Looking back at the past 5 years of the Malaysia Open SSP

Malaysia Open
Action during the Malaysia Open 2014.
Sudeshna Banerjee

Action is heating up in the badminton circuit with the main draw play about to start at the season’s second Superseries Premier tournament – the Malaysia Open in Shah Alam. Players will be keen to give their very best to put themselves in a comfortable position ahead of the Olympics.

As a new edition of the Malaysia Open begins, let us have a look at the singles performances in this event in the past five seasons. Will there be a repeat winner or shall we witness a new champion this time?

2015: Carolina Marin and Chen Long overcome tough hurdles

The Malaysia Open Superseries Premier title was one of the triumphs for both Chen Long and Carolina Marin in their banner year. And both did not have it easy in the final after cruising through the early rounds.

The-then All England Open champion Marin had the tougher job of the two as she faced the top seed and defending champion Li Xuerui and the match turned out to be an extremely hard-fought affair. Ultimately it was the Spaniard’s lightning pace and unbreakable determination that paved the way for her 19-21, 21-19, 21-17 win.

Chen Long had a losing 1-7 head-to-head record against his compatriot, the two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan. However, his sole victory over the legend happened to have come in their very last meeting at the All England Open just a few days back. It motivated the top seed to eventually come through, 20-22, 21-13, 21-11.

Indian performance: The then-World No. 1 Saina Nehwal was the best Indian performer. She had come into this tournament on the back of a memorable victory at the India Open which fetched her the much-coveted numero uno spot. Her eight-match winning streak was ended by the reigning Olympic gold medallist Li Xuerui in a thrilling semi-final, 13-21, 21-17, 22-20.

2014: Li Xuerui and Lee Chong Wei reign supreme

The title win at the Malaysia Open, staged in January, kickstarted a grand year for China’s superstar Li Xuerui, who went on to add three more Superseries crowns as well as the Asian Games gold in 2014. She was largely unchallenged at this Kuala Lumpur tournament except in the second round where Japan’s Eriko Hirose stretched her to three games.

In the summit clash, she made short work of her countrywoman, the second-seeded Shixian Wang, 21-16, 21-17. This was her maiden triumph at the Malaysia Open SSP.

The local favourite and top seed Lee Chong Wei emerged the winner in men’s singles once again, much to the delight of the home crowd. This was Lee’s happy hunting ground, having won a whopping nine times at the Malaysia Open prior to this. But this was a special final as this was the first time that the tournament had been elevated to the status of a Superseries Premier event. There was no change in the result as Lee was the undisputed hero once again, taking the title with a 21-19, 21-9 win over Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto.

Indian performance: None of the Indians managed to reach the semi-finals. Kidambi Srikanth was the last Indian standing who fell to eventual runner-up Sugiarto, 10-21, 15-21 in the quarter-finals.

2013: Lee Chong Wei continues to rule, Tai Tzu Ying surprise champion

Sixth-seeded Tai Tzu Ying was in impeccable form at this tournament and accounted for two of the top three seeds en route to winning the title for the first time. In the semi-finals, she prevailed over the top-seeded Saina Nehwal while in the quarters, she saw off the third-seeded Tine Baun.

The final was a relatively comfortable affair for the Chinese Taipei shuttler, who beat the unseeded Chinese Yao Xue, 21-17, 21-14.

Nobody could topple Malaysia’s biggest favourite and top seed Lee Chong Wei at his home event. Danish sixth seed Jan O Jorgensen came close in the semi-finals and was the only opponent to take a game off the legendary player.

The Malaysian only gained in confidence after that tight contest and there was no stopping him in the final. Lee thrashed Sony Dwi Kuncoro, 21-7, 21-8 to lay his hands on the Malaysia Open trophy for the ninth time.

Indian performance: The top-seeded Nehwal was the one flying the Indian Tricolour high before going down to Tai Tzu Ying 20-22, 14-21 in the semi-finals.

2012: Wang Yihan’s first crown, Lee Chong Wei invincible

After losing the final to compatriot Wang Shixian in 2011, top seed Wang Yihan bounced back in style to take the title the very next year. Yihan did not drop a game all along, beating two future World No. 1s – Li Xuerui and Saina Nehwal – with consummate ease.

In the final, she trounced second seed Wang Xin 21-19, 21-11 to grab this title for the first time.

The king of the Malaysia Open, Lee Chong Wei proved himself worthy of the crown yet again. Chen Long, then all of 22 years, was the only player who managed to give some resistance to Lee and took him to the decider in the last-four. Otherwise, the Olympic silver medallist had a smooth path all the way to the title, pummelling the former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat 21-9, 21-18 in the quarters.

The final was even easier as he pulverized Japan’s Kenichi Tago, 21-6, 21-13.

Indian performance: Saina Nehwal’s challenge was ended by eventual winner Wang Yihan, 15-21, 16-21 in the semis.

2011: Lee Chong Wei and Wang Shixian emerge victorious

Just days after ascending to the World No. 1 ranking, Wang Shixian played some supremely confident badminton at the 2011 Malaysia Open. She was put to a stern test by Cheng Shao Chieh in the quarter-finals. But Shixian stormed back after losing a game and outlasted the unseeded player, 19-21, 21-17, 21-9.

The final was a blockbuster one as she faced the third seed Wang Yihan. But Shixian played smartly to deny any chance to her compatriot and won 21-18, 21-14. This was her first title at this event.

Lee Chong Wei was in red hot form and won all his matches in straight games. He blitzed past Taufik Hidayat 21-8, 21-17 in the final to clinch his seventh title at the Malaysia Open.

Indian performance: In the absence of Saina Nehwal, the mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju were the only Indians to progress to the second round where they lost to the fourth seeds Chen Hung Ling/Cheng Wen Hsing, 22-20, 15-21, 19-21.

Edited by Staff Editor


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