MACAU OPEN 2013 Finals – Hoon/Tan finally get theirs

Hoon Thien How and Tan Wee Kiong capped off a season of promising upsets with their first title together at the Kumpoo Macau Open Grand Prix Gold. By Angga Maulana […]

Hoon Thien How and Tan Wee Kiong capped off a season of promising upsets with their first title together at the Kumpoo Gold.

By Angga Maulana Akbar, Badzine Contributor.   Photos: Badmintonphoto and Don Hearn (archives)

It had been a long time coming.  9 years ago, Hoon Thien How stepped into the spotlight by beating Lee Yong Dae to win the World Junior Championship with Tan Boon Heong.  While both Lee and Tan went on to All England titles and Asian and Olympic Games gold, though, Hoon has struggled with his various partners.  Despite getting to the semi-finals of Superseries events as far back as 2008, major titles have eluded this veteran shuttler…until now.

In Macau this weekend, the men’s doubles final featured Hoon Thien How with another Tan – Tan Wee Kiong (pictured) – playing against Lee Sheng Mu / Tsai Chia Hsin.  While last year may have been the first title for Lee and Tsai’s new partnership, this year was a far bigger milestone for the Malaysians as it was their first in their two years playing together.

The Malaysians’ win, of course, continued on from some great performances at recent tournaments. They were semi-finalists at the French Open Superseries and then finalists at the China Open Superseries Premier but now they have finally grabbed a title – their first (and also possibly the last) this year.

Chinese teenager gets one out of four

For the second time this year, 19-year-old Huang Yaqiong (pictured) had two chances to take a Grand Prix Gold title.  However, unlike at the U.S. Open, where she was twice denied, she began the afternoon in Macau in a winning fashion, taking the mixed doubles from two-time Asian Junior Champions Choi Sol Kyu / Chae Yoo Jung in three games.

The mixed doubles final was interesting as it featured two pairs of youngsters – Lu Kai being the oldest, at age 20 – who will now be reaching for  the top at the senior level. Lu and Huang survived a twisted three-game match, the longest of the day, which they took in 62 minutes. The Chinese lost the first game 17-21; however, they got the better of the Korean aces in the next two games to grab the title.

Huang Yaqiong and Yu Xiaohan, who won their first senior international title in Canada last summer, were not able to take the women’s doubles in Macau, thus failing to grab another title for Huang. It was instead Bao Yixin / Tang Jinhua who stole it as they continued their amazing path extending their unbeaten streak to five tournaments. Bao/Tang defeated Huang/Yu in 48 minutes.

Welcome back, Son

Coming back from military service, Son Wan Ho (pictured) has tried to get back his badminton pride. After taking the Chinese Taipei Open title this year, he has now bagged another Grand Prix Gold in Macau. He won against Chinese Taipei’s Hsueh Hsuan Yi in straight games to extend his head-to-head record against Hsueh to 4-0.

In addition to the glory and the prize money for winning, this victory will be advantage for Son to rise up again to the higher ranking that will obviate crawling through qualification rounds as he resumes his Superseries exploits in 2014.

No first, but two seconds

Meanwhile, 22-year-old Michelle Li of Canada failed to become the first North American to win a Grand Prix Gold singles title. She was thwarted by India’s 18-year-old P. V. Sindhu (pictured), the top seed. However, Li marked a great path in this tournament that is sure to give her greater confidence at other tournaments.

It was a second for both Sindhu and Macau, however, as it was Sindhu’s second Grand Prix Gold title of the year – as she also won the Malaysian event in the spring – and this is the second year in a row that the Macau Open women’s singles title has gone to an under-19 shuttler.

Final results
XD: Lu Kai / Huang Yaqiong (CHN) beat Choi Sol Kyu / Chae Yoo Jung (KOR)  17-21, 21-18, 21-17
WS: P. V. Sindhu (IND) [1] beat Michelle Li (CAN) [7]  21-15, 21-12
MS: Son Wan Ho (KOR) beat Hsueh Hsuan Yi (TPE)  21-11, 21-15
WD: Bao Yixin / Tang Jinhua (CHN) [4] beat Huang Yaqiong / Yu Xiaohan (CHN)  21-17, 21-15
MD: Hoon Thien How / Tan Wee Kiong (MAS) [2] beat Lee Sheng Mu / Tsai Chia Hsin (TPE) [1]  21-16, 21-19

Click here for complete, detailed results

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