CHINESE TAIPEI OPEN 2007 – 3 Golds for Indonesia, Europeans Settle for Silver

After Tine Rasmussen’s amazing run in Japan last week, Denmark was hoping to find more success in Taipei with the absence of the Chinese team. However, it was Indonesia that […]

ImageAfter Tine Rasmussen’s amazing run in Japan last week, Denmark was hoping to find more success in Taipei with the absence of the Chinese team. However, it was Indonesia that made the most of the opportunity, taking 3 golds and two silvers. Both of the singles silver-medallists from Kuala Lumpur won gold today and World No. 4 Cheng Wen-hsing and Chien Yu Chin re-captured the women’s doubles title they had won twice before.

By Don Hearn; Photos: Badmintonphoto.com (Archives)

The day started off well for Indonesia. Vita Marissa and Flandy Limpele (pictured), took their first game against Rytter Juhl / Laybourn of Denmark 21-18. After failing to convert their first match point at 20-19, they benefitted from a couple of errors by the Danes and avoided having to play a third game. On the third match point, Laybourn sent the shuttle out at the back to give the Indonesians the 25-23 victory they needed.

Next up it was another European competitor looking for her first win in over a year as Pi Hongyan of France, who last won in June last year, fought back from one game down and pushed Asian Games gold-medallist Wang Chen of Hong Kong to extra points before finally dropping the third game 24-26.

"She can be proud of herself. She played a terrific match today. It’s a shame that she got off to such a bad start in the third but overall, she did really well," said Pi’s coach, Fabrice Vallet.

With Sony Dwi Kuncoro up aginst Taufik Hidayat in the men’s singles, Indonesia was, of course, assured of the gold. Sony, however, was hoping to break an even longer dry spell than that suffered by Pi and the Danes. Sony’s last tournament win was the Asian Badminton Championships in 2005. As it turned out, Wang Chen had set a precedent of World Championships runners-up winning in Taipei and Sony managed to follow suit.

The first game started out fairly evenly but Taufik managed to pull ahead to 18-12. He had to weather a late challenge from Sony but still gained the game advantage with a 21-18 win. Sony was relentless in the second game and quickly took it 21-6 to force a third. In the third, Sony was gradually increasing his lead until he managed to put together a 5-point run, capped off by a thrilling rally in which he scrambled and stretched before finally smashing down Taufik’s forehand line to make it 19-11. Sony soon finished it 21-13 on his first match point.

ImageOnly One Victory for Vita as Cheng/Chien Take Third Title in Four Years

If the Europeans were hapless against the Asian sides on this finals day, it took the true home team to stop the Indonesian juggernaut. Cheng Wen Hsing and Chien Yu Chin (pictured) gave the crowd something to cheer about when they took on the China Super Series champions Marissa/Natsir. In fact, the last time the Chinese Taipei pair won a tournament, in the Philippines in July, they’d beaten the Indonesians in the quarter-finals and shattered whatever illusions invincibility the new pair might have had after winning their first tournament together. This time, it would prove to be more of a challenge.

From a 14-all tie in the first game, Cheng/Chien staged a 7-1 run to end it at 21-15. The Indonesians came roaring back in the second game and took a staggering 18-9 lead. Complacency set in, however, and the local favourites bounced back, buoyed by a boisterous crowd, and came ever so close to evening the score but still trailed 17-18. The Indonesians finally rediscovered the fire and Vita Marissa pulled off a resounding one-two smash combination to start off the string of 3 points the visitors needed to put away the second game.

The final game was a roller-coaster ride for the fans. Natsir/Marissa looked dangerously close to running away with the match again when they took a 13-9 lead but Cheng/Chien reeled them in and leapfrogged ahead to 14-13. The Indonesians last held the lead at 17-16 before the Taiwan pair took it back for good and won the game 21-18, and their third title 2-1.

Last up was a showdown between current and former World Champions. Rasmussen/Paaske had scored some impressive victories in recent weeks but Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan were just unstoppable. Between their punishing smashes and Hendra’s deft touch at and near the net, the Danes were always struggling to keep up. They did manage to stay close until a 14-all tie in the first game but it was a bad sign when Hendra Setiawan received a smash looking like he had all day to think about the return, which he placed with laser accuracy just over the net on Paaske’s backhand side. This gave the Indonesians their first game point and they took their one-game lead with the second.

The last game of the day was a devastating rout for the new World Champions. They never looked back after jumping out to an early 9-2 lead. Rasmussen ended up clowning around a bit between points as he and Paaske desperately tried to stop the Indonesian onslaught. When the dust cleared, Kido/Setiawan had won 21-12 and Denmark had allowed Indonesia to take the last of its three titles of the day.

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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