FRENCH OPEN 2013 Finals – Merci, Jan!

Paris’s new star Jan O Jorgensen cleverly conquered his second Superseries event, beating Japan’s Kenichi Tago, while Wang Shixian, with more of the beautiful shots she’d displayed all week, grabbed […]

Paris’s new star Jan O Jorgensen cleverly conquered his second event, beating Japan’s Kenichi Tago, while Wang Shixian, with more of the beautiful shots she’d displayed all week, grabbed the Yonex women’s singles title.

By Tarek Hafi & Thomas Piauley, Badzine Correspondents live in Paris.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

It was all a very tactical game played by both Jan O Jorgensen (photo) and Kenichi Tago. Both players were playing cautiously and waiting for errors to be committed. A smart game like this implies long rallies and Tago kept pushing the Dane to the rear of the court, waiting for the attack, while Jorgensen was replying with well controlled drop shots.

The first game was a technical delight for the crowd, with majestic slices from Kenichi Tago.  However, it was not sufficient for the Japanese ace to claim the first game. There was a short-lived moment of joy for Tago, who thought he had climbed back level when, at 19-20, a smash called in by the line-judge was immediately overruled by the umpire, giving the first game to Jan O Jorgensen 21-19.

Denmark’s top player was definitely not willing to let it go as he directly put the pressure on Kenichi Tago in the second game, before switching back to his cautious mode, playing his Japanese adversary’s game, waiting for the latter to commit the error first.  The Dane erased two game points, and the drama started at 20-20.

A mind battle ensued that was almost impossible for the crowd to stand, but before long, it had ended with a shuttle way out from Kenichi Tago giving Jorgensen the 23-21 win and crucifying Tago’s dream of holding the Parisian trophy as his first Superseries success.  Tago, incidentally, has a lock on the Mr. Runner-up title, as he has now been to six Superseries finals and is still waiting to convert.

Winning here is quite a shock for me,” confessed the delighted Dane after his match.  “After I missed the final at the China Masters, I said to myself I must be in a final before the end of the year and here I am.  I won.  It’s such a strange feeling to be on the highest step.

Immediately upon winning his match point, Jan O Jorgensen treated the public to some dance steps on the court.  Now he will begin his preparations for his Asian tour in November.

Wang is back!

Wang Shixian (photo) probably had a lot on her mind before coming to play her European tour.  China’s women’s singles hegemony has been highly contested for several months, and the world #7 probably came with the aim of re-establishing their supremacy, especially after some of her compatriots pulled out of the tournament, including top seed Li Xuerui, who skipped the Paris meet because of skin allergies.

Wang Shixian played the perfect tournament, leaving no game to any of her opponents, sweeping away Ratchanok Intanon and Bae Yeon Ju on her road to the final.

She played out the same scenario in her final match against Porntip Buranaprasertsuk from Thailand, despite the latter showing great consistency and drive. The excellent defensive game and net play by the Thai ace were not sufficient to overcome the talented Chinese.

After losing the first game 18-21, the Thai player was hoping to take it to a rubber game, but a smash in the net gave her opponent a first match point, which was quickly converted into a well-deserved win. A long shout from Wang Shixian punctuated the hunger she displayed since her arrival in Paris, and she claimed the title with a 21-18, 21-18 win.

A one-way match was offered by the Chinese ladies in the women’s doubles final, which eventually saw Bao Yixin and Tang Jinhua (photo) come out as the 2013 edition winners. The youngsters didn’t have to put much effort to overcome their Olympic champion training partners, as straight games and forty-five minutes were all that were necessary to lay hold of the Superseries trophy and the beautiful bouquet made of shuttles.

One more for Zhang and Zhao, a premier for Kido and Fernaldi

Besides the women’s doubles, the finals match-up at the French Open included another all-Chinese contest, in the mixed doubles, of course.  It was a match-up as familiar as it was prestigious indeed, with world #1 Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei facing their world #3 training partners Xu Chen and Ma Jin.

The match rapidly caught the crowd’s attention, displaying impressive play. The most notable player on court was decidedly Xu Chen, who showed a very aerial style, hitting hard and making brutal offensive plays.

Despite his and Ma Jin’s efforts to push Zhao Yunlei to the back of the court and disorganize their opponents, the Olympic champions took the opener after a thrilling 28-26 game. The second game didn’t disappoint either as the athletes displayed great combinations and an impression of fluidity that entertained the crowd.

The fancied couple Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei scored an eleventh victory in a row against their compatriots, while also bagging their fourth straight Superseries title.

Finally, the last match of the day at the Coubertin hall also brought its share of nervous rallies, with Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong facing Indonesia’s Markis Kido and Gideon Markus Fernaldi. As usual, the Malaysians displayed their very defensive game, trying to take the advantage at the net to make use of Koo Kien Keat’s frontcourt abilities.

But that wasn’t enough as Markis and Gideon Markus, who were playing just their fifth international tournament together, posted a few impressive series of hard hits, shouting louder every time.  In the end, it was the Indonesians who succeeded in handing Koo and Tan a second runner-up finish at the French Open to their list of lost finals.

We’re very happy, because we started from the qualification round,” Fernaldi told Badzine after the pairs had received their prizes.  “I was a bit nervous because it was my first time in the final of a Superseries.

With Markis Kido looking like he’s back to his Olympian form again, many are no doubt looking forward to this pair’s next performances!

Final results
WD: Bao Yixin / Tang Jinhua (CHN) beat Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [5] 21-13, 21-17
MS: Jan O Jorgensen (DEN) [4] beat Kenichi Tago (JPN) [3]  21-19, 23-21
WS: Wang Shixian (CHN) [7] beat Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (THA)  21-18, 21-18
XD: Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [1] beat Xu Chen / Ma Jin (CHN) [2]  28-26, 21-17
MD: Gideon Markus Fernaldi / Markis Kido (INA) beat Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong (MAS) [4]  21-16, 21-18

Click here for complete, detailed results

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