Three countries produced class acts of different variations to wrest the doubles honours at the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships today.
A see-saw battle royal for the Mixed Doubles title went China’s way in three games followed by two dominant performances that secured the Women’s Doubles crown for Korea while Indonesia basked in Men’s Doubles glory.
The latter had been expected to be a tense and explosive showdown but lightning-fast Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and his partner in profit, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon, wrestled control from their Chinese opponents and never looked back. They defeated Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, 21-19 21-14, with a slick display that revolved around a lot of fast-paced net exchanges.
“This is an extraordinary feeling. It was my childhood dream to win the All England. I didn’t expect it to happen so soon but I am extremely happy,” said Sukamuljo.
After pulling away at 17-17 to take the first game, Gideon noted they became more confident and relaxed.
In Women’s Doubles, Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee prevailed 21-18 21-13 against Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl. The Koreans fought back from 14-17 down to snatch the opening game before controlling the second, en route to the top of the podium.
“We have played them so many times. We felt that if we had good defence we could beat them,” said Chang.
“All England is one of the biggest events and it’s a dream come true to win it. We can’t believe it!”
Meanwhile, in the day’s only match that went the distance, China’s Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong outlasted Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia for Mixed Doubles glory. Despite a heartening 3-0 record versus their rivals, the Chinese – who survived a match point in their semi-final – were close to the edge, down 14-17 in the second game. However, they pulled through and had just enough of an advantage in the decider to close the tug-of-war, 18-21 21-19 21-16.
“We didn’t focus on losing the first game. We started over in the second game and took it one point at a time,” explained Huang who had the pleasure of scoring the winning point before flinging her racket in the air.
“It’s a bit of a surprise to win this tournament but we are very happy. It was a great match and the atmosphere here is amazing.”
Her opposite number, Goh Liu Ying, rued the missed opportunity in the second game, noting: “When we were ahead we should have won but we made some unforced errors
“We have lost all four matches to them but today was very close. We nearly beat them. We gave it our best.”
Featured image: Indonesia’s Men’s Doubles winner, Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (left) and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon, are pictured with their coach, Herry Iman Pierngadi.