FRENCH OPEN 2010 – A day of firsts!

All good things must come to an end.  The last and final day of the Yonex French Open Super Series had a day of firsts: three first-time Super Series winners […]

All good things must come to an end.  The last and final day of the Yonex Super Series had a day of firsts: three first-time Super Series winners – including third time lucky for Taufik Hidayat (pictured) – a new number one, and it was even the first time that the men’s doubles event was scheduled first.

By Gregory Chan, Badzine Correspondent live in Paris.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live)

Men’s doubles

It was an all-European duel in the men’s doubles event between top-seeds Matthias Boe & Carsten Mogensen (pictured below) and the German duo Johannes Schöttler & Ingo Kindervater.  The Germans have had a fairytale run in the French Open this year, and the first few rallies of the first game indicated that the fairytale might just continue on.  The crowd was entertained earlier on with many flat, rapid exchanges between both pairs, both eager to attack at every given opportunity.  But the experience of Boe & Mogensen saw them eventually race through the match 21-15, 21-9 to take their second successive Super Series title after their triumph in Odense last week.  Both men fell to their knees after match point, probably also realizing the fact that this win has just made them the new world number one in the rankings, a first-time achievement for both men.

Women’s singles

Top seed Wang Yihan (pictured below) was to play against Li Xuerui for the third time this year.  Both previous encounters had gone to rubber games, and one couldn’t help but expect another three-game contest.  Playing with a strapping around her waist, Wang Yihan showed her superior athleticism, returning everything that Li Xuerui threw at her, and this perhaps frustrated her younger opponent, forcing her into making uncharacteristic errors.  Two games was all Yihan needed this time to secure her second successive Super Series title and thus successfully defending the title she won last year.

Men’s singles

Next up on court was heavy crowd favourite Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, who was seeking to finally land that a Super Series title, an honour which, surprisingly, had so far eluded him.  Standing at the opposite side of the net was the eighth-seeded Dane Joachim Persson.  Joachim has chalked up fantastic wins throughout the week, most notably in the semi-finals where he upset number one seed Peter Gade.  But having to play three tough three-game matches to get to this stage, one must wonder if the physical toil might have an effect on him.  Taufik, on the other hand, never lost a game getting to the final.

The early part of the first game was evenly matched, with Joachim trying to avoid engaging in long rallies with Taufik by playing very tight spinning net shots, forcing his opponent to sometimes lift to mid-court.  But after the first mid-game interval, the ever-steady Taufik managed to breakthrough and took the first game 21-16 after wrong footing his opponent on game point.  It was evident in the second game that Joachim was beginning to struggle physically.  The Dane fought hard to stay in the match with Taufik, but try as he might, Taufik would not be denied his first Super Series title as he romped to victory after slightly more than thirty minutes of play.  Taufik expressed his delight at the prize ceremony for finally nailing the French Open title this year, after finishing as a runner-up both in 2008 and 2009.

Women’s doubles

Next out on court were the four ladies contesting the women’s doubles final: Top seeds Petya Nedelcheva  & Anastasia Russkikh versus third seeds Duanganong Aroonkesorn / Kunchala Voravichitchaikul (pictured below).  Having played in both singles and doubles event, this was to be Petya’s 12th successive match in two weeks and the heavy schedule probably took its toll on the Bulgarian as both she and Anastasia had to concede a walkover to their Thai opponents at the interval in the second game, thus handing Duanganong Aroonkesorn her first ever Super Series title and the first in women’s doubles for Kunchala.

Mixed doubles

Another surprise package in the finals today were German seventh-seeds Michael Fuchs / Birgit Overzier, who were up against Thailand’s fourth seeds Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungthongkam.  It was the first meeting between these two pairs.  The Thais got off to a better start, leading all the way in the first game with Sudket leaping high into the air to unleash his hard smashes and trademark drop shots.  The first game went to the Thais 21-15.  Things were pretty much the same in the second with the Thais channeling most of their attacks on Birgit.  Although the Germans fought hard to stay in the match they couldn’t stop the Thais and surrendered the second game and match with the same scoreline.

So we bid au revoir to the 10th leg of the Super Series and to the circuit’s European component for this year.  Any earlier expectations of disappointing action because of top players’ absences from the French Open were proven to be unfounded, as everyone in the hall was treated to a week-long display of exciting and wonderful badminton.  See you next year.

For complete results from the 2010 Yonex French Open Super Series, CLICK HERE

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