CHINA OPEN 2018 Finals – Ginting beats the best, Danes take a first

Anthony Ginting beat next week’s world #1 Kento Momota, while Kim Astrup / Anders Skaarup Rasmussen made the China Open their first title at a $200,000-plus event. By Don Hearn.  […]

Anthony Ginting beat next week’s world #1 Kento Momota, while Kim Astrup / Anders Skaarup Rasmussen made the their first title at a $200,000-plus event.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live)

Only a few of the China Open finalists finished last year having never won a title.  Of those, Li Yinhui was the only one who had at least reached a final. Chen Yufei, Mayu Matsumoto / Wakana Nagahara, and Kim Astrup / Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (pictured top) all reached finals at the Super 500 level or above this year but arrived in China still without a title at that level.  20-year-olds Han Chengkai / Zhou Haodong had chosen their home event to make their first finals appearance in anything bigger than a Grand Prix Gold.

So the men’s doubles final was guaranteed to produce a first and whichever pair emerged victorious would be capping off a dream week.  Han Chengkai and Zhou Haodong (pictured right), of course, had shut down the Asian Games gold medallists and world #1 in the semis.  Astrup and Rasmussen, meanwhile, had ousted the World Champions and world #2 pair in the quarter-finals so were riding just as high.

Their final, fittingly, was the only one to go the distance.  The Danes took the first one handily but the Chinese youngsters got a handle on their errors and maintained a slight lead throughout the second game, letting the Danes approach to within a point near the end of the second game before stepping up their attack again and evening the match at one game apiece.

The Danes varied their pace and angles repeatedly in the decider and opened up a commanding lead but the Chinese pair whittled that down to just 3 and looked set to come back as Rasmussen made a few nervous-looking errors.  The unseeded Chinese responded with some wild shots of their own but stuck in for some thrilling rallies near the end of the game before Astrup and Rasmussen finally closed it out 21-14.

Within seconds of the final point being scored, Astrup was shirtless and his partner was well into his first of several laps of their end of the court.  Although Han and Zhou came up just short this time, they proved this week that they are already a force to be reckoned with and that the world’s best pairs will have to bring their A game to challenge them in the coming months.

The afternoon opened with Kento Momota seeking to make amends for being ousted from the Asian Games by Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting (pictured above).  As the newly-crowned World Champion, Momota was the favourite to win gold in Jakarta but Ginting had other ideas and dumped the Japanese star from that event as he vied to make his own run for gold on home soil.

This week, Ginting had already made his own amends in the semis by beating Chou Tien Chen, the man who had denied him a spot in the Asian Games final.  By Sunday, he was playing his fifth match this year against Momota and knew what he had to do to prevail once more against the man who will ascend to the world #1 spot on Thursday.

After scraping by in the first game by erasing Momota’s solid-looking 19-14 lead, Ginting again had to play catch-up in the second game.  Once again facing a late 5-point deficit at 10-15, he eschewed cautious play for brilliance, keeping Momota guessing with his deceptive net play and controlling beautifully from below the tape, while repeatedly finding the lines with explosive attacks.

Almost exactly one year after reaching the first international final of his career, he claimed victory in his third, his third title in three finals.

The favourites prevailed in the three other finals.  Both Chen Yufei (pictured above with Carolina Marin) and World Champions Mayu Matsumoto / Wakana Nagahara were making repeat appearances in a Super 1000, having both been runners-up in the Indonesia Open in July.  Both were beaten in straightforward fashion by reigning Olympic champions no less.

On the other hand, reigning Olympic men’s doubles gold medallist Zhang Nan had no such luck in the mixed doubles final.  Instead, Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong (pictured left), became the only world #1s to title at the China Open.  They added this title to the Worlds, the Asian Games, and the Japan Open to bring them to a winning streak of 4 tournaments.

All but the two women’s singles finalists and Zhang Nan will be making their way to Seoul for a third consecutive event, the Korea Open.  Badzine will be on site all week to bring you daily reports and interviews with live photos from our partner Badmintonphoto.

Final results
MS:  Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (INA) beat Kento Momota (JPN) [3]  23-21, 21-19
XD:  Zheng Siwei / Huang Yaqiong (CHN) [1] beat Zhang Nan / Li Yinhui (CHN) [5]  21-16, 21-9
WS:  Carolina Marin (ESP) [6] beat Chen Yufei (CHN) [5]  21-18, 21-13
WD:  Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) [2] beat Mayu Matsumoto / Wakana Nagahara (JPN) [8]  21-16, 21-12
MD:  Kim Astrup / Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (DEN) [8] beat Han Chengkai / Zhou Haodong (CHN)  21-13, 17-21, 21-14

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 @