INDIA OPEN 2013 Finals – Intanon becomes youngest ever Superseries winner

Thailand’s teen prodigy Ratchanok Intanon clinched the women’s singles title at the $200,000 India Open Superseries at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium, New Delhi.  Intanon wrapped up a comprehensive straight-game […]

Thailand’s teen prodigy Ratchanok Intanon clinched the women’s singles title at the $200,000 at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium, New Delhi.  Intanon wrapped up a comprehensive straight-game victory over Juliane Schenk of Germany in 44 minutes.

By Altania Cut Wigri, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

Just this past autumn, the badminton world saw, for the first time, a Superseries title won by a a ranking junior player, when Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei won the Japan Open just 3 months and 3 days after her 18th birthday and one month before her last, unsuccessful bid for a World Junior title.  On Sunday, though, 3-time World Junior Champion Ratchanok Intanon (pictured) was just 13 days younger when she clinched the India Open title to become the youngest ever Superseries winner.

Intanon’s opponent, German Juliane Schenk (pictured) was dominating in the early stages of the first game, leading 11-7 at the break.  But after the break, Schenk took injury time out to heal a small cut on her hand after which she suddenly lost rhythm and kept hitting the shuttle out. Intanon, on the other hand, came back strongly, winning eight straight points to lead 15-11 and finally made it 20-13.

The first game seemed all but over for Schenk before she showed a remarkable recovery to save seven game points and level it at 20-all.  But Intanon won the next two straight points to seal the deal at 22-20.  The second game was leveled till 9-all but then perfectly executed smashes and wonderful net play kept Intanon ahead of her rival all the way.  She eventually was wrapping it off 21-14 total on the scoreboard.

It was Intanon’s sixth consecutive victory Schenk.  Intanon now leads the head-to-head 6-3.  The eighteen-year-old’s first Superseries title came in the lucky place for this youngster as her last international title won also the Syed Modi International India Grand Prix Gold in 2011.

Three-peat for Indonesia’s best

Top Indonesian mixed doubles duo Tontowi Ahmad / Lilyana Natsir (pictured) also felt that India is their happy hunting ground as they successfully made their India Open hat-trick dream come true.  Ahmad/Natsir got a straightforward victory against the 2013 Badminton Asia Champion from Korea Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na in straight-games.  It was their third consecutive India Superseries title since 2011.  In addition to the India Open, Ahmad/Natsir previously also scored a hat-trick in the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold (2010-2012).

Ahmad/Natsir dominated the beginning of the first game and they eventually took an 18-11 lead.  The Koreans tried to provide resistance and captured four consecutive points, changed the score line to 19-15 and after Ahmad/Natsir reached first game point opportunity at 20-15, Ko/Kim had grabbed a point to reduce the lag to 16-20.  However, Indonesian pair successfully closed the first game by a score of 21-16.

The second game was level until 7-all, but the Indonesians kept their pace with strong smashes, opened up a big lead, and finally managed to wrap up the match with 21-13 in the second game.

Lee back on top

Before the men’s singles final, on paper, the record favoured the Malaysian top seed and crowd favourite Lee Chong Wei, who had beaten his Japanese opponent in all their previous 12 meetings.  In fact, Lee needed an hour and three minutes to complete a 21-15, 18-21, 21-17 victory over sixth-seeded Kenichi Tago (pictured).  Lee had earlier won the title in 2011 and was a runner up in 2012.  This win made him the first player to win the singles title (men’s or women’s) in India more than once.

Moreover, victory should help him consolidate his top position and after some disappointment in England and Australia, he ended up with a singles title to dedicate in his first tournament since the birth of his son Kingston.

Meanwhile, in the women’s doubles final, former World Championship bronze medallists Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna also regained the title they last won in 2011; however, unlike for Lee Chong Wei, India was the Japanese ladies’ last victory in a Superseries event.  The Japanese combo upset Danish second seeds Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl 12-21, 23-21, 21-18 in little less than an hour, for their third successive triumph in six meetings.

Third second place for Ko

By the time the last match commenced, three of four finals had been won by a finalist from last month’s All England.  Unfortunately for Ko Sung Hyun, the pattern would continue and he would be handed his third India Open runner-up finish in the past year.

The men’s doubles final was between Ko and Lee Yong Dae, seeded third, and eighth seeded Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan (pictured) of China.  Liu/Qiu had met Ko/Lee three times previously.  Liu/Qiu lost twice to the Koreans – at the Canada Open 2011 and France Open 2012 – but they managed to get their sweet revenge at the German Open 2013.  And now, Liu/Qiu have levelled the head to head record at 2-2.

Liu/Qiu showed their aggression in the final contest, most of the time in the lead, at 20-18 game point, they missed two opportunities, but the next shot decisively scored two points game and won the first game.  In the second game, Liu/Qiu played impeccably, leading at 17-13, but the Korean didn’t give up easily and chased back to 17-all.  The impressive young Chinese shuttlers showed their brilliance on the court and held on to defeat Ko/Lee 22-20, 21-18 to win the men’s doubles crown.

Final results
XD: Tontowi Ahmad / Lilyana Natsir [1] beat Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (KOR)  21-16, 21-13
WD: Miyuki Maeda / Satoko Suetsuna (JPN) [4] beat Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl (DEN) [2]  12-21, 23-21, 21-18
WS: Ratchanok Intanon (THA) [3] beat Juliane Schenk (GER) [2]  22-20, 21-14
MS: Lee Chong Wei (MAS) [1] beat Kenichi Tago (JPN) [6]  21-15, 18-21, 21-17
MD: Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan (CHN) [8] beat Ko Sung Hyun / Lee Yong Dae (KOR) [3]  22-20, 21-18

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