BITBURGER OPEN 2015 Finals – Ka Long way to go

Even though Ng Ka Long beat his compatriot Wong Wing Ki in order to claim the title at the Bitburger Open, Olympic qualification will be a very heavy duty.  Hong […]

Even though Ng Ka Long beat his compatriot Wong Wing Ki in order to claim the title at the , Olympic qualification will be a very heavy duty.  Hong Kong has no fewer than four players in the top-30 with old hands Hu Yun and Wei Nan alongside these two aforementioned talented youngsters.  It’s a fact which counts for most of the players present at the finals, all battling for those sought-after tickets for Rio.

By Elm Vandevorst. Photos: Sven Heise for Badmintonphoto (live)

For now, Ng Ka Long can look back on a great tournament after some disappointing results in September, where he suffered first round losses at the Japan, Korea and Denmark Opens.  At the Bitburger Open, the 21-year old shuttler surprised Chen Chou Tien and Rajiv Ouseph on his way to the final.  Those two gained matches didn’t seem to have any negative effect on Ng Ka Long, who easily defeated his fellow citizen Wong Wing Ki 21-12, 21-13.  Next stop will be the China Open starting the 10th of November.

Does China has a new top team in the making with Tang Yuanting and Yu Yang? Only ranked at place 797 before the start of the tournament, the Chinese twosome left no doubt they’re a force to be reckoned with.  Only top-15 pairing Fukuman/Yonao from Japan were able to keep pace with their Chinese opponents (21-18, 21-19 in the second round).

In the finals, Tang Yuanting and Yu Yang (pictured) started off with a comfortable win in the first (21-10) up against Poon Lok Yan and Tse Ying Suet.  At 10-all in the second, things could still have gone either way.  However, the newly re-formed Chinese pairing showed that their India Open title last year was no fluke.  They claimed their second title, and their first of the Olympic qualifying period, winning 21-18 in the second game.

The titles went from one new pairing to a twosome that has been around for ages.  However, Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zieba (pictured bottom) are still creeping up the rankings after a long interval that included Zieba giving birth to her first child.  The Polish pairing made a new start at the White Nights in Russia, almost 5 months ago.  Already they had been able to claim victory in 4 (!) tournaments and then they added a new one to that impressive record by winning in Saarbrucken.  And their victims were world #7 Chris and Gabrielle Adcock, who had to accept defeat as the Poles took it 21-18, 21-17.

With these 3 rather short matches played, the crowd got value for their money with the women’s singles, a reissue from the semis at the World Junior Championships  2 years ago.  On the second of November, 2013, Akane Yamaguchi (pictured) overcame her Thai rival Busanan Ongbamrungphan and celebrated her first World Junior title one day later.  A similar scenario developed at the Bitburger Open.

After falling a game behind, Yamaguchi took the next two and was once again too strong for Ongbamrungphan.  The rising Japanese star will not defend her title as the reigning World Junior Champion.  Yamaguchi has a very good chance to qualify for the Superseries Finals and is a contender for one of Japan’s tickets to Rio.

Another contender for Rio is Danish pairing Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding (pictured).  Denmark has three pairs within the top 25 at the moment but with this result in Germany, the two Madses move into the top 8 in the Race to Rio standings, which count only points earned during the Olympic qualification period.

The Danes’ opponents, Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov, can almost certainly start with their preparations for the next Olympics in Brazil.  The Russians are by far the best pairing of their nation.  (The second best pair are Vladimir Rusin and Rusilya Zhdanov ranked outside the top-100).  After their surprising defeat at the European Championships, the Danes didn’t drop a stitch against their Russian rivals.  They have now prevailed in five out five encounters, including today’s victory for Conrad-Petersen and Pieler Kolding.

Final results
WD: Tang Yuanting / Yu Yang (CHN) beat Poon Lok Yan / Tse Ying Suet (HKG)  21-10, 21-18
MS: Ng Ka Long (HKG) [13] beat Wong Wing Ki (HKG) [12]  21-12, 21-13
XD: Robert Mateusiak / Nadiezda Zieba (POL) beat Chris Adcock / Gabrielle Adcock (ENG) [1]  21-18, 21-17
WS: Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) [4] beat Busanan Ongbamrungphan (THA) [7]  16-21, 21-14, 21-13
MD: Mads Conrad-Petersen / Mads Pieler Kolding (DEN) [1] beat Vladimir Ivanov / Ivan Sozonov (RUS) [2]  21-18, 21-18

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About Elm Vandevorst