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Badminton: Korea’s Son shocks China’s Chen at Hong Kong Open

Son Wan-ho upset World No. 2 Chen Long in the final of the Hong Kong Open. Stock photo: AFP.

Son Wan-ho upset World No. 2 Chen Long in the final of the Hong Kong Open. Stock photo: AFP.

November 23, 2014: Korea No. 1 Son Wan-ho upset world champion Chen Long of China 21-19, 21-16 to win the Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open on Sunday and become the eighth straight different men’s singles champion in this year’s MetLife BWF World Superseries.

 

Son, the World No. 6, avenged last month’s Denmark Open final defeat to Chen, the World No. 2 and winner of two Superseries titles this year, starting with the season-opening Korea Open.

 

In contrast to his aggressive semi-final performance against Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen, Son employed a controlled pace against Chen, the 26-year-old Korean creating openings with a soft touch at the net then firing smashes at every opportunity to clinch his second career Superseries title.

 

“This is an important win since Korea has not produced many men’s singles players lately and I hope this will inspire youngsters to take up the discipline,” Son said. “I haven’t been consistent. The Asian Games team gold medal made a big difference and I hope I can remain steady in the top five of the rankings.”

 

Taiwanese youngster Tai Tzu-ying beat Japanese teenager Nozomi Okuhara 21-19, 21-11 for her third Superseries title but – like Son – her first of the year. Tai, 20, toyed with her 19-year-old opponent, as the short, quick Okuhara spent much of the 47-minute contest chasing the shuttle.

 

“It feels good to win the last Superseries of the year,” Tai said. “I had to play quick because Okuhara, like other Japanese, is a fast runner. It turned out easier than I expected. I didn’t start the year well, but now I’m looking forward to the World Superseries Finals.”

 

Following India’s Saina Nehwal, Tai became only the second non-Chinese player to win a women’s singles title on this year’s Superseries, with Wang Shixian and Wang Yihan, World No. 2 and 3 respectively, knocked out in the second round on Thursday.

 

“Despite my win, I think the Chinese are still the best in women’s singles, but it’s good that a non-Chinese player can win once in a while,” Tai said.

 

However, Chinese players won two doubles titles in Hong Kong. In the day’s first final, world champions Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing beat Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi 21-13, 21-13 for their third women’s doubles title on this year’s Superseries.

 

Zhao, 28, later returned with Zhang Nan to win the mixed doubles, the top seeds continuing their stranglehold over Xu Chen and Ma Jin as a 21-14, 21-19 win secured their 18th win in 20 matches against their compatriots.

 

However, Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan denied China a hat-trick of doubles titles with a 21-16, 17-21, 21-15 victory against Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan in the men’s doubles, having been 11-7 down in the third.

 

“I kept urging on Hendra,” Ahsan said. “We had problems with the drift and were down in the third game, but we played at a quicker pace after the break and were able to get on top.”

 

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

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