Photo credit: Badmintonthaitoday.com
The finals of the World Tour Super 500 tournament in Hong Kong started with the women’s categories – ladies first, some would say. Japan is represented in all five finals of the day. And their women are leading the way.
The women’s double final was the first match of the day. The world number 1, Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota, were up against Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan, ranked 7. The Koreans won the China Open final last Sunday and could complete two perfect weeks with another title today.
Things also started off fine for Lee and Shin who went to mid-game interval at 11-6 in first game. Slowly but steadily the two Japanese caught up though, and Fukushima/Hirota grabbed first game 21-18. Second game also saw Lee and Shin making the best start with 5-0 but yet again things turned around during the game. With 21-17 top seeded Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota took the Hong Kong title.
Intense and beautiful women’s single final
Second final of the day was women’s single between two players who are quite even. That also showed on the result of the match. Nozomi Okuhara (6) and Ratchanok Intanon (8) had played eight times before – both had four wins. It was first time the two met in a final though.
Okuhara rocketed off with 7-1 in first game before the Thai slowly came back into the game. Ratchanok caught up with the Japanese at 17-17 but shooting the last two shuttles out she gave first game to Okuhara with 21-19. In the second game things were, if possible, even closer. The two girls followed each other closely up to 22-22. Ratchanok survived the first two match points for Okuhara, who at the same time survived the single game point Ratchanok had. After 64 minutes of intense and beautiful play, Okuhara won the last point and she could claim the Hong Kong title with 24-22.
Japan against the world
That made it 2-0 for Japan vs. The World. You have to respect the work Japan is doing this year. Head coach Joo Bong Park surely lifted the Japanese players to the top of the world. This doesn’t only show on the world ranking in the different categories but also with the number of entries in the finals.
Results from the Hong Kong Open finals:
WD: Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota, JPN (1) vs. Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan, KOR (7) 21-18 21-17
WS: Nozomi Okuhara, JPN (7) vs. Ratchanok Intanon, THA (6) 21-19 24-22