There was a bit of history in the USD400,000 Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong China Open (Super 500) which ended at the Coliseum on Sunday with Japan featuring in all five finals.
At the end of the day, however, Japan won three – the women’s doubles through Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota, the women’s singles (Nozomi Okuhara) and the mixed doubles (Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino).
Fukushima-Hirota started the ball rolling by becoming the first Japanese pair to win the Hong Kong Open title since the inception of the Superseries. The number one seeds gave a polished performance to outplay Koreans Lee So-hee-Shin Seung-chan 21-18, 21-17 in 59 minutes. The seventh-seeded Koreans won the Fuzhou China Open last week.
The Japanese pocketed USD31,600 in prize money that came with the title while the losers took home USD15,200.
Nozomi Okuhara made up for her disappointment of losing the China Open final to Chen Yufei (21-10, 21-16) last week, to be crowned the women’s singles champion with a 21-19, 24-22 win over Thailand’s sixth-seeded Ratchanok Intanon in a battle of former world champions.
In the process Okuhara, the 2017 world champion became the first Japanese woman to win the Superseries title in Hong Kong. She was richer by USD30,000 while Ratchanok settled for USD15,200 for her efforts.
Interestingly, Okuhara rode on an injury to world number one and top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the semi-finals. Tzu Ying retired with a muscle strain in the right torso in the second game with the score at 1-3 in favor of Okuhara who won the first game 21-12.
Korean veteran Son Wan-ho ended a four-year wait to win his second Hong Kong Open men’s singles title. The sixth seed showed fantastic mental strength to come back from a game down for a 14-21, 21-17, 21-13 win over Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto for the USD30,000 winner’s purse.
He could have taken the title in straight games but surrendered a 10-2 lead in the first game but soon lost focus and was beaten 21-14. Wan-ho’s win was all the more remarkable after an energy-sapping marathon 90-minute semi-final against top seed and world number one Kento Momota (18-21, 21-16, 21-19) on Saturday but showed no signs of fatigue. He also dashed any hopes of Japan making a clean sweep of all the titles.
All-England champions, fifth-ranked Watanabe-Higashino, dumped second-ranked Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping of China 21-18, 21-14 for only their second Superseries title. It was their first win over the world silver medallists in six meetings.
Indonesia’s world number one Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo retained their men’s doubles title with a comfortable 21-13, 21-12 win over fourth seeds Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda of Japan. It was their second title in two weeks, having won the China Open last week. –Badminton Asia
Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (JPN) beat Lee So-hee-Shin Seung-chan (KOR) 21-18, 21-17
Nozomi Okuhara (JPN) beat Ratchanok Intanon (THA) 21-19, 24-22
Son Wan-ho (KOR) beat Kenta Nishimoto (JPN) 14-21, 21-17, 21-13
Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino (JPN) beat Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (CHN) 21-18, 21-14
Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) beat Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (JPN) 21-13, 21-12