U.S. GRAND PRIX 2014 Finals – Four take 1st Grand Prix titles

A quartet of new Grand Prix champions, along with world no. 12 Zhang Beiwen took home titles at the first running of the U.S. Grand Prix. By Brandon Redekop.  Photos: […]

A quartet of new champions, along with world no. 12 Zhang Beiwen took home titles at the first running of the U.S. .

By Brandon Redekop.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

It was a successful tournament for mixed doubles third seeds Peter Kaesbauer / Isabel Herttrich (pictured) of Germany. The pair improved on their semi-final appearance three weeks ago at the Scottish Open, and runner-up placing last week in Ireland, to fittingly capture a title, with this one in particular being their first Grand Prix crown.

After a small stumble when they fell behind 3-8 in the second game, Kaesbauer and Herttrich recovered to take 12 of the next 13 points, and eventually the match, from Howard Shu and Eva Lee of the United States.

American Zhang Beiwen (pictured) took her fifth title of the year with authority. In the later stages of both games she stepped on the gas while already leading 13-9 and 15-13 to finish off Canadian Rachel Honderich with a 21-11, 21-13 score-line. Playing in her new homeland has been good to Zhang who has been steadily climbing the world rankings thanks in part to her largest ranking points claim, the U.S. Grand Prix Gold win in July.

Czech Republic’s Petr Koukal tried his best to complete the tough task of defeating the top two seeds on consecutive days, but Hsu Jen Hao of Chinese Taipei was a little too much to handle as he swiped the first game 21-19, lost the second, only to run away with the decider and claim first on the podium. This was Hsu’s best result of the year and could help make up for his loss in the New Zealand Grand Prix final to young compatriot Wang Tzu Wei in April.

For two of Hsu’s other compatriots, the barely month-old women’s doubles partnership of Hsieh Pei Chen / Wu Ti Jung, their best result has come in this, their fourth tournament together. They tore through the draw in impressive fashion, never losing a game on their way to the title. Their final against home favourites Eva Lee / Paula Lynn Obanana was smooth sailing after they broke free from 12-all in the first to open an 18-13 lead.  They never looked back and took the match in straight-games.

The last match of the day was the men’s doubles final, where Poland’s Adam Cwalina and Przemyslaw Wacha (pictured) used their wealth of experience to dismantle Yoshinori Takeuchi and Taiki Shimada of Japan. The result was never in doubt as they led most of the first game, and all of the second. The only troubling moments came in their quarter-final against the reigning World Junior Champions from Thailand, Puavaranukroh Dechapol / Ketlen Kittinupong, where they prevailed in three games.

For Cwalina/Wacha, who have partnered each other since after the London Olympics where Cwalina’s former partner Michal Logosz was seriously injured, it was their first Grand Prix title together.  Adam Cwalina had been to the top of a Grand Prix podium with Logosz but surprisingly, this was a first for Wacha, even though he made a few semi-finals appearances in Superseries events when he was a singles player.

Final results
XD: Peter Kaesbauer / Isabel Herttrich (GER) [3] beat Howard Shu / Eva Lee (USA)  21-12, 21-14
WS: Zhang Beiwen (USA) [1] beat Rachel Honderich (CAN)  21-11, 21-13
MS: Hsu Jen Hao (TPE) [1] beat Petr Koukal (CZE) [8]  21-19, 19-21, 21-8
WD: Hsieh Pei Chen / Wu Ti Jung (TPE) beat Eva Lee / Paula Lynn Obanana (USA) [1]  21-16, 21-10
MD: Adam Cwalina / Przemyslaw Wacha (POL) [1] beat Taiki Shimada / Yoshinori Takeuchi (JPN)  21-13, 21-6

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