DENMARK OPEN 2016 Finals – First titles for Tanongsak and Tan

Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk stunned Superseries leader Son Wan Ho at the Denmark Open to claim his first career Superseries victory. By Don Hearn.  Photos: Arthur Van der Velde and Yohan […]

Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk stunned leader Son Wan Ho at the to claim his first career Superseries victory.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Arthur Van der Velde and Yohan Nonotte / Badmintonphoto (live)

For the second consecutive time, Korea’s Son Wan Ho came into a Superseries final as the heavy favourite against an unseeded, first time finalist.  This time, however, not only was Son not playing at home, but the crowd clearly had a soft spot for underdog Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (pictured).

The Thai entered the arena on finals day carrying a photo of his nation’s recently deceased monarch but whether the king’s memory had any effect on Saensomboonsuk’s motivation is hard to say.  Normally, a feisty, spirited player, what made his performance on Sunday stand out was the precision in his smashes and his overall consistency, particularly at the net.

For his part, Son Wan Ho (pictured top, with Saensomboonsuk) seemed hesitant in the backcourt, often playing lifts very late after prevaricating about whether they were in or out.  He almost seemed to resemble his semi-final opponent by getting to the back and choosing not to attack, but he wasn’t able to keep his Thai challenger guessing with the shots he did select.  His net play was sound but Saensomboonsuk was able to at least match the Korean and he seemed able to make every attacking opportunity count.

The Thai seemed to be celebrating too soon when he earned two match points at 20-18 in the second and sure enough, he allowed Son to catch up.  His elation at inching up to 21-20 did not go unrequited, however, and he closed it out to let the real celebration begin.

In the men’s doubles final, it was sure to be a first-time Superseries victory as neither pair had topped the podium previously but Thailand’s Nipitphon Puangpuapech was the only first-time finalist on Sunday in Odense, apart from his compatriot who had won the men’s singles title.  In the end, though, it was Tan Wee Kiong who became the only other player to take the first Superseries title of his career, nearly 3 years after his partner Goh V Shem (pictured) won his first with a previous partner.

The Malaysians seemed to settle into a more efficent groove after dropping the first game and Tan Wee Kiong started to take control at the net.  The Thais came alive again, however, and they went on a 7-point run, then soon afterward earned a match point.

Tan and Goh clawed their way back to force the decider and despite some incredible pressure from the Thais, they kept their composure and finished out the win.  It was the biggest title of their partnership for a pair that had won Commonwealth Games gold before even reaching a Grand Prix final and had Olympic silver before playing the final of a Superseries.

In the mixed doubles, Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen took back the title they last won five years ago.  They left Chinese youngsters Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (pictured below) with silver for a third time in their incredible string of four straight Superseries finals.

Chen seemed to have an edge on Pedersen at the net early in the match but Fischer Nielsen began to have success rushing to the net to drive the shuttle down and the Chinese pair just couldn’t keep on the attack often enough to stay on top.

The afternoon began and ended with victory for Japan.  Both matches also featured Korea Open champions who were looking to keep a streak alive.

In women’s doubles, Jung Kyung Eun and Shin Seung Chan really took control at the end of the first game, forcing lots of errors after moving Ayaka Takahashi around the back for most of the game.  However, the Japanese pair came roaring back in the second.

The deciding game was closer than the second but Misaki Matsutomo seemed to be the only player who got or created opportunities to kill the shuttle at the net and she did so on many occasions as she and Takahashi took their fourth Superseries title of the year.

Unlike the Koreans, Akane Yamaguchi was able to win back-to-back Superseries titles.  In beating Tai Tzu Ying (pictured) in three games, she became only the third player do accomplish that feat this year, after Matsutomo/Takashi and Ratchanok Intanon.

The mixed doubles was the only final of the day that did not feature the leader in the Superseries standings.  Runners-up Tai and Son both moved into the lead in the race to Dubai by reaching the finals, while Goh/Tan were moved to the top following the deletion of Lee/Yoo. Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi are now ahead of #2 Jung Kyung Eun / Shin Seung Chan (all pictured bottom) by more than 20,000 points.

Meanwhile, the two Thai finalists are still far from qualifying for the Finals in December but one or two more appearances in finals could well put them on the road to Dubai as the Superseries heads to Paris for the 10th of 12 ‘regular season’ tournaments.

Final results
WD:  Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) [1] beat Jung Kyung Eun / Shin Seung Chan (KOR) [2]  19-21, 21-11, 21-16
MS:  Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (THA) beat Son Wan Ho (KOR) [6]  21-13, 23-21
XD:  Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen (DEN) [5] beat Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) [8]  21-16, 22-20
MD:  Goh V Shem / Tan Wee Kiong (MAS) [4] beat Bodin Issara / Nipitphon Puangpuapech (THA)  14-21, 22-20, 21-19
WS:  Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) [8] beat Tai Tzu Ying (TPE) [5]  19-21, 21-14, 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 @