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Simon Santoso was written off by critics and badminton fans that his men’s singles finals match up against crowd favorite and world number 1 Lee Chong Wei at the Singapore Open Super Series 2014 is just a practice session .
Lee Chong Wei, winner of multiple Super Series titles and seems to be the clear favorite a class winning 9 out of the 10 head to head match up previously.
All was proved wrong by Simon Santoso the 28 years old lad from Indonesia, who quit the national team in January to find better fortune as an independent player and won the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold 2014 around 2 weeks ago.
Lee Chong Wei who won the India Open Super Series last week, is struggling to keep up his form consistent at the top level to meet the physical demands of playing top badminton at international level. In fact, he was even thinking about retiring from the sport at the end of year as age is catching up with the Malaysia warrior.
Simon Santoso who skipped the India Open last week and took advantage of that and walked in the court with true courage. He showed no signs of nerves and perhaps he was the only one in the packed stadium, who believed in himself of choking up a win against his much more reputable opponent and the current face of badminton Lee Chong Wei.
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Nothing was working for Lee Chong Wei in the first set and it continued to the second set. But the 3 times All England Champion and 2 times Olympic silver medalist displayed a true character of a champion and fight through adversity. Despite showing signs of frustrations and was trailing 4 -11 in the second set, the 31 years old Chong Wei picked up his pace and managed to steal 6 straight points that brought him back into the game.
With the backing of the Singapore crowd cheering his name, Lee Chong Wei displayed great dynamic styles as the world number 1, leaping everywhere for smashes and follow up at the front court. Chong Wei managed to crawled back up to 10-12 in the second set despite losing the first set.
Simon Santoso stayed focus despite showing glimpse of fatigue, dictating almost every rallies with high quality shots pushing his opponent all four corners and finishes off with superb angle of his thundering smashes. It was absolutely sensational badminton which kept the supporters and badminton fans at the edge of their seats and mouth opening moments.
The more experience Lee Chong Wei tried breaking the rhythm of his younger Indonesian opponent with Formula One pace and tempos but Simon Santoso always seems to find winning angles with his steep smashes.
The Malaysia Open GP 2014 champion, Simon Santoso persevered through the match and who was looking pale and gasping hard for air towards the end of the match but managed to find odd angles smashes that does winners.
With a string of unforced errors done by Lee Chong Wei, Simon quickly sped up to a 20-10 lead and finally won the match 21-15, 21-10 in 48 minutes. It was only his 3rd career Super Series title, where as his opponent who had won an impressive 44 Super Series titles.
Simon Santoso is finally back, struggled with several injuries which made him out of action for the last couple of years. Now he is back and probably the best form he has ever been. He came in the Singapore Open Super Series only as a qualifier but came out of the tournament as a truly deserved champion.
Both men displayed great badminton which projects the great beauty of sports where underdogs can spring up surprises against the favorites. Hopefully this type of badminton will eventually gain more of recognition of sport that it truly deserves.
Lee Chong Wei pulled off a surprise 2nd consecutive win against world number 2 Chen Long, yesterday at a packed stadium in New Delhi, India. No one would actually thought that the world number 1 Lee Chong Wei could managed a second consecutive win over the younger and more physically superior Chen Long.
The whole stadium was cheering for Chong Wei through out the match, it seems that there was a chance that Chen Long could ruin Chong Wei’s day.
In fact, Chen Long won Lee Chong Wei numerous times last year continuously. Yesterday the 31 years old Lee Chong Wei played like he was 21 years with great recovery and retrieving abilities. Experience was clearly the main factor for Chong Wei’s victory last night.
The world number claimed his 3rd title of the year in style, he played patiently and he executed some nice slicing drop shots. He did well like all champions do, taking control of the situation. In fact the night before he had a tough match against second rank China’s men singles player Du Peng Yu in semi-finals. Du is known for his retrieval abilities and great fighting stretch the older Chong Wei to a rubber game.
Chong Wei was having a 8-1 lead in second game but Du Peng Yu stayed focus and managed to crawl back up to forced a rubber. Du Peng Yu was seen to have been showing sign of fatigue towards the end of the rubber set and a executed string of unforced errors. Lee Chong Wei won 21-17, 19-21, 21-15 in 72 minutes.
However in the finals, against Chen Long; Lee Chong Wei showed no sign of tiredness and scored a big confidence boost win 21-13, 21-17 in 55 minutes.
Hopefully the world number 1 could maintain his superb form at the Singapore Open Super Series, starting in Wednesday. Chong Wei is scheduled to be flying to Singapore on Monday as he needs to test the court on the itself. The qualification rounds will be starting on Tuesday.
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SUNDAY, 30th March 2014
Simon Santoso managed to turn his decision of quitting the national team in January into a blessing of disguise. Simon Santoso played diligently to capture his first title of 2014. Simon Santoso started off well in the opening game against India’s Sourabh Varma but too much unforced errors got into his way.
Simon was leading 11-5 in the first game but the 22 years old Sourabh Varma played patiently and opening up the game with fast pace shooting lobs and fast attacking footwork acceleration which he managed to crawled back up and took the opening game 21-15.
Sourabh Varma is certainly a player to look out for in the near future, despite being much younger than his opponent; Sourabh played like an experienced player with great hunger in his eyes. However, towards the end of the game Sourabh showed a little sign of nerves taking over, which cost him a string of unforced errors and the former Indonesia’s top player took that opportunity to his advantage to clinched a win after a tough battle 15-21, 21-16, 21-19 in 1 hour and 9 minutes.
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Defending champion Lim Khim Wah and Goh V Shem failed to defend their title , were well beaten by qualifiers Danny Bawa Chrisnanta-Chayut Triyachart of Singapore 17-21, 20-22.
Khim Wah and V Shem struggled to get their game going in the opening game with numerous unforced errors. V Shem and Khim Wah probably started off with a wrong game plan by playing too safe and eagerly trying to kill the rallies.
Danny Bawa Chrisnanta-Chayut Triyachart , the no 281th rank Indonesia and Thailand born players certainly managed to keep momentum going through out the tournament. In fact the beat the 1st seed combination of Hoon Thien How and Tan Wee Kiong in the first round.
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Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold 2014, Former world junior champion Viktor Axelsen clinches his first title of the year after a long battle with China’s Tian Houwei 21-7, 16-21, 25-23 in 1 hour and 8 minutes. Viktor seems to be dominating the first set with great Peter Gade’s fast steep smashes which left Tian Hou Wei clueless and lost during the first set.
However in the second set, Tian Hou Wei did not let his first set defeat into his head and played wholeheartedly with solid defense and amazing retrieval abilities to force a rubber. In the rubber set, Viktor and Tian Hou Wei fought neck to neck with forcing each other for errors and points. Viktor stood up a gear and charged in to wrapped up the game 25-23.
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In Romania, Misbun Ramdan who is fighting for a spot in the Malaysia’s Thomas Cup team certainly looks good for the spot after capturing the Romian International Challenge title on Sunday. The number 1 seed, had to fight through out the match, as his opponent Adrian Dzioklo of Poland showed some resistance and won the first set but Misbun Ramdan pulled through with great perseverance and superb desire; winning his first title of the year 15-21, 21-18, 21-16 .
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Despite being 31 years old, Malaysia’s golden boy and world number 1 Lee Chong Wei managed to pull through the tough battles at the Yonex All England Champpiobship 2014, winning the title for the third time yesterday.
Lee Chong Wei’s tough battles begun during his semi-finals match up against young Korean’s next top men’s singles prospect Son Wan Ho.
The world number 11 Son Wan Ho has been slaying giants from the first round, choking up wins against much reputable players like Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark, Hayom Rumbaka of Indonesia, Kenichi Tago of Japan.
Throughout the tournament Son Wan Ho, played tremendously well with great retrieval abilities and fast pace and swift of wrist like smashes.
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The 25 years old Korean lad, has been over shadowed by Korean top players like Park Sung Wan and the legendary Lee Hyun Il. Son Wan Ho managed to push Lee Chong Wei all six corners of the court, which leaves Chong Wei breathless at some points of the match.
Son Wan Ho was overpowered by the experience Lee Chong Wei towards the end of long tough battle, Lee Chong Wei won 14-21 21-19 21-15 in 1 hours and 11 minutes.
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However in the finals Lee Chong Wei meets defending champion Chen Long. Chong Wei has been loosing to China’s replacement of Lin Dan, Chen Long numerous times consecutively.
The 2nd seeded Chen Long, who has been struggling his form from the first round of the tournament and has been playing long tough match throughout the tournament did not show any sign of fatigue during his match up in the finals.
Chong Wei put up a solid performance and lighting fast pace acceleration, to leave Chen Long wrong footed at some points of the match. Chen Long did not put down his guard even though he was trailing 5 to 6 points at the early stages of the match but managed to close it up neck to neck with Chong Wei.
Lee Chong Wei was leading 18- 13 in the second set but did not loose focus as he was gasping for air during intervals. At 20-18 Lee Chong Wei played extremely patient and increased his pace towards the front court when opportunity arises.
When the point reached 21 in the second game Lee Chong Wei screamed in delight winning the match 21-13 and 21-19 in 59 minutes.
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Defending Champion and the next prospect of China badminton Chen Long struggles in the opening round of the prestigious and the historical All England Championship 2014 to former world junior champion Viktor Axelsen. Chen Long who has been labelled by the public, that he’s the only one who can spoiled the number 1 seed and World number 1 Lee Chong Wei’s mission to win his 3rd All England title.
Chen Long has vowed to step up his game in the following round but was faced by a steep challenge from Japan’s Takuma Ueda but managed to pull through a win 21-14, 22-20 in a 52 minutes battle. Chen Long will be facing yet another Dane, Hans Kristian Vittinghus in the quater-finals. Hans Vittinghus is known to be a great fighter and he would run all corners of court. Hans Vitting who just reached the finals of the German Open 2014 last week, certainly would like to continue his gallant run in the international circuit.
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However in the other top half of the draw, Japan’s youngster Kento Momota will be facing Lee Chong Wei in the quater-finals. The 20 year old and former Asian Junior Champion is one of the next generation of players displayed great maturity and experience to disposed England’s old timer Rajiv Ouseph 21-15, 21-10 in 40 minutes. Kento Momota has been labelled by many, that his game and style is quite similar to the living legend Lin Dan as both are left handed and inherited a superb attacking and face pace styles. Both Kento Momota and Viktor Axelssen were around the same badge and great rivals with Malaysia’s Zulfadli, Soo Teck Zhi and Soong Joo Ven, but Malaysia’s youngsters were no where to seen in the main draw.
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Meanwhile in the mens doubles department, the newly crowned Malaysia Open Super Series Premier 2014 Champion Lim Khim Wah and Goh V Shem showed that they still have long way to go in the badminton world. Khim Wah and V Shem went down to Denmark’s and number 3 seed Mathias Boe and Casten Morgensen 21-23, 11-21 in 40 minutes, whom they defeated at the Malaysia Open in January.
It certainly shows that the Malaysia pair is not that stable yet and the Danish pair won the game by experience and great game plan. Mathias Boe and Casten Morgensen stepped up their game this time with better consistency and brilliant attacking game to extract a sweet revenge against Khim Wah and V Shem.
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Malaysia’s legendary coach, Misbun Sidek puts the decisions of making a come back to the national set up on hold. He is now focus in guiding his son Misbun Ramdan. Misbun Sidek is currently now in Europe coaching his son Ramdan Misbun who is participating back to back tournaments like the German Open and Austria Open.
Misbun Ramdan who performed quite well last year winning 5 international title, but went down to 8th seed Takuma Ueda of Japan 14 – 21, 17-21 in 39 minutes. However, Ramdan managed to score a win against much experienced Indonesia’s Andre Kurniawan Tedjono 23-21 19-21 24-22 in 1 hour 10 minutes.
image source : The star
Meanwhile at men’s doubles department, dad to be Koo Kien Keat who was once Malaysia’s favourite and electrifying men’s doubles player has been attacked by the media and former players for not performing well since the London Olympics as they last won a Super Series title in 2010.
Koo Kien Keat sent in his resignation letter last week and has yet to receive a decision from the BAM. For a matter of fact Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong ruled the men’s doubles world in 2006 to 2010. Winning numerous titles and were the Asian Games and All England Champion.
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In December of 2011, Malaysia’s legendary coach Misbun Sidek (left in the picture above) walked out of the Badminton Association of Malaysia due to disagreement with the coaching committee which was headed by Ng Chin Chai who is a lawyer by profession and has no idea of being a badminton player or a coach.
Ng Chin Chai currently serving the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) as a secretary. Ng Chin Chai stepped down as head of training and coaches committee in the end of 2013 but nothing has changed.
Since Lee Chong Wei’s former coach left the BAM, Malaysia’s badminton has been going downhill. Now Malaysia is in a desperate need of revival as one the power house in the world of badminton like before.
Last week World Number 1 Lee Chong Wei proposed to hire his former coach Misbun Sidek as a coaching director when he attended the Corporate Skills and Research (CSR) meeting chaired by current BAM’s president Tan Sri Tengku Mahaleel Tengku Ariff. It would be a hurdle to persuade the Malaysian legend to take up the job as he seems to be really unhappy until he had to leave BAM in 2011 after serving as a coach since 2003.
Since leaving the BAM in 2011, Misbun still hasn’t lost touch in the game as he is coaching his son, Misbun Ramdan which who has won 5 international titles last year in 2013.
In 2003, Misbun Sidek was the head coach of Badminton Association of Malaysia as he was approached by BAM after Korea’s living legend Park Joo Bong’s contract ended.
Misbun Sidek is the most qualified Malaysia’s coach around as he has earned much respect from players in the national team and of course from the public as well. For a matter of fact, Malaysia has only 5 world number 1′s in the history of badminton.
House hold names like Foo Kok Keong, Rashid Sidek, Roslin Hashim, Wong Choong Hann and Lee Chong Wei were all being guided and coached by Misbun Sidek.
It would be a stepping stone, to hire Misbun Sidek as a coaching director to revive Malaysia Badminton.
image source: the star
Goh V Shem and Lim Khim Wah were crowned the new Malaysia Open 2014 Champions after defeating China’s young pairing of Chai Biao and Hong Wei 21-19 , 21-18 in 45 minutes. The duo who has split up 3 times over their career, played like an experienced champion. They use the 25,000 home supporters which packed the whole stadium to their advantage. Despite a few weak low serves by Khim Wah, the duo managed to keep their composure with superb control by Khim Wah and great attack from V Shem. Definitely a great start for the new year for these two young lads from Malaysia, hopefully they are able to mantain their superb performance and polish up for future triumphs!
image source: the star
Defending champion mixed doubles pairing of Christina Pedersen and Joachim Fischer Nielsen failed to defend their title when they lost 11-21, 21-17, 13-21 to China’s Xu Chen and Ma Jin. Xu Chen played superbly well with his furious attacks which left the Danish pair clueless in the rubber game. Nevertheless, at some point of match in the rubber games, there were dispute between the chinese pair but managed to capture their 5th premier Super Series title.
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Tommy Sugiarto put up some resistance in the first set against world number 1 Lee Chong Wei. Tommy started off the match with superb defence and well improved smashes. Tommy Sugiarto who is the most improved men’s singles player in the past 12 months, left the 9 times champion Lee Chong Wei gasping for air through out the match. Lee Chong Wei stepped up and finish off the match with a 21-19, 21-9 win in 47 minutes and became the Malaysia Open champion for the 10th time!
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Malaysia’s men doubles pair of Lim Khim Wah and Goh V Shem brought joy to the Malaysia camp as they became the first Malaysia’s men doubles pair to reached the finals of the Malaysia Open since 2010 by Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong. Lim Khim Wah and Goh V Shem stomped in the finals by defeating Indonesians Angga Pramata and Ryan Aggung Saputra 22-20, 21-16
The Malaysian boys almost let their chances slipped by their hands, when they were executing unforced errors and weak service, but they stepped up especially for Lim Khim Wah who was the mastermind in setting up the rally for Goh V Shem killing shots and sent the crowd into a frenzy!
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Jan O Jorgensen who was hoping to give the 9 times champion Lee Chong Wei a good fight but it went down into a disappointing fashion for himself and the badminton fans, retiring 0-3 after loosing the first game 13-21. World number 1 Lee Chong Wei will be meeting Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto, who defeated Japan’s number Kenichi Tago in straight games 21-13 and 21-18.