SINGAPORE OPEN 2016 Finals – Long week for Sony, long run for Ratchanok

Sony Dwi Kuncoro ended a 6-year wait, Korea ended a 13-year wait, and Ratchanok Intanon capped off a 3-week winning streak, all at the 2010 Singapore Open. By Seria Rusli, […]

Sony Dwi Kuncoro ended a 6-year wait, Korea ended a 13-year wait, and Ratchanok Intanon capped off a 3-week winning streak, all at the 2010 .

By Seria Rusli, live in Singapore, and Don Hearn
Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon won the longest match on finals day at the 2016 Singapore Open but what a long run it’s been!  In toppling defending champion Sun Yu, she became the first singles player ever to win three titles in three consecutive weeks.

She is not the first women’s singles player to win three consecutive Superseries titles, a feat that had been accomplished before by both Li Xuerui and Wang Xin.  However, neither of those players pulled off their run at a time when the Superseries was doing one of its three-week stints, which have only happened twice since the series was created in 2007.

“I feel like she played well in the first game and I thought that today was not my day,” said Intanon after her victory.  “During the second game, I just thought that I couldn’t lose.  With this thinking, I got more confident and she looked more anxious during the second game so I came back. And the last game, we were so close in the start and I just felt like my body was very tired from the past few weeks and I just wanted to do my best. If I could win, then it’d be good for me.

Today I made many mistakes, and my opponent made a lot too. I think I was able to come back because I try to have more speed in my game.  She always seems to play the long rally and I cannot play in that style. I have to take her today, in my style.

 “Today I did it and I feel proud of myself,” she said of the fact that she will move up to the world #1 spot on Thursday.  “I always train until I cry. I feel like I make my Thailand citizens, my family and company proud of me. I want to thank you all today, that I can be world number one.

“I cry because I am tired and I feel that sometimes, what my coach needs, isn’t what I’m able to do,” explained Ratchanok.  “Everybody has their own way.  My coach wants my techniques to be the same as his but I cannot do it so I cry because it puts a lot of pressure on me.  But my parents will tell me that it’s okay, to just keep going and do my best.  Can or not, it’s okay.”

Sony over Son

For Sony Dwi Kuncoro, it was the end of a very long comeback road.  His last Superseries title was in this very hall in 2010.

He’s been in two finals since, the latest in 2013, but to win this one, he had to begin in qualifying last Tuesday and also see off the likes of Wang Zhengming and Lin Dan just to make it to Sunday.  Sony came out on the long end of three rather one-sided games to beat Korea’s Son Wan Ho and reclaim the Singapore Open title.

“Today I am very happy and it is very unexpected, but I finally can win,” said Sony after his victory.  “It has been a while since I won a Superseries.  Since I left the national team, I couldn’t even compete in Superseries events so this is really an incredible journey to start from the qualifying rounds. This is a reward for my hard work. It is proof that I can win a Superseries title.

“The previous matches were with Wang Zhengming and after that playing rubber game against Lin Dan. It is definitely really tiring for me but after playing against Lin Dan, I just enjoyed today’s match and played my best.

“After I left the national team, I felt down as I could still play well but I left the national team – it was a shock for me. I tried my best to find my game but the feeling for matches and training was gone. I needed a long time – almost a year – to recover. Eventually I could win in various levels like the challenge levels, Grand Prix, and Superseries level.  It is because of the support from my family and wife who is also my coach and manager. I just want to thank my wife as much as possible and present this title as a gift to her who is only working in accompanying me training.

“Seeing other players like Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei and the rest of the top players who are of the same age or older is an inspiration for me. Previously I have been at the same level as these players or even performing better. If they can do it, why can’t I. It gives me motivation for me. If you put hard work into it there is definitely a chance.

“As long as I still have the strong motivation to train hard and play, I can see myself playing until age 35.  There are many examples like Lee Hyun Il and Boonsak.  Even if a player is still young, if there is no strong motivation, then it is still going to be the same.  I hope that after this, I can win more tournaments.”

Korea’s Singapore hiatus ends

For the Korean team, the disappointment for Son Wan Ho was tempered by the fact that Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na had already become the first Koreans since Kim Dong Moon and Ra Kyung Min in 2003 to win the title in Singapore.

In fact, Ra, who actually broke onto the international scene in a big way by winning the Singapore Open singles title at 18, has been in the coach’s chair with the team this week, though not for the mixed final.

Ko and Kim were just too much on Sunday for 2009 champion Ma Jin and partner Xu Chen.  It may have been six years since Ma last won here but she and Xu have a tidy collection of Superseries crowns, even if their last was nearly a year ago.

“I know how to play each opponent, but sometimes it is very hard to play against certain opponents.  I get very nervous so I try to build my self-confidence first,” said Kim Ha Na after the match.  “We’ve played this pair quite a few times so we are confident playing against them.”

“Because Singapore is a Superseries, most of the top players were playing here this week so we saw this event as a challenge for ourselves,” said Ko Sung Kyun.  “And it’s our first time winning here so we’re very happy.  The support from all the fans makes us feel like we’re playing in Korea so we’re very happy.”

Women’s doubles went to Indonesia’s Nitya Krishinda Maheswari / Greysia Polii.  However, it turned out that their last victory in a Superseries title effort again came against a Korean pair, as they did not step on court on Sunday.  Misaki Matsutomo decided that the injury she sustained in her semi-final warranted some caution and hence, she and Ayaka Takahashi had to forfeit the final.

In the last final of the day, Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan finally put an end to the brilliant run by Takeshi Kamura / Keigo Sonoda.  The Japanese duo saved one match point but they were unable to turn their first Superseries final appearance into a first title as well.  Instead, it was Fu and Zhang who were able to pick up their first Superseries title since late 2014.

Final results
WS:  Ratchanok Intanon [3] beat Sun Yu (CHN)  18-21, 21-11, 21-14
XD:  Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (KOR) [3] beat Xu Chen / Ma Jin (CHN) [4]  21-17, 21-14
WD:  Nitya Krishinda Maheswari / Greysia Polii (INA) [2] beat Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) [1] [walkover]
MS:  Sony Dwi Kuncoro (INA) beat Son Wan Ho (KOR)  21-16, 13-21, 21-14
MD:  Fu Haifeng / Zhang Nan (CHN) [4] beat Takeshi Kamura / Keigo Sonoda (JPN)  21-11, 22-20

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 @