India’s PV Sindhu and Sameer Verma failed to cross the last hurdles on Sunday after their incredible run in the 2016 Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Super-Series Tournament at Kowloon. Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying won the women’s crown while home star NG Ka Long Angus created history by becoming the first player from the host country to win the prestigious event. With the Danish women’s pair of Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen defeating the Chinese duo of Huang Dongping and Li Yinhui in women’s doubles, China missed out on any title for the second Super-series in a row. The Chinese stars had failed similarly at the Thaihot China Open last week and the story continued at Hong Kong. There was an upset in men’s doubles final, when the unseeded Japanese pair of Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda defeated Denmark’s fourth seeded combo of Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen. The mixed doubles was won by Indonesians Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir.
The first final at Hong Kong Open on Sunday was the women’s singles. India’s PV Sindhu was facing Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying for the first time after their last meeting at 2016 Rio Games. Sindhu was brilliant in that match and she might have hoped of repeating that performance. But the Taiwanese star has since improved her game and it showed in her two back-to-back victories over world no.1 and Olympic gold winner Carolina Marin. As the match began, Tai was true to her current form and despite losing the first point of the match; she played a huge smash to lead 2-1 and jumped to 6-3 in no time. Though Sindhu leveled the score at 6-6, she looked under pressure. There was just one occasion in the first game, when Sindhu led 8-7; otherwise, it was Tai, who dictated terms. After leading 11-8 at the break, Tai continued forcefully and mounted to an 18-12 lead. The dominating Taiwanese allowed Sindhu just three more points as she pocketed the first game 21-15. Sindhu began the second game in a much better way and kept leading until 8-7. But the impeccable Tai went past the Indian and led 11-10 at the break. Sindhu didn’t play badly but Tai was definitely better on crucial points. Despite her best game, Sindhu failed to catch up with Tai, who held 4 match points at 20-16. She dropped one and closed out the match at 21-15, 21-17 in 41 minutes to win the women’s crown.
In the first game in men’s final, Hong Kong star NG Ka Long Angus led India’s Sameer Verma 11-5 at the break. However at 13-8, Sameer scored 4 points in a row to close the gap to 13-12. But Ka Long made a comeback and also reeled off 4 straight points to lead 17-12. Ka Long allowed Sameer just two more points as he won the first game 21-14. Sameer made a big comeback in the second game as Ka Long suffered from lapse of concentration. From 11-5 at the break, Sameer ran through Ka Long’s defenses and forced the decider by winning the second game at 21-10. In the third game, however, Ka Long began with a 3-0 lead and kept leading until 11-4 at the break. It was a huge lead and Sameer found it difficult to stop the Hong Kong star’s momentum. The Indian did his best but Ka Long rode on roaring local support to finish with a 21-14, 10-21, 21-11 win. Ka Long also earned the honor of emerging as the first local star to win the Hong Kong Open.
Men’s doubles final saw an upset victory for unseeded Japanese Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda, who beat no.4 seeded Danish pair of Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen 21-19, 21-19 in 47 minutes. The mixed doubles final was an all-Indonesian affair, in which no.7 seeded Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir upset their no.2 seeded compatriots Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto 21-19, 21-17 in just 42 minutes. But the match, which ensured a Chinese whitewash, was the women’s doubles final. Denmark’s no.3 seeded pair of Kamilla Rytter Juhl/Christinna Pedersen won the crown by outlasting China’s Huang Dongping/Li Yinhui 21-19, 21-10. Thus, for the second major badminton event on the trot, the Chinese stars failed to figure among the winners in any category.
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