HONG KONG OPEN 2010 Finals – Fortune smiles, Saina smiles back

China managed only one title at the Hong Kong Open this year as India’s Saina Nehwal denied Wang Shixian a second Canton crown and Zhang/Zhao settled for second in their […]

China managed only one title at the this year as India’s Saina Nehwal denied Wang Shixian a second Canton crown and Zhang/Zhao settled for second in their third straight final.

By Kevin Kung, Badzine Correspondent live in Hong Kong.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Saina – the second Indian to win a title in Hong Kong

To be exact, it had been 28 years since Prakash Padukone won the first – and, until today, the only – title for India in Hong Kong.  Prakash won the men’s singles at the maiden Hong Kong Open way back in 1982.  Today, Saina Nehwal (pictured left) survived a three-game thriller that took 71 minutes to complete.

The local crowd gave bigger support to Wang Shixian (pictured below) but they were also surprised to see Saina’s powerful smash. Wang’s mental condition was affected when Saina had a three-point lead at the end of last game. She kept letting out a frustrated “Hiya” whenever Saina scored.

“Wang Shixian won in the Asian Games and has been in good form recently. I lost to her in Paris Worlds in August and I predicted that it was a 50% chance I could win the match,” said Saina.

“This is my 4th Hong Kong Open and my best result is quarter-final in 2008.  I lost to Wang Chen that year. Many expected that I could win the Asian Games but I failed. So I told myself I need to do better in other tournaments. I will celebrate with my father today. This is his first time to come with me to this city and we will do some shopping tonight.”

Saina also told Badzine she may skip the upcoming Super Series Finals in Chinese Taipei to gain enough rest.  So far, she is slated to play the India Grand Prix in Hyderabad this coming week, which would give her but a single week’s rest before Taipei.

Chong Wei remains silent

Winning over Taufik Hidayat in the final 21-19, 21-9, Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei (pictured left with Taufik) became the 4th player in history to defend a men’s singles title at the Hong Kong Open.  It was also the third time in the past two years that the two friends had met in a Super Series final, with Lee taking all three of those contests.

Despite having a good match today, Chong Wei still refused to enter the mixed zone to comment on his play. He went to the players’ lounge with his coach directly after the ceremony to have a massage. The two finalists – Taufik and Chong Wei later obliged fans by signing their rackets, shirts and bags. Some fans waited for over an hour but they were still delighted to see their idols.

Deuce for twice

Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen (pictured right) followed up their win over Xu/Yu on Saturday by beating another Chinese pair Zhao Yunlei / Zhang Nan in the final by an even narrower margin, winning the third game 22-20. Zhao/Zhang won silver in the Guangzhou Asian Games and the China Open and the move south did nothing to improve their luck.

The Korean pair Ko Sung Hyun / Yoo Yeon Seong avenged their compatriots Jung/Lee’s pair of recent losses to Olympic and Asian Games champions Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan.  Ko/Yoo needed 3 match points but finally took the decider 23-21 to finish on top of the Super Series table for the year (see related article HERE).

What do you get today?

After each final and prize presentation, some winners always send their “gifts” into the spectators’ stands.  Saina Nehwal swung her “winning racket” and the gentleman who was able to grab it was also allowed to enter the backstage area to get it signed and had his picture taken with the smiling champion. And women’s doubles champion Yu Yang (pictured left with partner Wang Xiaoli) also gave away her “big cheque” to her supporter – singer Sally Yeh, who was sitting in the VVIP seats.

Goodbye to Queen Elizabeth

Fans and players now bid goodbye to Queen Elizabeth Stadium as next year’s Hong Kong Super Series will be held at a much bigger venue – the Hong Kong Coliseum. Though players may be happier with a less drawn-out schedule, many will miss the days in the more compact, intimate venue.

Hong Kong Open final results

WD: Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang (CHN) bt Cheng Wen Hsing / Chien Yu Chin (TPE) 21-11, 21-12
WS: Saina Nehwal (IND) bt Wang Shixian (CHN) 15-21, 21-16, 21-17
MS: Lee Chong Wei (MAS) bt Taufik Hidayat (INA) 21-19, 21-9
XD: Joachim Fischer-Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen (DEN) bt Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) 22-20, 14-21, 22-20
MD: Ko Sung Hyun / Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR) bt Markis Kido / Hendra Setiawan (INA) 21-19, 14-21, 23-21

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