INDIA OPEN 2014 SF – Ha Na not enough for Kim

Korea’s Kim Ha Na could be dancing around to Spandau Ballet’s other signature song on Sunday. Badzine correspondent Aaron Wong explains why. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live) Mixed Doubles: Tense versus Untense […]

Korea’s Kim Ha Na could be dancing around to Spandau Ballet’s other signature song on Sunday. Badzine correspondent Aaron Wong explains why.

Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Mixed Doubles: Tense versus Untense

Badminton’s Kim Ha Na of Korea, having won the women’s doubles trophy at this tournament a few years ago, found her given name, a homonym in her native language for “one”, not quite enough and preferred instead to earn spots in finals in both of her events.

But it was her partner, Ko Sung Hyun, who was arguably the major force in their mixed doubles straight games victory over the World Champions Liliyana Natsir / Tontowi Ahmad, 22-20, 21-18. His beaming presence from start to finish along with lightness of predisposition in the way he encouraged his side gave spectators the feeling that the goal he’d set for himself was simply to ensure many shuttles flying back across the net.

The Indonesians did not play poorly but clearly were adding pressure upon themselves to thread the needle on shots at the business end of both games. Natsir’s loose straight backhand dropshot landed back on her side of the net to hand over the first game. And, at the crucial moment behind 16-18, in the second game, Ahmad undercooked a return to the net on Kim’s rear cross court drop shot when it needn’t have been done so finely since no opponent was guarding inside the service line, thus opening up a comfortable lead for their already untense adversaries to finish proceedings.

Women’s Doubles: Two versus One

Kim reappeared in the spotlight later with Jung Kyung Eun (pictured), in women’s doubles, to sweep aside the top-seeded Danes Kamilla Rytter-Juhl / Christinna Pedersen in her second straight games victory on Saturday, 21-18, 21-18.

The Danes were the outwardly more aggressive duo and earned comfortable early leads in both games which the Koreans were able to rein in as a result of three factors. Rytter-Juhl’s defence was being singled out as on various occasions she was found hogging the centre line hence leaving a wide tramlines gap or standing too deep in court or over-committing her backhand defensive stance that she was vulnerable to body smashes.

Secondly, Rytter-Juhl was for a period in the middle of the first game not playing consistently to her strengths as a power player or tall athlete instead choosing push shots from mid-court which required crouching and were easily punished.

As in the mixed doubles earlier, the Koreans were opening up their opponent’s court during long rallies with a few astute and unexpected deep shots from time to time. It was a clever and stealthy ploy which forced short lifts, and gave over the attack to their side which they responded to with big smashes that belied their slight figures or unpredictable changes of pace whenever Kim controlled the forecourt.

The lesson for the Danes is that there is a fine line between being proactive and over-zealous in badminton, and Rytter-Juhl was guilty of the latter in the semi-final which became her undoing. Christinna Pedersen was still left with a chance in the mixed doubles after she and Joachim Fischer Nielsen (pictured) beat the Olympic champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei.

As for Kim, whose surname means gold, she could fulfill the potential of her full name by being the only player in this tournament to walk away with multiple trophies on Sunday. She’s in with a chance and Spandau Ballet, not heard since being played to death during the London Olympics, would be an apt soundtrack to celebrate to — given its titular double emphasis in the chorus.

Finals line-up
WD: Jung Kyung Eun / Kim Ha Na (KOR) vs. Tang Yuanting / Yu Yang (CHN)
MD: Mathias Boe Carsten Mogensen (DEN) [2] vs. Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan (CHN) [3]
WS: Li Xuerui (CHN) [1] vs. Wang Shixian (CHN) [2]
XD: Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen (DEN) [3] vs. Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (KOR) [4]
MS: Lee Chong Wei (MAS) [1] vs. Chen Long (CHN) [2]

Click here for complete semi-final results

Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @