Less than five months after a brain aneurysm laid Carsten Mogensen low, the Men’s Doubles star captured Grand Prix Gold glory at the Yonex US Open yesterday with Mathias Boe.
The Danish duo, who made a strong comeback to top-level competition at the BCA Indonesia Open last month where they made the second round, were unstoppable as they surged to their first title in over 15 months, beating Japan’s Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi 21-11 22-20. The title at the last GPG event before the Rio Olympics will be a major boost to the silver medallists from the London Olympics.
Japan also lost the Men’s Singles final as Kanta Tsuneyama ran into Korean veteran Lee Hyun Il, 24-22 21-8.
Despite the two losses, Japan finished strongly, winning the other three finals. Ayumi Mine (Women’s Singles), Shiho Tanaka/Koharu Yonemoto (Women’s Doubles) and Yugo Kobayashi/Wakana Nagahara (Mixed Doubles) ensured rich pickings for Japan.
Boe and Mogensen (featured image) escaped a close battle in the second round against Hiroyuki Seki/Ryota Taohata. The young Japanese made an impressive comeback from 15-19 down in the third and saved two match points to level at 20, but the experienced Danes pulled away in the nick of time, 21-12 18-21 22-20. They went on to make the final, beating two other Japanese pairs, without dropping a game.
Beaten finalists Hoki/Kobayashi had earlier prevailed over veteran Polish pair Adam Cwalina/Przemyslaw Wacha 21-15 17-21 21-13 in the semi-finals.
Among the most watched pairs was USA’s Tony Gunawan and Korea’s Yoo Yong Sung – formerly adversaries at the 2000 Olympics, where Gunawan had won gold for Indonesia with Candra Wijaya at the expense of Yoo and Lee Dong Soo. Gunawan/Yoo stormed past Canada’s Toby Ng/Adrian Liu in the second round before losing narrowly in the quarter-finals to Japan’s Takuto Inoue/Yuki Kaneko, 21-18 21-23 23-21.
No Stopping Lee Hyun Il
Korea’s Lee Hyun Il breezed through to the title without dropping a game. The only difficult challenge he faced was in the third round against India’s HS Prannoy, which he won 25-23 23-21. Lee followed up beating Israel’s Misha Zilberman in the quarter-finals, Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon in the semi-finals and Japan’s Tsuneyama in the final.
Ayumi Mine won an all-Japanese Women’s Singles final over Saena Kawakami, 16-21 21-11 21-15 to follow up on her title victory at the XXIX Spanish International in late June. Mine had earlier beaten compatriot Yui Hashimoto in the quarter-finals and No.7 seed Linda Zetchiri (Bulgaria) in the semi-finals, while Kawakami had upset tournament favourite Michelle Li of Canada 21-18 21-12 in the semi-finals.
Shiho Tanaka/Koharu Yonemoto prevailed in the Women’s Doubles final over compatriots Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara in a close match, 20-22 21-15 21-19. The No.4 seeds fell behind after failing to convert three game points in the opening game, but came back in the second and third. A late comeback by their opponents, who closed in at 19-20, did not deter them as they sealed the match in 67 minutes.
Tanaka/Yonemoto had earlier upset No.2 seeds Eva Lee/Paula Lynn Obanana (USA) 21-13 21-13 in the semi-finals.
The Mixed Doubles title went to Yugo Kobayashi/Wakana Nagahara, who outplayed veteran Polish pair Robert Mateusiak/Nadiezda Zieba 21-16 21-18. On their way to the final, the Japanese beat Canada’s Nyl Yakura/Brittney Tam in the quarter-finals and Australia’s Robin Middleton/Leanne Choo in the semi-finals.