POLISH OPEN – Last home title in “long, long career” for Mateusiak/Zięba!

Former world #1 Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zięba their 8th and last Polish Open mixed doubles title as they made their last appearance in their home tournament before their looming […]

Former world #1 Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zięba their 8th and last mixed doubles title as they made their last appearance in their home tournament before their looming .

Interviews and photos by Janusz Rudziński (live)

41-year-old Robert Mateusiak was upbeat after he and Nadiezda Zięba (pictured) defended their mixed doubles title at the Polish Open .  Chinese Taipei’s Tseng Min Hao / Hu Ling Fang did not make it easy for the home favourites, saving a game point before clinching the opener, then erasing the Poles’ 17-13 lead in the second before finally allowing their opponents to even the score at one game apiece.

“This was our last Polish Open so we are really happy that we could defend our home title,” said Robert Mateusiak after the match.  “It took three long games and over an hour but we beat the Chinese Taipei pair so we are very happy.”

In fact, even before Zięba took time off to have a baby, following the 2013 World Championships, the pair had already had an illustrious career.  At that time, they already had 6 Polish Open titles, a Grand Prix, a Grand Prix Gold, a European title a Superseries, and they had been to world #1 and back.

This win in Warszawa, meanwhile, is their 10th since returning to the tour in 2015.  Nine of those have been, like this one, International Challenges, but they also threw the 2015 Bitburger Open title in for good measure.  But now their illustrious career is winding down.

Mateusiak added, “This is one of our last tournaments but we still have the European Championships in a month and then the World Championships and these will probably – no, for sure – be our last two tournaments so after the Worlds we will finish our long, long career.”

The home fans were treated to a second delight immediately afterward as the men’s doubles final saw Lukasz Moreń / Wojciech Szkudlarczyk (pictured above) prevail in straight games over Scotland’s Dunn/Hall.  These Poles had also had their share of close calls, but mostly on Saturday, as Taiwan pairs continually pushed them to extra points.

“We are very happy about our result in this tournament because I have had a back injury for a few months and this is the first tournament where I’ve been back playing my normal game and I think that was key to our win,” said Lukasz Moreń after the final.  “We are very happy about all games.  There was some big pressure with the scores but we made it.”

Wojciech Szkudlarczyk added, “We didn’t have any big pressure coming into this tournament because we hadn’t played for so long so I think we felt really great and comfortable on court.  It was really nice to play with the spectators and we gave 100% in every match and finally we won this competition.”

The afternoon also opened with a loss for Chinese Taipei, as Yulfira Barkah and Meirisa Cindy Sahputri (pictured) of Indonesia saw off Chang/Yu in three rather one-sided games.  19-year-old Barkah, a semi-finalist at last year’s World Junior Championships, already had two international titles to her name but this the first for the 20-year-old Sahputri.

Malaysian shuttlers featured in both singles finals.  Lee Ying Ying, World Junior Championship runner-up in 2015, was the one trying to improve her standing even as her team’s long-time singles stalwart Tee Jing Yi was winning a women’s doubles title in Vietnam.  Lee was unable to cope with Japan’s Yui Hashimoto (pictured below), however, and went down in three games after taking the opener.

“I always play to win. It is my goal,” said Hashimoto afterward.  “There were sometimes hard matches but now I am very happy.”

Earlier in the day, Lee’s compatriot Tan Jia Wei (pictured bottom) had already picked up the men’s singles title.  The 19-year-old Tan bounced back from blowing an 18-12 lead in the second game and dominated the third against Brazil’s Ygor Coelho.

“This is the second time I have been to Warszawa for the Yonex Polish International Challenge so to win the title is a great time for me,” said Tan.  “I hope I can get more international titles in the future and that I can go up day by day.

“Winning this title is something I really appreciate because I have worked with my team-mates and my coach and my parents here to so I’m really happy for that.”

Many of the finalists will be travelling down to France for the Orleans International but the four Polish winners will be taking a break after their home success.

Final results
WD:  Yulfira Barkah / Meirisa Cindy Sahputri (INA) beat Chang Hsin Tien / Yu Chien Hui (TPE)  21-12, 14-21, 21-14
MS:  Tan Jia Wei (MAS) beat Ygor Coelho (BRA) [4]  21-13, 20-22, 21-10
XD:  Robert Mateusiak / Nadiezda Zięba (POL) [1] beat Tseng Min Hao / Hu Ling Fang (TPE)  20-22, 22-20, 21-13
MD:  Lukasz Moreń / Wojciech Szkudlarczyk (POL) beat Alexander Dunn / Adam Hall (SCO) 21-11, 21-18
WS:  Yui Hashimoto (JPN) [3] beat Lee Ying Ying (MAS) [6]  13-21, 21-19, 21-10

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 @ badzine.net