The 2009 Yonex OCBC US Open has come to a conclusion with Canada and the USA each taking two titles each. Canada’s top seeded Anna Rice won the women’s singles by defeating American Mona Santoso fairly easily 21-17, 21-9. A notable performance in the women’s singles came from the 17 year old Canadian Michelle Li who made it through to the semi-finals and then lost to Santoso.

Canada’s other title came in the women’s doubles when Huang Ruilin and Jiang Xuelian defeated Chen Ying and Grace Peng from the USA in three games 14-21, 21-15, 21-11. Both pairs were unseeded. Huang and Jiang defeated the top seeds Grether and Reid on their way to the final.

The Americans’ titles came from a likely source, Howard Bach. Bach won both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles with his respective partners Tony Gunawan and Eva Lee. In the men’s doubles Howard and Tony had to play top seeded Austrians Juergen Koch and Peter Zauner, but received little resistance in their 21-12, 21-9 win. In the mixed doubles Howard and Eva played Jiang Xuelian and Alvin Lau who were unseeded, winning 21-13, 21-12.

Finally the only player to win a title representing neither Canada or the USA was no doubt heavily expected to win. Had Taufik Hidayat lost this title it would no doubt have been a great source of embarrassment for the Indonesian. Hidayat won the tournament without dropping a game, and in the final this trend continued when he beat Chinese Taipei’s Hsueh Hsuan Yi 21-15, 21-16. Interesting to note though was Hidayat’s quarter-final match against Canada’s David Snider. Snider held his own against the Indonesian with a 21-14, 21-18 loss. Not too shabby at all.

To view full results visit the 2009 Yonex OCBC US Open draws

It’s probably been over a decade since Taufik Hidayat played a match where he had to work so little. As he walked his way to a 21-3, 21-10 victory, it’s doubtful the Olympic champion broke a sweat. It’s a rare occasion that a player like Taufik goes to North America for a tournament, I’m actually suspicious that he may have come for a holiday to see his old friends Tony Gunawan and Halim Haryanto who are both living in the US now. Disneyland and Hollywood are sure to be on his itinerary. So far all of the mens singles seeds have been relatively unchallenged in their matches, with only Dicky Palyama gone as he withdrew from the tournament. The next few rounds could prove to be interesting, but all of it is inconsequential as the likelihood of Taufik not winning this tournament is extremely low. I am curious however to see how well a number of different players could do against him, first of which could be Canada’s David Snider. Very unlikely to win (see hell freezing over in the dictionary), but a potentially fun one to watch.

In the women’s singles there have been few surprises. Perhaps some upsets on paper, but few surprises. Canada’s Michelle Li defeated American Shannon Pohl, but hardly a surprise as Michelle Li is solid. Another upset on paper is Mona Santoso’s win over Charmaine Reid from Canada, but hardly surprising as Mona Santoso is extremely good. I can’t remember exactly what her story is, but I’m guessing she’s a former Indonesian player from back in the day. Overall it seems to be a battle between Canada and the US, which is not surprising.

In the men’s doubles the only big names are Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan, and perhaps Halim Haryanto. But I don’t think any of these guys are still all that active on the tour these days. Howard and Tony are likely the favourites for this event, but that depends strongly on how much they have been playing lately. The women’s doubles have only had a few early round matches as the majority of the teams had byes to the second round. Finally the mixed doubles features what seems to be a number of retirees coming back for fun or players on the verge of retiring. Halim Haryanto and his partner Grace Peng, Richard Vaughn and Sarah Thomas, Tony Gunawan and Nantana Ketpura, and Howard Bach and Eva Lee.

It’s a shame that the North American events don’t get more big names out to play, but its not surprising. The events are not going to generate the same level of sponsor involvement, and as a result prize money will be much lower. With an event that is also a fair bit away from any other events, it is quite a bit of travel for one event, especially if it doesn’t pay well. At least there is Disneyland nearby.

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