CANADA OPEN Finals 2015 – 2 Lees, 2 Lis & a Liu all victorious!

Michelle Li is a Grand Prix winner at home for the second consecutive year, winning the 2015 Yonex Canada Open women’s singles title in an exciting photo finish. By Don […]

Michelle Li is a winner at home for the second consecutive year, winning the 2015 Yonex women’s singles title in an exciting photo finish.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Canada’s Michelle Li (pictured above) was not only the only shuttler with genuine home crowd support on finals day at the 2015 Yonex Canada Open Grand Prix in Calgary.  She was also the only defending champion left in the competition.

The Canadian took control in her opening game against Japan’s Kaori Imabeppu (pictured right, with Li), leading most of the way before finishing with a 3-point run.  She had a shaky start to the second, however, losing three of her first four points on misjudgements on the back line, and the result was that she spent almost the entire game playing catch-up.

The match looked to be headed for a third game when Imabeppu reached the 20-18 mark but Li put the pressure on, only to see her opponent expertly defend against two net kill attempts and keep the rally going.  This forced Li to score the hard way, by sending precise smashes to the sidelines.  She did this to save the first game point and then a few more times, finishing with the decisive attack down Imabeppu’s forehand sideline to win it on her first match point opportunity.

From consecutive years to consecutive weeks

The afternoon wound up with the expected win by Lee Chong Wei.  He beat Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long (pictured) in straight games, leaving the youngster with silver for the second year in a row.  It wasn’t quite as exciting a finish for the men’s singles final but in the final rally, Lee Chong Wei followed up a very nonchalant-looking backhand clear with a concerted dive defense and he finally forced the error from Ng to clinch the title.

It was the second victory in as many weeks for Lee Chong Wei.  The U.S. Open title moved him 81 spots up in the world rankings to return him to the top 100.  This one could put him as high up as #65.  Next month’s Chinese Taipei Open will be Lee’s last chance to add enough points to get back in range to qualify for the two September Superseries events, the entry deadlines for which fall just before the BWF World Championships in August.

Also winning for the second week in a row were China’s Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, who took their third title of the year.  They beat the new pairing of Huang Kaixiang and Wang Sijie (pictured bottom) in the only match of the day to stretch to three games.

This was actually the fourth time Huang had been beaten in a major final by Li and Liu.  The pattern started with the Asian and World Junior Championships in 2013 and continued to the 2014 India Grand Prix Gold, all three with Huang partnering Zheng Siwei.

Lee and Chau are back

Ng Ka Long’s former men’s doubles partner Lee Chun Hei continues to find more success in mixed doubles.  After he and Chau Hoi Wah (pictured) were upset in the U.S. Open final last week, they got back to the form that saw them win their first Superseries title late last month.

Lee and Chau finished the shortest final of the day, beating Indonesia’s Vita Marissa and Andrei Adistia.  Last week’s U.S. Open performance put them back in the top ten and the title in Canada should move them up closer to their career-high of 6th.

First major abroad for Indians

Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa (pictured) have been a force to be reckoned with for several years now.  They have reached the semi-finals of the World Championships and played for the Commonwealth Games gold medal twice.  However, interestingly, this weekend’s Canada Open was only their second international final abroad and their first international title outside of India.

The only winners on the day with no one named Li or Lee, the Indians put down top seeds Eefje Muskens / Selena Piek of the Netherlands in straight games.  The Indians will be taking a break in the run-up to the World Championships in Jakarta, as they withdrew from the Chinese Taipei Open the day before the event got underway in Canada.

Final results
WD: Jwala Gutta / Ashwini Ponnappa (IND) [3] beat Eefje Muskens / Selena Piek (NED) [1]  21-19, 21-16
MD: Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen (CHN) [5] beat Huang Kaixiang / Wang Sijie (CHN)  17-21, 21-12, 21-18
XD: Lee Chun Hei / Chau Hoi Wah (HKG) [2] beat Andrei Adistia / Vita Marissa (INA) 21-16, 21-18
WS: Michelle Li (CAN) [3] beat Kaori Imabeppu (JPN)  21-17, 25-23
MS: Lee Chong Wei (MAS) [14] beat Ng Ka Long (HKG) [7]  21-17, 21-13

Click here for complete results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @