New Delhi – South Korean Wan Ho Shon celebrated his qualification for the London Olympics with a sensational upset win over World No.1 and top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia to lift the men’s singles title at the India Open badminton here Sunday.
Asian champion Li Xuerui ensured that the China would not go back empty handed by winning the women’s singles title.
Wan, who was assured his Olympic berth when he defeated Denmark’s Peter Gade in the quarterfinals, was considered a rank outsider against a player whom he had lost to four times before. However, the South Korean was prepared for Lee’s flat and fast game and it was his defensive skills under pressure that gave Wan the advantage on crucial points.
Lee was late to get off the block and Wan took advantage of his opponent’s sluggishness to pocket the first game. The Malaysian hit back in the second but it was the tenacity of the South Korean that saw his through in the decider.
At one stage, Wan looked like running away with the match when he opened up an 18-13 lead in the decider but Lee retaliated with some grate down the line smashes to take six points in row.
A mistake on the net dribble allowed Wan to level scores and the South Korean then kept his nerve and squeezed through the next two points to claim his maiden Super Series title.
“I have been playing well throughout this tournament and hence I was confident of a good show against Lee,” said Wan after the match.
Lee on his part was satisfied with his performance in the tournament.
“I am coming back after a shoulder injury I am happy that I managed to reach the final. He was the better player today and he won,” said the World No.1.
The women’s singles final also provided an exciting end to the tournament in front of a sizeable crowd at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.
With the women’s doubles pair of Yixin Bao and Qianxin Zhong losing the final and no other Chinese contender in the other three categories, the badminton powerhouse needed Li to come good against Schenk, who had accounted for two of their stars in the earlier rounds.
The second seed began erratically in the first game as Schenk kept mixing her game plan. But once she managed to understand what her opponent was trying to do, Li began to control the rallies and consolidated her position in the top-four of the world ranking in the last competition of the London Olympic qualification period with a 14-21, 21-17, 21-8 victory over giant killer Schenk in 47 minutes.
Following the first game reversal, Li raced to an 8-0 lead by forcing Schenk to take risks to earn points. The German fell for the trap initially but managed to come back with some lucky net chords and a combative approach that makes her a very difficult opponent.
However, Li kept her cool despite Schenk closing on her at 17-16 after having led 15-6 at one stage.
The decider proved to be a one-sided affair as Schenk got desperate to take control of the match and made too many errors in the bargain.
Women’s singles: 2-Li Xuerui (CHN) bt Juliane Schenk (GER) 14-21, 21-17, 21-8
Women’s doubles: 6-Ha Na Kim/Kyung Eun Jung (KOR) bt Qianxin Zhong/Yixin Bao (CHN) 21-17, 21-18
Men’s singles: Wan Ho Shon (KOR) bt 1-Lee Chong Wei (MAS) 21-18, 14-21, 21-19
Men’s doubles: Bodin Issara/Maneepong Jongjit (THA) bt 2-Sung Hyun Ko/Yeon Seong Yoo (KOR) 21-17, 14-21, 21-14
Mixed doubles: Tontowi Ahmad/Liliana Natsir (INA) bt Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam 21-16, 12-21, 21-14