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Badminton: Jan ‘the man’ as Jorgensen makes Indonesia Open history

Jan Jorgensen was the darling of the Jakarta crowd as he beat Japan’s Kenichi Tago to become the first non-Asian to win the Indonesia Open men’s singles title. Photo: AFP.

Jan Jorgensen was the darling of the Jakarta crowd as he beat Japan’s Kenichi Tago to become the first non-Asian to win the Indonesia Open men’s singles title. Photos: AFP.

June 22, 2014: Denmark’s Jan Jorgensen made history by beating Japan’s Kenichi Tago 21-18, 21-18 on Sunday to become the first European men’s singles champion at the BCA Indonesia Open, one of badminton’s most prestigious tournaments.

 

Tago, who beat World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei in the semi-final, is still seeking a first World Superseries title after coming up short against the popular Jorgensen.

 

Amid frenzied celebrations inside the throbbing Istora Senayan in Jakarta and a presidential political rally unfolding next door, Jorgensen was a crowd favourite for fans who had embraced the 26-year-old’s every win en route to the championship.

 

Jorgensen secured the win when Tago netted a smash and the ponytailed Danish star fell to the carpet before both finalists showed great sportsmanship, exchanging shirts and hugging. The third-seeded Jorgensen then thanked his supporters, flinging three rackets into the audience in appreciation.

 

“I can’t believe what I’ve done. I can’t believe I’ve won the Indonesia Open. It’s amazing. It’s by far the biggest achievement in my career. This means I’m one of the greats from Denmark. They didn’t think I was ready when Peter Gade retired, but I’ve shown I’m one of the contenders for the big titles,” declared an overwhelmed Jorgensen, the first non-Asian winner since the event began in 1982.

 

“Tago kicked my butt the last two times we played, but I felt I had momentum after yesterday (semi-finals). I tried not to open up the court too much, so it was more about using the net and I felt I was ahead in that aspect.”

 

World No. 1 Li Xuerui (right) beat Thai teenager Ratchanok Intanon to win the women’s singles.

World No. 1 Li Xuerui (right) beat Thai teenager Ratchanok Intanon (left) to win the women’s singles.

Earlier, World No. 1 Li Xuerui retained the women’s singles title with a 21-13, 21-13 over rejuvenated Thai teenager Ratchanok Intanon, who beat the Chinese star in last year’s BWF World Championships final in Guangzhou.

 

Jorgensen’s exploits doubled Denmark’s haul as the European powerhouse started the proceedings in spectacular fashion when Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen rebounded from a game down to beat China’s Xu Chen and Ma Jin 18-21, 21-16, 21-14 to win the mixed doubles.

 

Having lost January’s Maybank Malaysia Open final to the same opponents, they levelled their head-to-head record 6-6 and became only the second Danish mixed doubles pair to savour honours in Jakarta; the first being Pernille Dupont and Thomas Lund – the current BWF Secretary General – in 1991.

 

Fischer Nielsen, 35, was in tremendous form, dashing around the court, smashing, rallying tenaciously at net and covering if his partner was out of position. The Danes dropped the first game, but grew in confidence and stepped up their attack as the Chinese wilted under mounting pressure and overwhelming spectator sentiment in favour of the Danes.

 

Ahead 11-7 at the third-game interval, the seasoned Danes pressed home their advantage before Pedersen secured match point with a smash, triggering deafening festivities among the thousands on hand.

 

“This is a special feeling,” Fischer Nielsen said. “We came close last year and we’re proud to win here. It has been very difficult for Europeans to win in Indonesia and I don’t think we could have done it without the crowd.”

 

Following the mixed doubles final, Ma withdrew from the women’s doubles with a torn muscle in her right thigh. Ma was set to play with Tang Yuanting against compatriots Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei, the 2012 Olympic gold medallists, who were crowned champions.

 

In the men’s doubles, the increasingly imposing Korean partnership of Lee Yong-dae and Yoo Yeon-seong thwarted the repeat ambitions of Indonesian duo Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan. Despite the comfortable 21-15, 21-17 result against the hometown heroes, Indonesian fans applauded both pairs and appreciated that their players saved five match points before succumbing.

 

Playing critical points better and showing their all-round skills, Lee and Yoo took the first game 21-15 and motored to a 7-1 lead in the second. It proved too much for the reigning champions to reel in and the Koreans romped to a second successive World Superseries title, having prevailed in Japan the previous weekend.

 

“This is a good time for me. It’s the first occasion winning the Indonesia Open with Yoo Yeon-seong and I’m very excited. We communicated and collaborated well,” said Lee, who tasted victory at the Indonesia event with Jung Jae-sung in 2009 and 2012.

 

Source: BWF (www.bwfbadminton.org); Editing by SportAsia

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