AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2017 Finals – The messier the better

Having Indonesia scheduled in the last two fixtures of a final gave the stadium a sing-song atmosphere and playing catch up guaranteed the buzz, just not the biggest pay cheques. […]

Having Indonesia scheduled in the last two fixtures of a final gave the stadium a sing-song atmosphere and playing catch up guaranteed the buzz, just not the biggest pay cheques.

By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in Sydney. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Mixed doubles: Debby the MVP

Debby Susanto was the most valuable player in the messy mixed doubles affair. Indonesia swelled into action from 3-9 to win the first game and China reversed the scenario in the rubber from 3-10 down.

Play was messy in how either side attempted to get the other out of position but in the process exposed limitations of their own. Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto worked as a tight unit for defending purposes but had problems covering the rest of the exposed space.

On the other hand, Chen Qingchen’s idiosyncrasies of technique, personality and court movement that’s so much of her appeal to fans and the ways she has revolutionised had been studied. With the guidance of coach Vita Marissa, the Indonesians made deliberate forceful deep returns whenever they sensed the kinetic Chinese pair would change formation.

The crowd loved the messiness and got what they came for twice over when an outmanoeuvred pair saved the first shuttle and hectic smashing and attempts to survive ensued with Susanto regularly diving for Zheng’s drop shots following his smashes. Jordan’s unreliable flat backhand drives spelled doom for any possible third comeback.

“Almost didn’t get it. This win is a big confidence booster for the World Championships,” smiled Zheng Siwei to the waiting press. “Losing any game is a normal outcome [but] we have to really study this match about how they caught up in the first. I realise part of the problem stems from my worries. We fell back because we were afraid to do what were are meant to do.”

Park-Sonoda-Kamura vs Tan-Setiawan-Chew

The brains of coach Park Joo Bong on top of the very practised frenetic repertoire of Keigo Sonoda / Takeshi Kamura trumped the Malaysian-Indonesian combination of Tan Boon Heong / Hendra Setiawan’s first final and having former world #1 Chew Choon Eng in their corner.

There was a slight possibility of translating a debut final into Superseries stardom together. The individual wisdom and strokes of Tan and Setiawan were higher than their opponents’, as evidenced by the relaxed yet focused tailgating in the first game. This new combination are noticeably improving the understanding within their partnership. Tan’s signature smash, some Kido-esque backhands and late changing of direction on defence that’s been missed since Lee Yong Dae retired brought audience palms together.

But the big question was always going to be when the world #5 Japanese – who have also been making strides – start attacking faster, can the other side stop one of them coming forward? The character and strategy of the Japanese was anticipated but their increased smashing power was underestimated.

#1 change their beat to defeat #2

World #1 Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi played a little more like themselves in the final against world #2 Danes Kamilla Rytter Juhl / Christinna Pedersen to win in straight games, 21-10, 21-13.

Nevertheless, the Japanese again employed tactical changes which didn’t depend on Matsutomo habitually constructing and hunting down lot of points at the net. There were flick serves that were too high for Juhl to smash and both Japanese punched their high defence replies deep.

“We used a lot of energy in the last two matches. Today they were better than us in all aspects,” said Kamilla Rytter Juhl.

Final results
WS: Nozomi Okuhara (JPN) beat Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) [3]  21-12, 21-23, 21-17
WD:  Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) [1] beat Kamilla Rytter Juhl / Christinna Pedersen (DEN) [2]  21-10, 21-13
MS:  Kidambi Srikanth (IND) beat Chen Long (CHN)  22-20, 21-16
MD:  Takeshi Kamura / Keigo Sonoda (JPN) [3] beat Hendra Setiawan (INA) / Tan Boon Heong (MAS)  21-17, 21-19
XD:  Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) [1] beat Praveen Jordan / Debby Susanto (INA) [7]  18-21, 21-14, 21-17

Click here for complete results

Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @