There was disappointment for the Chinese players and joy for the Indonesians at a memorable THAIHOT China Open, as Susan Egelstaff reports
With less than a month to go until the BWF World Superseries Finals in Dubai, there were some surprising results at the penultimate competition of the regular season as the THAIHOT China Open produced no home winners for the first time in its 30-year history.
Despite strong Chinese representation, it was the overseas players who reached the top step of the podium in all categories, with the biggest upset of the tournament coming in the men's singles as Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen defeated China's Olympic champion Chen Long 22-20, 21-13 in the final. This event was Chen Long's first competitive outing since claiming gold in Rio, but after Jorgensen snatched a tight first set, the world no. 6 then ran away with the second to take the title.
In the women's singles, Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu beat China's world no. 9 Yu Sun in a demanding 21-11, 17-21, 21-11 victory lasting 69 minutes. The Indian had been suffering something of a slump since her Rio heroics but this performance suggests she is now back on form.
Indonesia had much cause for celebration too, claiming two doubles titles. The first came in the men's doubles via Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo who triumphed over last month's YONEX French Open victors Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark.
Olympic champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir then added a second for Indonesia in the mixed doubles, although most of the excitement in the final was reserved for the losing Chinese shuttler Li Yinhui. Alongside the 2012 Olympic mixed doubles champion Zhang Nan, 19-year-old Yinhui showed what an exciting prospect she is with a standout performance, and while the Chinese pair may have lost, it was only their second tournament together on the international stage. They will be ones to watch in future BWF Superseries events.
In fact, Li Yinhui also made it to the women’s doubles final alongside compatriot Huang Dongping, illustrating their potential by knocking out the world no. 1 pair Misaki Matsumoto and Ayaka Takahashi in second round. It was to be a second final heartbreak for Yinhui, however, as Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee of Korea proved too strong for the home duo.
The players now move on to the Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Open, and with men’s singles world no. 1 Lee Chong Wei in the draw, the enticing prospect of a repeat of the Olympic final against Chen Long is on the cards. Another interesting event to watch is the women’s singles in which last week’s champion, Sindhu, is unseeded and therefore is a dangerous floater in the draw.
The 2016 Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Open takes place between 22-27 November