Destination Dubai: talking points from the Singapore Open

An unlikely men’s singles champion, another dominant outing in the women’s singles and doubles delight for the Danes: Gruffudd Owen reviews the action from the OUE Singapore Open

1. Praneeth’s golden moment

Following Chinese legend Lin Dan’s triumphant comeback at the CELCOM AXIATA Malaysia Open earlier this month, it was the turn of a relative unknown to clinch the title at the OUE Singapore Open. 

World no. 30 B. Sai Praneeth’s hard-fought victory over compatriot and training partner Kidambi Srikanth in Sunday’s final surprised many, and while the field may have been significantly weakened due to the absence of a number of top-level shuttlers, the Indian won’t care one jot.

“It’s the best feeling. I have played well against top players but I have not won any tournaments. That’s been an uncomfortable feeling,” a delighted Praneeth told the BWF website after the biggest win of his career.

2. Tai Tzu-ying reigns supreme – again

Can anyone stop Tai Tzu-ying?

If there was a shock to be had in the men’s singles, then the outcome of the women’s singles could not have been more different.

As was the case in Malaysia, the world no. 1 proved too strong for Spain’s Carolina Marín, her victory in straight games earning her a fifth successive BWF Superseries win, a remarkable run stretching back to last season’s YONEX-SUNRISE Hong Kong Open.

On current form, the 22-year-old from Chinese Taipei is the best player in women’s badminton by a considerable margin, and will be the overwhelming favourite to defend her Dubai World Superseries Finals crown in December.

Despite this latest dominant performance in Singapore, however, Tai Tzu-ying refuses to get caught up in the hysteria.

“I’ve not thought too much about winning these five tournaments,” she told the BWF website.

“I think everyone around me is more concerned about these five titles. But for me, I just want to play well in every tournament.

“In every competition, I hope to discover and learn from my weaknesses, to train and correct them.”

3. Danish delight in the doubles

If 2016 Dubai World Superseries Finals champion Viktor Axelsen’s shock first-round exit in the men’s singles will have disappointed Danish badminton fans, then they at least had plenty to cheer about in the doubles competitions.

Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen first scuppered world no. 1 duo Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo’s hopes of walking away with a fourth straight Superseries title by defeating the Indonesians in the last four.

The experienced men’s doubles pairing then went on to overpower Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen of China in the final, securing their first Superseries triumph of the season.

Meanwhile in the women’s doubles, an assured performance from Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen saw the Danes beat world no. 1 partners Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi of Japan.

This means that the four Superseries events completed so far this season have now been won by four different women’s doubles pairings.

“We always love to play finals and to play the Japanese girls,” Rytter Juhl told the BWF website in the aftermath of their victory in Singapore.

“It’s great to challenge the world no. 1. We talked about enjoying this final and we really did.”