Eight years after he won his first French Open, Malaysia’s former world no.1 Lee Chong Wei claimed the title honors once again. Through the tournament, Lee dropped just one game against Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in the quarterfinal and easily defeated Korean sixth seed Chou Tien Chen in the final. The victory took Lee’s BWF men’s singles ranking to 19 and boosted his chances for 2016 Rio Olympic qualification. Among women, Spain’s Carolina Marin showed her class in becoming the first European in a decade to win the French Open women’s singles title, when she defeated Chinese fourth seed Wang Shixian in the final. China’s only success in Yonex French Open came in women’s doubles. In the all-Chinese final, Huang Yaqiong and Tang Jinhua beat compatriots Luo Ying and Luo Yu. The men’s and mixed doubles crowns were claimed by Korean teams. Indians had a bad tournament with Saina Nehwal crashing out in the quarterfinals and none of the four men could progress beyond the second round. However, HS Prannoy caused tournament’s biggest upset by shocking Chinese Superstar Lin Dan in the first round.
After the Japan Open last year, Lee Chong Wei has won his first major title. The unseeded Malaysian outclassed Korea’s no.6 seed Chou Tien Chen 21-13, 21-18 in the final of the 2015 Yonex French Open. It was the 39th Super-series win of Lee’s badminton career spanning over a decade. Chou was the defending champion but looked tired in the first game, which the Malaysian claimed easily. In the second game too, Lee raced to a big lead early on, but Chou labored his way back to reach 17-18, when Lee lapsed into several unforced errors. But the experienced Lee regained his focus and closed out the match in 47 minutes. After his dismal show in Korea, Japan and Denmark, victory in Paris should boost the Malaysian’s confidence for two more Super-series tournaments in China and Hong Kong in November, 2015.
In the women’s singles final, European Champion Carolina Marin defeated China’s former world no.1 Wang Shixian to claim her first French Open title. Wang was a better player in the first game as she led the Spanish world champion 18-16 and stood on the verge of taking the game. But Marin came up with a brilliant rally, snatched the next 5 points and won at 21-18. The Chinese found the force of Marin’s power-play too much in the second game and struggled to keep pace with the superb Spaniard. Marin controlled the game from start and allowed nothing to Wang as she closed out the match 21-18, 21-10 in 45 minutes to record the shortest final on the last day. It was Marin’s fourth super-series title of the year and the way she is playing these days, she presents herself as a nightmarish prospect for her opponents.
In men’s doubles final, Denmark’s Mads Conrad/Mads Kolding got a huge support from Parisian crowd but that was not enough against the top-seeded and world no.1 Korean pair of Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong. The Korean duo played powerfully and defeated the Danes 21-14, 21-19 in 56 minutes. Korea won the mixed doubles title as well, when the pair of Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na defeated Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto in a three-game thriller lasting 68 minutes. The Koreans, who won the Denmark Open last week, began by taking the first game easily at 21-10 but lost the second. The two pairs fought hard in the decider before Hyun/Ha Na edged out the Indonesians 21-10, 15-21, 21-19. In the all-Chinese women’s doubles final, unseeded combo of Huang Yaqiong/Tang Jinhua defeated their second-seeded compatriots Luo Ying/Luo Yu 21-13, 21-16 to register China’s only title in five categories of 2015 Yonex French Open.
Indian shuttlers had a rather poor outing in Paris. In women’s singles, Saina Nehwal lost 9-21, 16-21 to Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in the quarterfinals while PV Sindhu was thoroughly outplayed by the eventual finalist and no.4 seed China’s Wang Shixian in first round. The 20-year old Sindhu had upset Spain’s double world champion Carolina Marin at Denmark last week on the way to her first ever super-series final before losing to China’s Li Xuerui in the title clash. In Paris, however, Sindhu couldn’t match the crafty and powerful game of the experienced Wang. Among men, HS Prannoy created shockwaves by ousting China’s Lin Dan in first round but fell in the second against Hong Kong’s NG Ka Long Angus. Parupalli Kashyap and Ajay Jayaram also reached the second round but couldn’t reach the quarters. Kidambi Srikanth lost to China’s Tian Houwei in a three-game first round match. In women’s doubles draw, Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa won their first round match but lost in the second.
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