If you were to name one single player, who ruled the roost at 2016 OUE Singapore Super-Series, you couldn’t miss Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon. The winner of the Super-Series events at India and Malaysia proved beyond doubt at Singapore that she was a force in her own right. In a tournament, where top men and women seeds fell by the wayside, Intanon held her own with a superlative show in Sunday’s women’s singles final against defending champion, China’s Sun Yu. In a tournament, where women’s draw had players like Carolina Marin, Nozomi Okuhara, Wang Yihan, Sung Ji Hyun and Akane Yamaguchi, Intanon’s title victory was even more creditable. Also, the fact that she dropped just one game in the entire tournament speaks volumes of her newly acquired confidence. The Thai woman’s title win was the most expected result as she completed a hat-trick of super-series victories to collect three back-to-back titles at Delhi, Shah Alam and now Singapore. It is a historic feat for a singles player in men or women’s category to win three major tournaments in a row. And it was not as if Intanon faced second-grade players since the field in all the three tournaments had the world’s best badminton talent befitting the super-series events. Except Intanon, every other result was unexpected and if Indonesia’s Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Greysia Polii won the women’s doubles, it came by a walk-over. After Chen Long and Lin Dan failed to reach the finals, Indonesia’s veteran Sony Dwi Kuncoro revived old memories and took the men’s title from Korea’s Son Wan Ho. The mixed doubles crown was won by the Korean pair of Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na and for one more time, Chinese contingent had to rest content with just one title in men’s doubles, where Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan defeated Japanese Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda.
The talking point of the final day of the 2016 OUE Singapore Super-series tournament was Ratchanok Intanon’s great victory over China’s defending champion Sun Yu. The Thai superwoman began by losing the first game 18-21. At this point, many people might not have given much chance to Intanon but the Thai woman bounced back smartly in the next game in her own inimitable style. She produced a blend of sizzling smashes, deft touches and deceptive placements. The Chinese ran from pillar to post to retrieve Intanon’s delivery and became too tired in the process to yield the second game at 11-21. Intanon carried the momentum into the decider and didn’t allow the Chinese to settle down. Despite Yu putting up a valiant fight, Intanon was unstoppable as she raced away from 11-10 at break to 18-11 before closing the match in 69 minutes at 18-21, 21-11, 21-14. When the new BWF rankings are announced on Thursday next, Ratchanok Intanon will replace Carolina Marin at the top to become women’s no.1 player.
While Intanon took the women’s singles crown, men’s singles title was won by Indonesian old-hand Sony Dwi Kuncoro, who defeated Korea’s Son Wan Ho 21-16, 13-21, 21-14 in 63 minutes. The 31-year old Kuncoro is ranked no. 56 in the world and a first-round loser in last week’s Malaysia Open. But Singapore had been wild to seeded players and Kuncoro got his chance. On way to the final, the veteran Indonesian defeated China’s Wang Zhengming and Lin Dan to set up a summit clash with Korea’s Sun Wan Ho. On his part, Ho came through by beating Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, China’s Tian Houwei and Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long Angus. Kuncoro rolled back the years as he began by winning the first game. The Korean, however, paid on the same token in the second game and forced the decider. In the end, Kuncoro prevailed 21-16, 13-21, 21-14 and took the men’s title.
The doubles finals on Sunday were routine affairs devoid of any real fight with women’s doubles being decided on a walk-over. The winners were Indonesia’s Nitya Krishinda Maheswari/Greysia Polii, because the Japanese pair of Ayaka Takahashi/Misaki Matsutomo withdrew due to an ankle injury suffered by Matsutomo in Saturday’s semi-final. In mixed doubles, Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na played powerfully against the Chinese combo and won 21-17, 21-14 in 40 minutes. The only title that China could win at Singapore was men’s doubles crown, when Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan defeated Japan’s Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda 21-11, 22-20.
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