China’s Wang Yihan shrugged off a long spell of poor form with a title victory in Women’s Singles at the Yonex Open Chinese Taipei 2015 that concluded yesterday.
China claimed three titles overall, with Wang’s compatriots Chen Long (Men’s Singles) and Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan (Men’s Doubles) finishing atop the podium. Indonesia’s Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari (Women’s Doubles) and Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na (Mixed Doubles) won the other two titles.
Wang (6) was the unexpected star of the tournament. The World No.8 has gone nine months without a title; her last being the Asian Games gold medal in September 2014.
Her first big test last week was in the quarter-finals against compatriot Wang Shixian; the No.6 seed recovered from the loss of the opening game to put it across her feisty opponent: 10-21 21-10 21-17. She then continued her unbeaten run against the in-form Ratchanok Intanon, shutting her out in straight games (22-20 21-18) to record her tenth victory in ten matches over her Thai opponent.
Her opponent in the final was longtime rival Li Xuerui, who had surged through the draw with straight games wins in all her matches. Li’s victims included Nozomi Okuhara (Japan) in the quarter-finals and home hope Tai Tzu Ying in the semi-finals. In the final, however, Li was outclassed by Wang Yihan (featured image), 21-10 21-9.
Chen Long’s (left) impressive season continued as he claimed the Men’s Singles title over home star Chou Tien Chen, 15-21 21-9 21-6.
The most anticipated contest in Men’s Singles was between Chen and Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei in the quarter-finals. The Malaysian started off brilliantly, taking the first game at 17, and nearly had the match in his grasp with a 19-17 lead in the second. Chen however wriggled out of trouble and ran away with the match from 12-all in the decider: 17-21 22-20 21-13.
The category saw a few early round upsets, including that of India’s Kidambi Srikanth (3) to Indonesian youngster Ihsan Maulana Mustofa, and Korea’s Son Wan Ho (7) to compatriot Jeon Hyeok Jin.
Chou Tien Chen had his best performance in recent times, upsetting No.2 seed Jan O Jorgensen in the quarter-finals and No.4 seed Lin Dan in the semi-finals.
Indonesia’s Gideon Markus Fernaldi/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo had an impressive run into the Men’s Doubles finals, beating the likes of Lee Sheng Mu/Tsai Chia Hsin (Chinese Taipei) in the first round and senior compatriots Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan in the semi-finals. In the final, however, they were outclassed by Zhang Nan/Fu Haifeng (above) 21-13 21-8. The Chinese had earlier comfortably weathered the challenge of top seeds Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong (Korea) in the semi-finals, 21-16 21-18.
Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari (left) capped a spectacular week with the Women’s Doubles title over China’s Luo Ying/Luo Yu, 21-17 21-17.
The Indonesians fought past four Japanese pairs in a row – including the top seeds, Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi – to make the final. The Luo twins had earlier beaten compatriots Ma Jin/Huang Yaqiong in the semi-finals, 21-17 21-16.
The biggest surprise in Mixed Doubles was the defeat of top seeds Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei in the quarter-finals to Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na, 15-21 21-15 21-15. This was the first defeat of the world No.1 pair to a non-Chinese combination since losing to Indonesia’s Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo/Greysia Polii at the Indonesian Open in June 2014.
Ko/Kim (below) went on to take the title, beating compatriots Shin Baek Choel/Chae Yoo Jung, 21-16 21-18 in the final.
Among the other surprises were the early losses of Chinese pairs including Indonesian Open champions Xu Chen/Ma Jin (China) in the second round to Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei/Chau Hoi Wah (21-17 21-18); Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong (5) to Indonesia’s Ronald Alexander/Melati Daeva Oktaviani, also in the second round; and Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin (3) to Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto in the quarter-finals.
For results, click here.
Text by Dev Sukumar | Badmintonphoto