SS FINALS 2015 SF – Favourites finished!

It was not a good day at the office for the title holders, as they have now officially all left the competition, leaving the BWF World Superseries 2015 hall of […]

It was not a good day at the office for the title holders, as they have now officially all left the competition, leaving the BWF World 2015 hall of fame ready to engrave some new names in its prestigious list of winners. Amongst these are Viktor Axelsen of Denmark and Japan’s Okuhara and Momota, any of whom could score their team’s first singles title in the history of the finals.

By Tarek Hafi. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live from Dubai, UAE)

Arch favourite and men’s doubles titleholders Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong witnessed the end of their journey in Dubai when they were beaten by their Indonesian nemeses Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan (photo), despite a relatively easy win by the Koreans earlier this week. The World Champions displayed a deeper development of their game, leading to many frustration episodes from the Koreans, who still fought to come back from a game to nothing and bravely saved several match points in the second game.

However, their bravery was halted in the rubber by the eager 2013 champions, who created an incurable gap in the end, to fly away towards the final of the Superseries main event, with a 2-17, 24-22, 21-15 win. The world number two will now meet last year’s runners-up Chao Biao and Hong Wei, after their hardly fought match against Carsten Mogensen and Mathias Boe, where they saved no fewer than five match points to eventually triumph 17-21, 21-19, 24-22 in an hour and nineteen minutes.

The new generation has struck

Perhaps the biggest contender for the trophy also stumbled in the semis today, as Chen Long suffered a severe defeat while facing Denmark’s prodigy Viktor Axelsen. The Chinese world number one and ambassador to this event was the last remaining shuttler currently in possession of both the World Championship and the titles.

However, Chen appeared to be a mere shadow of himself, unable to counter his opponent’s ardour.  The Chinese wonder found no other solution but to abdicate, in front of a much more willing opponent. The tall Dane, dominated every rally with a strict discipline, leading to a straight game win 21-12, 21-17.

However, the all-Danishaffair was prevented by Japan’s Kento Momota, who exhibited once more his current excellent shape.  Momota had registered no loss in the preliminary rounds, and he also took care of Jan O. Jorgensen in two games 21-19, 21-18.  The conclusion will thus be a highly anticipated final between the heirs of the elite badminton world. The question marks remains on Momota’s form tomorrow as the young Japanese seemed to feel some pain in his leg towards the end of the match – a minor injury according to his coach Keita Masuda.

Japan, the country of the rising sun, and daughter

Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara (photo) displayed again today her terrific game, giving the Japanese high hopes for next year’s Olympics in Rio, as she once more destroyed the current World Champion and world #1 in straight games, looking absolutely invincible and ready to grab the final trophy tomorrow. Similar to yesterday, she left no chance to her opponent and scored a harsh 21-11, 21-12 victory with some tremendous retrieving skills.

The 20 year-old Okuhara is now scheduled to meet Wang Yihan (pictured below), who is slowly coming back to her best form.  She is one of only three past champions who have a chance on Sunday to get back to the top.  For the twelfth time in a row, defeated Thailand’s superstar Ratchanok Intanon, and she did it in straight games as well.

Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na, still found no pair to block their road towards the final.  They came in as the only mixed pair who were still undefeated at this tournament and they scored another three-game win, this time over Hong Kong rising pair, Lee Chun Hei and Chau Hoi Wah. The in-form Korean mixed doubles pair, attempted to seal the encounter in straight games, but succumbed to their opponents’ will to salvage some pride, which allowed them to take the second game 22-20 and force a rubber game. Still, it was not enough to impress Ko and Kim and the latter prevailed in the end 21-15, 20-22, 21-12.

The world number six will now try to get a hold of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock (pictured bottom), who were much more decisive in their match against Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto, with a two games win 21-17, 22-20.

Denmark’s Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen, had their lesson learnt yesterday against Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari, as they did not commit the same mistakes as they prevailed today in two games to join the final, 21-17, 21-12. They are joined by the Chinese twins Luo Ying and Luo Yu, who had much more difficulty getting rid of the title holders Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi, 21-19, 21-19, in almost an hour and half of highly disputed rallies.

Finals line-up
WD: Luo Ying / Luo Yu (CHN) [1] vs.Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl (DEN) [2]
XD: Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (KOR) [3] vs.Chris Adcock / Gabrielle Adcock (ENG)
WS: Wang Yihan (CHN) [3] vs. Nozomi Okuhara (JPN) [4]
MS: Kento Momota (JPN) [2] vs. Viktor Axelsen (DEN) [4]
MD: Chai Biao / Hong Wei (CHN) [4] vs. Mohammad Ahsan / Hendra Setiawan (INA)

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Tarek Hafi