The big smiles on their face told the story – about winner Akane Yamaguchi and loser Gao Fangjie – as they posed for pictures with their trophies and mock cheques after the women’s singles final in the USD700,000 Tahoe China Open Superseries Premier in Fuzhou on Sunday.
For Japan’s Yamaguchi it finally ended the agony of waiting and waiting for her first superseries title this year and it came with a big fat pay cheque of USD52,500 with her 21-13, 21-15 win over Chinese qualifier Gao Fangjie.
For Fangjie she was USD26,600 richer for her efforts in the 41-minute final – her biggest pay cheque so far. It did not matter for the 19-year-old Fangjie of settling for the runners-up spot.
What is more important is that she has arrived in the big league – ready to take off from where she left in Fuzhou and make her presence felt. The fact that she came through the qualifiers to reach the final – along the way taking down two big names in women’s badminton – is a story itself that she can be proud of.
In the quarter-finals Fangjie crushed defending champion and Olympic and World Championships silver medallist P. V. Sindhu of India 21-11, 21-10. Then in the semi-finals Fangjie showed that her win over Sindhu was no fluke when she nailed OIympics champion Carolina Marin of Spain with a 21-19, 21-19 scoreline.
With nothing to lose in the final Fangjie threw everything at Yamaguchi but lack of experience on the big stage was a contributing factor in her defeat. Yamaguchi summed it up that “she (Fangjie) is tall and her smashes are good” when interviewed by BWF website speaks of Fangjie’s badminton talent.
Her performance in Fuzhou speaks volumes of Fangjie’s badminton and China’s talent in the sport as the hosts won three of the five titles at stake – the men’s singles, the women’s doubles and the mixed doubles on Sunday after finishing empty handed last year.
Chen Long won his fourth China Open title and he showed that he is getting back his form with a 21-16, 14-21, 21-13 win over world number one and top seed Viktor Axelsen in a 72-minute thriller at the Haixia Olympic Sport Center.
The win was sweet revenge for Chen Long who had lost to the Dane 9-21, 10-21 in their last meeting which at the World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland in August. Chen Long now leads 9-2 in the head-to-head count.
In last year’s China Open final Chen Long had lost to another Dane – Jan O Jorgensen. The 28-year-old Chen Long attributed his win on Sunday to his “desire and hunger” for the game after defeat in the world championships.
Second seeds Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan took the women’s doubles title with a 21-7, 18-21, 21-14 win over Koreans Kim Hye-rin-Lee So-hee who were playing in only their second tournament together after making their debut in the Macau Open.
China’s third title came in the mixed doubles with Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong coming through Mathias Christiansen-Christinna Pedersen of Denmark.
Defending champions Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanajaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia retained the men’s doubles title with aa 21-19, 21-11 win over Denmark’s Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen in a repeat of last year’s final. – BADMINTON ASIA
RESULTS (All FINALS)
Chen Long (CHN) beat Viktor Axelsen (DEN) 21-16, 14-21, 21-13
Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) beat Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (DEN) 21-19, 21-11
Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) beat Gao Fangjie (CHN) 21-13, 21-15
Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan (CHN) beat Kim Hye-rin-Lee So-hee (KOR) 21-7, 18-21, 21-14
Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (CHN) beat Mathias Christiansen-Christinna Pedersen (DEN) 21-15, 21-11