Korea took every opportunity on finals day and walked away with four titles, with Ko Sung Hyun taking two titles in the doubles.
Tommy Sugiarto was the one that stopped the Korean monopoly on the titles this week, defeating 15th seed Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in three games in the longest match of the day, with Sugiarto taking the title in three games 21-15 , 15-21, 21-17. The women’s title was won by Sung Ji Hyun, the 4th seeded also defeated her Thai opponent in the final in the 3rd seeded Inthanon Ratchanok, winning 22-20, 21-14 in 44 minutes.
The doubles was a Korean whitewash, with Ko and Yoo defeating their teammates Lee and Jung in a surprise victory with the 2nd seeds winning in two games, which levels their overall head to head at 3-3. Ha and Kim lost the opening game to Jauhari and Polii, only to fight back and take the 2nd game before the Indonesia pair had to retire at 2-0 in the deciding game to award the title to the Korean pair. Ko and Eom were the story of the mixed doubles, unseeded at the start of the week but defeated two seeds on route to the final before their best performance of the week in their victory over the top seeded Ahmad and Natsir in three games to claim the mixed doubles title.
The hope of a title remaining in Chinese Taipei ended today, with the defeat of Pai Hsiao Ma in the women’s singles and the top seeded Cheng and Chien crashing out of the women’s doubles.
They weren’t the only top seed to crash out, with Tien Minh Nguyen’s defeat to Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in two games and the Thai’s reward is a match with 6th seeded Tommy Sugiarto in the final. Sugiarto won the all-Indonesian semi final against Sony Dwi Kuncoro in 69 minutes and will take on the 15th seed in their first matchup for the title tomorrow.
Sung Ji Hyun ended Pai Hsiao Mai’s run at the semi final stage with a convincing two game victory, many expected an all-Korean final but Thailand’s 3rd seeded Inthanon Ratchanok defeated the 2nd seeded Bae Youn Joo in the other semi final in two games to book her place in the final against Hyun as the world number 12 and 13 do battle for the title.
There is one all-Korean final in the men’s doubles, as Lee and Jung take on Ko and Yoo. The top two seeds have progressed without much resistance this week and have quashed rumours that Lee and Ko were set to team up ahead of the Olympic Games next year. Jauhari and Polii ended the run of the top seeded Chinese Taipei pair of Cheng and Chien in one of the shortest matches of the day to set up a final against the 2nd seeded Kim and Ha who defeated the unseeded pairing of Hoo and Woon of Malaysia.
Lee and Ha’s run in the mixed doubles ended at the hands of Ahmad and Natsir, the top seeded Indonesians. However, one unseeded Korean pair did reach the final as Ko and Eom defeated their third seed of the week, this time it was the 3rd seeded Kurinawan and Bernadeth in their semi final as they continued their exceptional run this week of not losing a game to date.
Tuesday sees the beginning of the SCG Thailand Grand Prix qualifiers, with the field laden with Asian players as to be expected.
Local stars Boonsak Ponsana and Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk are the big attractions in the men’s singles, ranked 3 and 5 respectively. Choong Hann Wong is the top seed for the event, with Tien Minh Nguyen second seed. Nguyen is coming two excellent performances against Peter Gade and beating Lee Chong Wei in Singapore.
Zhou Mi leads the women’s seeds with countrywomen Wang Chen taking the second seed, with Porntip Buranaprasertsuk seeded 6 being the locals main hope for the ladies title.
Gao Ling makes another appearance in a ladies doubles draw, although her previous entry was in the US Open, which she and her partner Wei Yili pulled out of. Both the Ladies and Mixed doubles are expected to be local success with both top seeds coming from Thailand.
Only one European is in any of the five events, Anu Nieminen of Finland is seeded 5 in the Women’s Singles. Could she take the title out of Asia?
Qualifying begins on Tuesday at 2pm local time.