Auckland: Malaysia’s No. 1 women’s pair Vivian Hoo Kah Mun/Woon Khe Wei breezed into the final of New Zealand Open on Saturday. This was their first international tournament final since reaching the 2015 Syed Modi International Badminton Championships final.
In the semi-finals, Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei showed their fighting spirit in coming back from a set down to overcome Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu of Indonesia 21-18, 13-21, 21-13 in a nail-biter semi-final match that lasted 81 minutes.
The Malaysian women’s doubles pair will face a formidable challenge in the final as they will take on No. 4 seeds Ayako Sakuramoto/Yukiko Takahata of Japan.
There was double joy for Malaysia on Saturday as men’s doubles pair Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi also entered the final after swatting Chinese pair He Jiting/Tan Qiang aside in straight sets 21-19, 21-11. Ong/Teo are set to meet No. 1 seeds Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin of Taiwan on Sunday.
In women’s singles, Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon booked her place in the final after notched up a straight-set victory over No. 4 seeds Hanna Ramadini of Indonesia 21-13, 21-17 in 44 minutes. Intanon will play Saena Kawakami of Japan for the women’s singles title. The fifth seeded Kawakami had to fend off a determined fightback from Fitriani Fitriani of Indonesia, before winning the semi-final 21-12, 17-21, 21-17.
The New Zealand Open final will be Kawakami’s fourth final in a BWF Grand Prix Gold event this year, after winning in Canada and Chinese Taipei and finishing runner-up at the China Masters.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu managed to prevent an all Chinese Taipei final by outlasted No. 6 seed Hsu Jen Hao 21-12, 21-19.
Lee will clash with No. 1 seed Wang Tzu Wei in the final. Wang romped to a 21-11 21-12 victory over eleventh seeded compatriot Lin Yu Hsien in other men’s singles semi-final match.