CHINA MASTERS 2013 Finals – Ko/Lee take parting title

Lee Yong Dae again sneaked a title away from China at the Adidas China Masters, while Liu Xin and Wang Zhengming had to work hard to ensure China would keep […]

Lee Yong Dae again sneaked a title away from China at the Adidas , while Liu Xin and Wang Zhengming had to work hard to ensure China would keep the other four.

By Kira Rin, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

The 2013 Adidas China Masters was a repeat of 2011 China Masters , as once again, it was Lee Yong Dae sneaking the solitary title away from China, this time with partner Ko Sung Hyun (pictured) by his side.  Lee and his partners remain the only non-Chinese athletes to win in the last five years of the China Masters.  While the other doubles players had little difficulty keeping the titles within the homeland, singles players Liu Xin and Wang Zhengming had to put forth harder efforts to gain their titles.

While China had the women’s doubles title in the bag, that did not stop the players from competing fiercely to determine who would leave with the fatter cut of the prizes.  Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang matched Ma Jin and Tang Jinhua shot for shot, sometimes returning the shots with interest.  There was simply no answer for opponents who would consistently return the shots low, sometimes with added speed.  Ma and Tang were only able to get the lead a couple of times, before Wang and Yu rocketed away with the match.

Men’s doubles – The last song

It would be a bittersweet victory for Ko Sung Hyun and Lee Yong Dae as they fended off Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa’s attacks to take their last title together.  They ended their partnership much as they began it back in the summer of 2011: with a major tournament title.

Unlike at their U.S. Open initiation, where they breezed through without even being pushed to extra points, Endo and Hayakawa did not let this Superseries title go without a fight.  An obstruction called on Hayakawa for his foot crossing under the net saw the Koreans make it game point first, but it took another 3 game points for them to take the opener.

Both sides were screaming after every point, showing their hunger for the title. Endo and Hayakawa were obviously keen on improving on their runner-up finish from last year, which the Koreans wanted to go out with a bang before they change partners next month.  The Japanese duo made some daring plays to come back and almost erase a 6-point deficit late in the second game; however the Koreans kept them in check, upping the pace for every tactic used on them.

For the last laugh together, Ko Sung Hyun accidentally pre-empted the Japanese on the podium, causing his partner to pull him back, whilst Kenichi had his own fun at Ko’s red faced embarrassment.

It is no use pumping a dry well

Perhaps exhausted from a tiring match with Li Xuerui the night before, Porntip found herself at the wrong end of a one-sided match in her women’s singles final against Liu Xin (pictured above).  Liu, back from a hiatus of almost a year, may have come straight over to the China Masters from losing the China National Games final on Tuesday but she had a much easier path to the final once she arrived in Changzhou.

Slow reactions and unforced errors cost Porntip the first game, but she mustered herself back to play her normal game and force mistakes from Liu Xin in the second.  Alas, the stamina cost of a third game was too great and she once found herself losing point after point as her reserves ran dry and Liu Xin climbed to the top of a Superseries podium for the first time.

Men’s singles – Of soft touches and a fistful of power

While Son Wan Ho and  Wang Zhengming (pictured) played softly in the men’s singles final, at a chance of attack, they would leap into it, jumping to take the smashes as high as possible.  Son Wan Ho was the first to step into the attacks, rapidly smashing his way to a one-game lead.

Wang Zhengming soon caught into the pace, and soon both were playing delicate netplay and rushing attacks.  Wang came back from behind to force a deciding game, upping the tension of the match.

Son took the lead, carefully managing his stamina and pace to last the game.  The loud home crowd, however, fired up Wang Zhengming to up his pace even further, cheering at every shot he hit down.  A heated Wang erased 2 match points, and while he was momentarily affected by a service fault called against him at the tiebreak, he put it behind him to bring home the title with a loud yell.

One more for the homeland!

China’s dominance continued on in the mixed discipline, as the pair of Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei (pictured) locked down Yoo Yeon Seong and Eom Hye Won.  Swift smashes and quick drives gave the Koreans few chances to even start an attack, the Singapore Open runners-up only able to peck away a few points through small openings and mistakes as the Olympic champions took it in two straight.

With all tournaments, one must never forget the organizers and volunteers who help run the tournament and keep the matches flowing smoothly.  In a little ceremony following the mixed doubles final, Li Yongbo took special care to personally extend his thanks to the referees Ronny De Vos, A.  A.  Pahlavan and their fellow technical officers for their help in running a successful China Masters tournament.

Final results
WD: Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang (CHN) [1] beat Ma Jin / Tang Jinhua (CHN) [2]  21-17, 21-16
MD: Ko Sung Hyun / Lee Yong Dae (KOR) [1] beat Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hayakawa (JPN) [2]  25-23 21-19
WS: Liu Xin (CHN) beat Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (THA)  21-4 13-21 21-12
MS: Wang Zhengming (CHN) [7] beat Son Wan Ho (KOR)  11-21 21-14 24-22
XD: Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [2] beat Yoo Yeon Seong / Eom Hye Won (KOR)  21-18 21-12

Click here for complete, detailed results

About Kira Rin