Lee Chong Wei kept his game on even keel in defeating China’s world no.10 Tian Houwei and emerged as men’s singles champion of the Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong BWF Super Series. But back-to-back Super-series wins were not enough to send Lee to next month’s Season-ending Finale at Dubai. After winning the China Open, Lee jumped 11 rungs and occupied the 22nd spot in the Super-series reckoning and there was no way he could finish within the top eight even with the victory at Hong Kong. In 2014, Lee had qualified but couldn’t make it to Dubai because he was serving an 8-month long doping ban. Over the last two weeks, Lee has beaten world no.1 Chen Long twice and recorded victories against old rival Lin Dan and world no.2 Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark. It has been a hugely satisfactory court performance for the Malaysian and he will certainly derive a terrific boost to his morale. Among women, Spain’s two-time world champion Carolina Marin registered another major victory of the 2015 season but she didn’t have a cake-walk. The Spaniard needed to bring out her best against Japan’s extremely talented Nozomi Okuhara, who almost snatched the title from the Spaniard in a bitterly fought three-game match. Finals in other categories had expected results with men and mixed doubles top seeds justifying their tournament rankings and winning their matches while China’s Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei taking the women’s doubles title from their compatriots.
In the much awaited men’s singles final, former world no.1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia decimated the challenge of world no.10 Tian Houwei of China in a 49-minute match. During Lee’s fantastic run in 2013, Tian was the one player, who had defeated him. Therefore, one expected the Chinese to bother the Malaysian. But Lee was simply brilliant on Sunday as he destroyed Tian’s defense with an array of smashes and accurate drop shots. The Malaysian didn’t even need to bring out his entire armory of strokes against the Chinese and instead chose an easy route by making Tian run on the court to retrieve his shots and destroyed his defense by delicate net-play. Tian withered under the Malaysian’s relentless assault and lost 16-21, 15-21 in 49 minutes. Despite his two victories in one week, Lee failed to make the grade for next month’s season-ending finals at Dubai.
The women’s singles final between world champion Carolina Marin of Spain and Nozomi Okuhara of Japan proved to be a near-classic. After taking the first game 21-17, Marin was given the taste of her own medicine in the second by the Japanese, who forced the decider by winning at 21-18. The third game was the battle of wits despite Marin leading 20-14 at one stage. With six match points for her, Marin smiled to indicate that the end was near. But Okuhara was not finished. The Japanese nullified one match point after another and suddenly Marin smile was gone. Facing a possibility of being upstaged, the Spaniard managed to collect herself despite being served a warning by the chair umpire for an inordinate delay in sending down her service. At 20-20, Marin began playing a percentage game and waited for Okuhara to commit mistakes. When Okuhara’s smash struck the net, Marin earned her seventh match point. It was now or never for the Spaniard, who stayed focused and converted the opportunity to emerge winner at 21-17, 18-21, 22-20. It was the fifth Super-series title for the Spaniard this year and sixth overall.
In mixed doubles final, China’s top seeds Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei won their sixth World Super-series crown by defeating compatriots Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin. After Nan/Yunlei won the first game 21-17, Liu/Bao came back to nullify the advantage by taking the second 21-17. In the decider, the top seeds held firm and finished with a 21-17,17-21, 21-17 victory to take their second successive Super-series title. In women’s doubles, Olympic Champion and no.5 seeds Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing avenged their China Super-series loss against compatriots Yu Yang and Tang Yuanting and won the Hong Kong Open with a 39-minute 21-15, 21-12 victory. The men’s doubles crown at HK Open was won by the world no.1 and top seeded Korean team of Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong, who defeated the Danish combo of Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen 21-7, 18-21, 21-18.
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