New Zealand Open: Ahsan-Setiawan Win Blockbuster Men's Doubles Final, Korea Women Rule
New Zealand Open 2019: Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan won their second title of the year while Korea's women's doubles and women's singles competitor sprung a surprise against more fancied opponents.
Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan beat Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe in a thrilling men's doubles final at New Zealand Open. (Photo: Reuters)
Auckland: The final day of the New Zealand brought with it a couple of unlikely results and some scintillating badminton as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualification cycle began in the best possible manner.
Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles), Kim So Yeong-Kong Hee Yong (women's doubles), Jonatan Christie (men's singles), An Se Young (women's singles) and Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (men's doubles) won the title on Sunday.
The finals day started with a thrilling and exciting mixed doubles match and ended with an absolutely mesmerising men's doubles match as New Zealand Open came to a close.
Among the nations, Malaysia bagged one title while Korea and Indonesia won two titles each.
None of the regular powerhouses in Japan and China won a title, despite having two and one respresentation, respectively, in the final.
Both the Korean victories came unexpected as they were not seeded and were up against some tough competition. However, they played out of their skins to bring up a brilliant results for themselves.
Here are all the results:
XD: Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (Malaysia)  beat Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva Oktavianti (Indonesia)  21-14, 16-21, 29-27 in 1 hour 24 minutes
WD: Kim So Yeong-Kong Hee Yong (Korea) beat Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (Japan)  21-15, 21-18 in 49 minutes
MS: Jonatan Christie (Indonesia)  beat NG Ka Long Angus (Hong Kong)  21-12, 21-13 in 39 minutes
WS: An Se Young (Korea) beat Li Xuerui (China)  21-19, 21-15 in 43 minutes
MD: Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia)  beat Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe (Japan)  20-22, 21-15, 21-17 in 1 hour 7 minutes
DADDY'S ARE BACK AND HOW
New Zealand Open is Ahsan-Setiawan's second title of the year. They have won more titles than their younger and top compatriot men's doubles pair in Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.
Ahsan is 31 years old while his partner Setiawan is 34 years old. They were on the wane and did not have results going their way till last year. But with Olympics coming in, they have altered their chances in a massive manner.
They are called the Daddy's because of how long they've been in the circuit and in the men's doubles competition for Indonesia. On Sunday, they showed the meaning of all that experience.
The men's doubles final was a match that would make one fall in love with the discipline and the sport of badminton. Quick exchanges, delightful net play, booming smashes and astonishing defence - the match had it all.
If the young Watanabe was coming out with powerful smashes, the 31-year-old Ahsan was smashing his way to points as well.
Setiawan of course is unrivalled at the net - his positioning and sheer intelligence on the court in unparalleled.
Such was the intensity of the match that one could not take eyes off it. When Ahsan-Setiawan were on all-out attack, Endo-Watanabe came up with exceptional defence to win points.
When the Japanese attacked, the Indonesian pair showed innovative and brilliant ways to defend. Such was the quality of play that the players couldn't help but smile between the points - even if they lost it.
It was a package and in the end, Ahsan-Setiawan used their experience, calm head under pressure and innovative badminton to best affect to sneak through.
KOREA WOMEN SNEAK A SURPRISE
Japan have been ruling the women's doubles space for the past couple of years and Matsutomo-Takahashi, with their ranking and seeding, were expected to come out as winners.
Kim and Kong had taken down the world No.2 pair of Fukushima and Hirota in the semi-final but that was only supposed to be a one-off.
The Korea pair though had other plans. With their outright attacking play and unbrindled passion, they put Matsutomo and Takahashi on the backfoot.
The Japanese pair rely on wrong rallies and 'clear the shuttle' approach but with the Koreans high attacking play, the Japanese struggled to wade off the threat and the Koreans sprung the big surprise.
The 17-year-old An Se Young beat one of China's most decorated badminton players Li Xuerui with a performance of extremely high quality.
Young's legs perhaps held more meat then the 28-year-old Xuerui as the teenager jumped and ran around the court with ease while make it a troublesome for Xuerui to cover all the court.
Xuerui's deceptive strokes came to her every now and then in the first game but the Korean with her great mix of aggression and poise outlasted Xuerui.
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