Just like in the Olympics, China came home with a clean sweep from the Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Open Superseries. Five gold medals scooped by 4 Olympic champions while Chen Long took Lin Dan’s spot as the fifth winner. Lee Chong Wei and the pair of Koo/Tan were just not good enough on Sunday.
By Xavier Lee and Thibault Bluy, Badzine correspondents live in Hong Kong. Photos : Badmintonphoto (live)
There was a lot of expectation from the men’s singles final – one of the only two involving two different nations – and two great shutters: Chen Long and Lee Chong Wei. The public expressed its great pleasure at each of Lee Chong Wei’s defensive dives. On court, Chen progressively took the control of the net, and the lead, after his adversary missed some abnormal shots.
“I have no excuse,” the world #1 answered after the match when asked whether his wedding last week could have affected his preparation.
After losing the first 19-21, Lee Chong Wei entered the second with a refreshed motivation. He moved faster, but still committed many mistakes he is not given to making. He offered an honourable resistance, but Chen Long (photo) managed to take him out of speed and eventually took the second game 21-17 on a final kill shot at the net.
“I still have a lot to learn from experienced players like Lin Dan or Lee Chong Wei,” Chen Long commented with humility after his victory.
The women’s singles final was the stage for disappointment unfortunately as spectators were denied a real competition, Li Xuerui taking the honours in a day of absolute dominion by Team China. Apart from this all-Chinese meeting being cut short by the retirement of Wang Yihan through injury, it was a repeat result of the London 2012 Olympic Final.
From the outset of the first game Wang struggled with her usually fluid movement on court. The points were tight until 6-6, after which Li led the entire game, using her best qualities of speedy footwork and winning smashes to eliminate the top seed Wang. The final was over in just 23 minutes as Li (photo) took the first game 21-12, then Wang retired at 3-11 down in the second.
Li finished her Hong Kong campaign with little stress, conceding no more than 14 points in any single game against any opponent.
“I feel very lucky to win the title as this is the second match where an opponent retired against me,” she said after the final.
Having pushed herself to beat seasoned pro Juliane Schenk in her semi-final, Wang Yihan appeared to hold back to prevent further injury.
“It was not the biggest tournament and so I felt it was not worth the risk of damaging myself with a long term injury. I will consult the doctor on the Chinese team and go from there,” Wang said.
Zhang and Zhao, ni hao
In stark contrast, the mixed doubles final produced one of the highlights of the day. Both finalists were also Chinese, as Xu Chen and Ma Jin also lost out to their Olympic final rivals Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei (photo on podium). Both pairs took turns outwitting each other for most of the first game, the scores staying close until Zhang and Zhao began to pull away at 15-15 to convert the set 21-17.
Xu Chen, known for his athleticism and power from the back of the court, was contained by Zhang and Zhao. The winning pair were able to take the edge off their opponents’ attack in a superb demonstration of winning by outmanoeuvring and placement of the shuttle. The second game was also taken 21-17, and concluded the second win of the day for Zhao Yunlei.
“I’m not especially tired after these two matches but happy with the win,” said Zhao.
Yu and Wang, not this time around
There was no observation round in the women’s doubles final today. From the early beginning, Tian/Zhao and Wang/Yu were fighting hard one another, with very fast shots in every rally. The whole first game was really thrilling, the two pairs competing neck and neck. They were never separated by more than three points, until Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei (photo) reached 22, their opponents staying at 20.
The world #1 players then committed many more mistakes, and there was some occasional confusion between them. On the other side, their challengers started to be more precise and moved faster. Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang levelled the match 21-14.
In the last game, points became longer and a mind game engaged. Winning smashes or drop shots multiplied, and also more errors occurred because of an obvious fatigue. The logic was eventually respected, as #1 seeds got the best of #2 seeds and won 21-17.
“We were tired, as we have not trained a lot after the Olympics. We are progressively recovering our shape,” Yu said in something sounding like a warning for her opponents. Wang and Yu are the third Chinese women’s doubles pair but there is still a possibility they could be sent to the Superseries Finals next month in Shenzhen, in place of another pair.
Cai and Fu, contain « coup »
For the last match of the tournament, all the spectators stayed in their seats until the last minute for the rewarding spectacle offered by the quick men’s double players Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong on one side, Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng (photo) on the other. With many exclamations, the unpredictable Koo managed to pull his partner up and make the Malaysian pair rapidly lead 10-4. The public enjoyed the Malaysians’ success, but also appreciated when their Chinese challengers recovered and even breezed by them to take the first game 21-16.
They played a cat and mouse game all along the second game, but the Chinese seemed to control. Every time they accelerated, their adversaries made a lot of mistakes or simply succumbed to Fu’s overpowering smashes. After the match point at 21-17, Cai Yun simply let all his joy explode, hurling his racket high in the air and his shirt into the stands. Even with his impressive record of victories, for him every win always seems to be the first.
No related posts.