DENMARK OPEN Finals – Korea sweeps doubles

Korean pairs swept the doubles titles for the first time ever at a Superseries event, as Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na led things off at the 2015 Denmark […]

Korean pairs swept the doubles titles for the first time ever at a event, as Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na led things off at the 2015 .

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Although Korea has been one of the world’s main badminton doubles powers for three decades, the team’s accomplishment at this year’s Denmark Open still stands out as extraordinary.  Not only was it the first title for one pair and a first Superseries Premier win for another, but it also marked the first time in Superseries history that the Korean team had taken all three doubles titles.

Korea may still be considered a perennial power in mixed doubles but the record shows that only one pair has managed to top a Superseries podium since the great Lee Hyo Jung retired five years ago.  Considering the eventual fate of the women’s doubles final, Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na (pictured) had the most uphill battle to a title in Odense on Sunday.  Still, if any pair were to contribute a mixed doubles title to a Superseries doubles sweep for Korea, then it is logical that it would be these two players.

The Koreans trailed throughout the first game but surged ahead to be the first to reach game point.  Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir soon finished it off for themselves, though, and then they jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second.

The Koreans wasted no time in getting back into the match.  Kim Ha Na got right back to the quality net play she was showing in the semi-finals and Ko Sung Hyun showed his usual phenomenal court coverage.  The Koreans stayed ahead for almost the entire second game and then they ran away with the third, winning by an incredible 21-9.

The women’s doubles started out involving even greater odds.  As in mixed, before this week, only one women’s doubles Superseries title had gone Korea’s way since Lee Hyo Jung retired.  Coincidentally, that solitary success back in 2012 also went to Denmark Open finalist Jung Kyung Eun.

But Jung Kyung Eun and new partner Shin Seung Chan have very little tournament experience together and they had been playing since the qualifying round on Tuesday.  In the end, all such points were moot as Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei (pictured bottom) backed out of the women’s doubles final in Denmark citing injury and the Koreans went straight to the top of the podium without passing ‘Go’.

The victory barely puts Jung and Shin within striking distance for a spot in the Dubai Superseries Finals.  Even Tian and Zhao are still in the game, only 14,000 points behind the current #8 team in the Superseries rankings.  However, the Koreans have three pairs with a shot at joining Chae/Kim in Dubai, whereas Tian and Zhao are China’s last hope to become a second pair headed for the UAE.

Another 3 in a row for Lee/Yoo!

The men’s doubles finally featured a favoured Korean pair.  Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong (pictured above) had already disposed of the pair who had beaten them in the 2014 final and they were ready to take back the title they won in 2013 together and separately in the previous two years.

The Koreans were simply awesome and for Lu Kai and Liu Cheng at least, there opened up a big gap between the world #2 and #4 – whom they had beaten earlier in the week – and the world #1 pair.  The Chinese did look ready to bounce back from the devastating first game, opening the second with a 4-point lead, but a 10-point run by the top seeds sealed the fate of the match and they went on to win the quickest match of the day.

The win marked a third straight Superseries title for the world #1, a feat they also accomplished last year, when they actually did it in 3 consecutive weeks as well.

Two title defenses for China

China swept all five titles in 2014 and although they were far from doing that again, both singles champions from last year got right back to the top of the podium.  For Chen Long is was dominance business as usual but it was a very important accomplishment for his compatriot Li Xuerui (pictured above).

In fact, the last two finals of the evening almost carried right on from the pattern established in the last game of the mixed of nothing but one-sided games.  The only exception came in the women’s singles opener when P. V. Sindhu marched out to a commanding 16-10 lead.  Sindhu looked set to repeat the success she had in Jakarta over the former world #1 but her edge was soon annulled by an 8-1 run by the defending champion.

Li Xuerui continued to find success with precision smashes down the right-hand sideline, just as she had done against Sung Ji Hyun in the semi-final.  However, as she got into the groove in the second game, everything seemed to work for her and she seemed to move Sindhu around at will, enabling her to close out the match 21-19, 21-12.

The men’s singles continued in the same vein, with Chen Long (pictured) winning both games by that same 21-12 score-line.  Tommy Sugiarto played admirably but Chen Long was just incredible as he took his fourth Denmark Open title in five years.

The Indonesian will have to be content with the breakthrough of reaching his first Superseries final in 21 months.  His runner-up finish also puts him at #9 in the Superseries rankings, with three Chinese shuttlers ahead of him.  This means that if he can maintain or improve his position, he will be headed back to Dubai in December.

Final results
XD: Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (KOR) [7] beat Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (INA) [2]  20-22, 21-18, 21-9
WD: Jung Kyung Eun / Shin Seung Chan (KOR) beat Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [5] [walkover]
MD: Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR) [1] beat Liu Cheng / Lu Kai (CHN) 21-8, 21-14
WS: Li Xuerui (CHN) [4] vs. P. V. Sindhu (IND)  21-19, 21-12
MS: Chen Long (CHN) [1] vs. Tommy Sugiarto (INA)  21-12, 21-12

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 @