MALAYSIA OPEN 2012 Finals – Chong Wei’s 8th, Denmark’s first

Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl received an unexpected present as a pair, as they triumphed over world #3 – and the tournament’s 2nd seeds – Ha Jung Eun / […]

Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl received an unexpected present as a pair, as they triumphed over world #3 – and the tournament’s 2nd seeds – Ha Jung Eun / Kim Min Jung in straight sets. Good news for Malaysian fans, as home ground hero Lee Chong Wei signed in at the tournament’s hall of fame for the eighth time by defending the men’s singles title. Meanwhile, Fang / Lee were presented their long awaited title.

By Ooi Ee Lyn and Lee Suet Yan, live in Kuala Lumpur. Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

In the absence of Chinese top duos Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang and Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei, the Danish pair of Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl laughed till the end in the . Not only had they knocked out the Japanese 1st women’s doubles Mizuki Fujii / Reika Kakiiwa in the quarterfinals, they had also destroyed Korea’s 1st women’s doubles pair Ha / Kim in two tough games of 21-19, 21-18, today.

Pedersen and Juhl threw their rackets, shoes, wrist bands and towels to the crowd again, like they did after their victory on Saturday. Their coach also joined the celebration by giving away his pair of shoes, which then ended in the hands of a lucky media staff who caught them thrown by a spectator who decided to leave it as he only managed to catch one shoe instead of the pair. The Danes are the most generous players in the Malaysia Open this year.

I am so happy it’s difficult to not have a big smile on my face. It’s unbelievable that we just won a Superseries tournament together. It’s great.’ said Juhl.  Pedersen then added, “We lost to them in the semi-finals of the Superseries Final last year. It was a tight match, but unfortunately we lost it in two sets. Today, we were so much ready to put up a good fight. We hoped we’d first take a set then win the second.”

Juhl explained on their game plan today, “We watched a lot of their videos and we were well prepared. Our coach is really good to see what to do and we also tried our best to keep on doing. Our legs didn’t move when we were closer to win our first Superseries title in the second game because we were so nervous. Our coach shouted, ‘Move, move, move! Use the legs to move!’  But I couldn’t even feel my legs when the scores were getting closer in the second game.

Pedersen then responded to their formation, “At home, we don’t practice women’s doubles much. We practice more in the mixed doubles with Joachim and Thomas every day. I think because we practice every day, we are ready for some big smashes and fast games. We know each other very well so we know how to play together.” With that, Juhl agreed by saying that the mixed doubles’ practices has done good for them to be better prepared in the women’s doubles.

8th home title for Chong Wei

Local audience were known for their explosive cheer and die-heart support towards Malaysian players. With their never-ending thundering applause and hurrahs with every point earned by the local favourite, Kenichi Tago was not only forced to face his opponent, but also the full-house – almost – crowd behind him. However, at the post-match press conference, Tago revealed, “I watched the game between Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long last night, so I had expected this situation. Today, I took it as if they were all cheering for me.

Nonetheless, it was he who got the real cheers who won the meeting today. Lee Chong Wei easily scooped his 8th home title by defeating Kenichi Tago in straight games of 21-6, 21-13. Lee hinted that he wouldn’t be retiring right after the London Olympic Games as he said, “I hope to win again next year and make it the ninth time I win this title at home before I retire.”

The 29-year-old Malaysian has now equalled Wong Peng Soon’s record of eight home Open titles (Wong was a badminton player in Malaysia active in the 1950s. In 1950, he became the first Asian to win the All England Championships, and won again, in succession twice, and once more in 1955).

Cho / Shin so near yet so far

After not smelling the scent of a Superseries gold medal for about one year and a half, Chinese Taipei’s Fang Chieh Min / Lee Sheng Mu received their long awaited Superseries title by demolishing the newly formed Korean pair Cho Gun Woo / Shin Baek Cheol. The final match between the pairs was a fabulous three-game encounter, with Fang / Lee losing the first game 16-21, only to bounce back and win the next two in 21-16, 21-16.

We’ve never thought of winning before the match. We tell each other, we just try our best no matter win or lose. With this win, our confidence will boost again,” said Fang. Lee added, “We were too nervous in the first game, but we tried to be more patient in the second and third game. Overall, I am satisfied with our performance in this Malaysia Open.” The humble guys claimed to still be among the second level of international players, as they think it’d still be hard for them to steal a victory from the current top five in men’s doubles.

Wang Yihan’s walk out of the shadow

Stadium Putra Bukit Jalil, a place where Wang Yihan ever dropped her tears due to her loss as the first singles in the Uber Cup final in 2010. She then became one of the main factors of China’s failure to regain the trophy, thus creating a history for them – and the Korean Uber team. Wang suffered a downturn for about half a year after the loss. Last year, she played at the same venue and the same court again, in the final of the Malaysia Open 2011, but she had lost to her teammate Wang Shixian. She was just one step away from extricating herself from the shadow.

This year, she is in the finals of Malaysia Open again. She got herself a perfect 24th birthday gift – three days early – as she won a victory over her teammate Wang Xin in straight games, on the very court she had failed – and hurt so bad – two years ago.

I am very happy to win the title this year because I was the runner-up last year. Both of us could not play at our best level because the wind was very strong.” said Yihan after the match. She also summarised her loss at the Uber Cup Final 2010 in Malaysia by saying, “Since the defeat at the Uber Cup, I have used approximately half a year to adjust myself to the best. In these six months, I tried to recognise my weaknesses. Every day, I was trying to cheer myself to walk out from the shadow soon. Moreover, I tell myself, despite losing on this court two years ago, I will try my best to overcome it today.’ She then added with a smile, “Perhaps, I will feel more comfortable if I think it this way.

On the other hand, in the mixed doubles final, it was an all-China affair, with Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei claiming an easy win over their teammates Xu Chen/Ma Jin in 21-12, 21-9.

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