Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth took two titles Sunday at the 2012 Yonex-Sunrise Vietnam Open while two more went to Thailand and the fifth was Nguyen Tien Minh’s fourth at his home event.
By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)
Three years ago, Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth of Indonesia reached two finals on the same day at the Hanoi International Challenge. This past weekend, she returned to Vietnam to surpass that feat, taking not one but two Grand Prix titles.
Her mixed doubles title is particularly intriguing as it marked a rare Grand Prix success for a pairing of siblings as she partnered brother Markis Kido, the 2008 Olympic men’s doubles gold medallist, to beat out Malaysia’s Tan/Lai for the win.
Kido has had his successes in mixed doubles scratch pairings in the last few years and, of course, Pia herself was in the world’s top ten as recently as last summer with a different mixed partner. However, the pair had had limited success in five outings this year, although they did scalp a top ten pair in the Indonesia Open Superseries Premier. This time, their highest-ranked opponents were Olympic alternates Chrisnanta/Neo of Singapore, whom the siblings dispatched in the first round.
Successful with a sibling, successful against siblings
Pia, who is also an accomplished singles player, let her versatility show as far as the women’s doubles discipline in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday. Having already shut down former world no. 1 Chien Yu Chin in the semi-finals, Pia and partner Rizki Amelia Pradipta saw off the other sibling partnership in action on finals day in Vietnam, beating Malaysia’s Ng sisters in two straight games.
Thais take two, too
The Thai team also heads back to the west with two titles. For both Thai winners it was their first appearance in a final since India and a first title since their respective inaugural Superseries triumphs there.
First it was Porntip Buranaprasertsuk. Barely nudged out of the top 16 and thus the Olympics on account of her dismal showing at this year’s India Open, another Yonex-Sunrise event, Porntip came into the Vietnam Open as the top seed and she had a convincing win over Indonesia’s Lindaweni Fanetri in the final.
Porntip’s main test actually came in the semi-finals when she needed three games to get past her doubles partner Busanan Ongbumrungpan, who was also the winner of this year’s Malaysia Grand Prix Gold.
Next up it was the winners of this year’s India Open in men’s doubles. The young sensations Bodin Issara / Maneepong Jongjit, who had risen to the occasion to top their group at the London Olympics, won in three games over Indonesia’s #8 pairing of Yohanes Rendy Sugiarto / Afiat Yuris Wirawan.
The Indonesians reached the final on the back of their second win over top-seeded Kim Ki Jung / Kim Sa Rang of Korea, the most recent additions to the world’s top 20.
Title #4 for the home favourite
As expected, Nguyen Tien Minh continued to be the sole flag-bearer for Vietnam at his home event. His – and Vietnam’s – first title came in 2008 and now, with his fourth trip to the top of the podium, he remains the only Vietnamese shuttler even close to titling.
Nguyen’s victory came at the expense of Takuma Ueda but the 23-year-old Japanese shuttler can still take pride in his recent success as he has reached two Grand Prix finals in as many months and as of this week, his ranking should move well beyond his career-high of 33rd in the world.
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