GERMAN OPEN 2016 Finals – 3rd doubles double to Ko

Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun took both men’s and mixed doubles titles at a Grand Prix Gold event for the third time in his career as he won with and against […]

Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun took both men’s and mixed doubles titles at a Gold event for the third time in his career as he won with and against Shin Baek Cheol in Mulheim, the two men taking a thriller against world #1 Lee/Yoo.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Sven Heise / Badmintonphoto (live)

Badminton doubles powerhouse Korea is no stranger to the doubles double.  In the decades when doubles players were beginning to stay away from singles altogether, Park Joo Bong made winning two titles his trademark.  After him, Kim Dong Moon did it at the World Championships and Lee Yong Dae had his share, especially in his early days, even at the Superseries level.

In fact, each of the four men’s doubles finalists on Sunday in Mulheim had at least one doubles double to his name, at at least the Grand Prix Gold level.  Things were tense for former World Champions Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol (pictured), however, as they are both chasing elusive Olympic spots, with their compatriots in their way in more ways than one.  Ko was put to the test by two Korean opponents but ended up with two titles on the day.

World #1s Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong had nothing to gain in terms of Olympic qualification in Germany.  They already have ten results that are over 7000 points and therefore, the event became more like an All England warm-up but they came out strong and made it clear that they wanted the title.  They needed two game points to take the first game but despite a spectacular diving backhand by Ko in the final rally, the favourites took the one-game advantage.

A late push in the second game allowed the world #9 pair to tie it up and they created some breathing room in the decider, en route to taking the match in three.  Ko thus added to his twin title collection, which also includes a similar performance at the 2011 Chinese Taipei Open and the 2013 Asian Championships.

Meanwhile, Ko’s partner Shin Baek Cheol was appearing in two finals for the third time in 4 months.  While he did better than his two runner-up finishes at the Korea Masters, he was not able to duplicate the twin victories he scored at the Macau Open.

After blowing a lead late in the first game, Shin and Chae Yoo Jung (pictured bottom) were unable to get anything going in the bottom of the second game and Ko and Kim Ha Na took the mixed title in the day’s shortest match.

While the men’s doubles winners are already eligible to be picked for the Rio Olympics, by virtue of being in the top 8, they will need to consistently post results like this to convince their coaches that they should be sent in place of the higher-ranked Kim/Kim.  However, the win in Germany should put them less than 1000 points shy of their compatriots so they can only be happy about that.

In contrast, Shin and Chae could have gained temporary admittance to the top 8 with a victory but will have to settle for inching up into 9th spot, ahead of Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen, who have a tournament in hand.  To establish themselves in the top 8, they will need several thousand more points.

In fact, the two youngest finalists came up short on Sunday.  After 20-year-old Chae finished second, 19-year-old Puttita Supajirakul of Thailand had to settle for silver as well.  She and Sapsiree Taerattanachai (pictured above right) were unable to maintain the four-point lead they built up in the second game and fell in two to French Open winners Huang Yaqiong / Tang Jinhua.

In the singles disciplines, the Olympic champions reigned supreme.  Li Xuerui (pictured above left) dealt with compatriot Wang Shixian rather summarily and at the end of the afternoon, Lin Dan (pictured) let one game go and was drifting in the second before he got down to business and scored 6 straight points, shortly before capping it off 21-17.  He made his move earlier in the decider but still finished it off by the same scoreline.

All of the finalists are in Birmingham this week for the All England, which will mark the international 2016 debut for top players such as Saina Nehwal, Fu Haifeng, Chen Long, Zhang Nan, and Joachim Fischer Nielsen.

Final results
XD: Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (KOR) [1] beat Shin Baek Cheol / Chae Yoo Jung (KOR) [5]  21-19, 21-12
WS: Li Xuerui (CHN) [2] beat Wang Shixian (CHN) [4]  21-14, 21-17
WD: Huang Yaqiong / Tang Jinhua (CHN) beat Puttita Supajirakul / Sapsiree Taerattanachai (THA)  21-14, 21-18
MD: Ko Sung Hyun / Shin Baek Cheol (KOR) [6] beat Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR) [1]  20-22, 21-18, 21-17
MS: Lin Dan (CHN) [2] beat Chou Tien Chen (THA) [4]  15-21, 21-17, 21-17

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 @