verma was already the only Indian shuttler to win a major men’s singles title in 2019.

The 26-year-old let Sun get the better of him in the second game but he regained control in the third to add the Vietnam Open to the title he had won in Hyderabad in August.

In the men’s doubles, Korea’s national team finally completed its spread of major titles to take in all 5 discplines in 2019.  The Korean team had taken 5 women’s singles titles, 6 in women’s doubles, 2 in mixed, and even one in men’s singles, at the beginning of the year, courtesy of Son Wan Ho before his major injury.

However, the only men’s doubles titles won by any Korean shuttlers were those claimed by independent pair Ko Sung Hyun / Shin Baek Cheol.  Finally, on Saturday, that drought would come to an end.

Na Sung Seung and Wang Chan, 20 and 19 respectively, had already played in two Super 100 finals this year.  Seo Seung Jae had been runner-up twice in Super 300 events this year, including with Choi Sol Gyu (pictured) last week in Taipei.  Once both pairs had prevailed in their semi-finals, it was clear that a national team men’s doubles pair would soon lay claim to a Super 100 title in the 2019 season.

Choi and Seo let their younger team-mates get the better of them in the opening game but they stepped up the pressure and reduced their error rate to maintain control in the next two and win the title.

Choi/Seo are the only finalists from Vietnam who are slated to play in the China Open.  Lee and Hsu are expected to play separately, in level doubles, but their mixed partnership is still 2nd on the reserve list so they will compete only if their are at least two withdrawals in Changzhou on Monday night.  All four players are now just halfway through a 4-week string of tournaments, with the Koreans also bound for a major domestic event the week following the Korea Open.

Final results
XD:  Guo Xinwa / Zhang Shuxian (CHN) beat Lee Jhe Huei / Hsu Ya Ching (TPE) [6]  18-21, 22-20, 21-8
WS:  Zhang Yiman (CHN) [5] beat Asuka Takahashi (JPN)  21-18, 21-11
MS:  Sourabh Verma (IND) [2] beat Sun Feixiang (CHN)  21-12, 17-21, 21-14
WD:  Della Destiara Haris / Rizki Amelia Pradipta (INA) [1] beat Huang Jia / Zhang Shuxian (CHN)  21-18, 21-17
MD:  Choi Sol Gyu / Seo Seung Jae (KOR) [3] beat Na Sung Seung / Wang Chan (KOR) 18-21, 21-16, 21-14

Click here for complete results

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