Wang Yihan was the only Chinese player who created an upset on finals day at he 2009 Yonex German Open, beating her top-seeded compatriot, Zhu Lin. Zhao Yunlei claimed two titles while Japan’s new duo will go home empty-handed after losing to Korean heroes Lee and Shin.
It all started with the women’s doubles final between two Chinese, Cheng Shu / Zhao Yunlei and Pan Pan / Tian Qing. In the first set, Cheng/Zhao dominated the rallies with their attacks. Rallies lasted long as both relied on impressive defense, but in the end Cheng/Zhao failed to give ‘finishing touch’ and let Pan and Tian take the first one 21-18.
The tables were turned in the second game. Cheng/Zhao played more aggressively with their placing and beautiful net winners. Leading 11-7 in the interval, Cheng/Zhao forced the decider 21-13 before claiming their first title 21-16 in the final game.
The next match was to field some other outstanding Chinese ladies: Zhu Lin and Wang Yihan . Both players seem to have equal skills in attacking and placing. But Zhu has more experience and she showed it by taking a first set lead 14-5 and 19-10. But then suddenly Yihan found her magic to collect 7 consecutive points from 13-20 to 20-all. Zhu set her mind straight and won 22-20.
At her best, Wang Yihan proved she could beat Tine Rasmussen and Zhou Mi, as indeed she did at the Japan Open and China Masters Super Series events this past fall and she found that winning spirit again in the next two games. The 21-year-old Shanghai girl used her sharp smash to lead Zhu Lin 7-3, 11-8, 15-10 before finishing it 21-13. Same thing happened in the decider when she was able to step out to huge lead at 18-10 before ensuring her title 21-13 over the reigning World Champion.
Yihan’s success in creating an upset could not be followed by Gong Weijie in the men’s singles. Gong lost to his veteran compatriot Bao Chunlai in 39 minutes in spite of an early 11-7 lead in the first game. Bao used his strategy to tie up the score at 13-all before nailing it 21-18.
The second game saw Bao play very well at the net. After trailing 1-5, he reversed the score into a 10-6 lead which he held onto for a final 21-14 success, proving he was the man in form even after being away from the courts for so long. It’s a clear warning for Lin Dan, who will be his second round opponent next week in the Yonex All England.
The only non-Chinese match happened in the men’s doubles category, which was more exciting than the other match on paper as it was contested by pairs from different nations. Yet it turned out to lack suspense in the end. The Japanese pair of Kenichi Hayakawa / Kenta Kazuno, who had destroyed Tony Gunawan / Howard Bach’s hopes in the previous round, performed below par when they faced Lee Yong Dae partnering with Shin Baek Cheol.
Most of Lee/Shin’s points were won from their attacks while the Japanese were making too many errors. Lee Yong Dae and his new partner won in straight games 21-13, 21-16 and claimed their first victory as a pair while Jung Jae Sung is stuck with obligations at home. It was also the first major title ever for the 19-year-old Shin, who kept his nerves under control even as he struggled with his defense as the Japanese directed the majority of their attacks at him.
Zhao Yunlei added a second title to her successes of the day, in the mixed double,s partnering Xu Chen. The young duo won a thrilling match against their compatriots Zheng Bo / Ma Jin. Xu/Zhao put Zheng/Ma under pressure from the beginning of the first set with fast drives and attacking smashes. Leading 14-10, Xu/Zhao gave Zheng/Ma time to develop their game and the latter got back to lead 18-17. Zhao did her part of the job at the net and helped her team seal the first game 21-18.
Their opponents took an early lead in the second, but Xu and Zhao crawled back to lead 19-17 and then secured two match points at 20-18. They however blew their two chances as Zheng/Ma leveled the score at 21-all but their luck finally prevailed and they finally won 23-21.