SEOUL: South Korean underdogs gave the host country two surprising victories in the Korea Open badminton finals Sunday, while Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei confirmed his standing as the men’s world number one.
Lee defended his Korea Open title in the men’s singles, comfortably beating Du Pengyu of China 21-12, 21-15.
China, who won four out of five events in each of the two past Korea Opens, had to settle for women’s and mixed doubles titles, where the finals were all-Chinese affairs.
In the men’s doubles, feisty South Koreans Lee Yong-Dae and Ko Sung-Hyun upended Denmark’s world number one pairing of Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen, 19-21, 21-13, 21-10, taking advantage of the Danes’ sloppy play in the third set.
Holding on to a 13-10 lead in the decisive frame, the South Koreans reeled off eight straight points to clinch their first Korea Open together, their fourth tournament victory since becoming partners last September.
In the women’s singles, unseeded Sung Ji-Hyun upset the defending champion Wang Shixian of China 21-12, 22-20 for South Korea’s second win, avenging her loss to Wang in the 2010 final.
Sung came back from 6-2 down to take the first set, and quickly turned a 9-4 disadvantage into a 10-9 lead in the second. Wang, down 19-15, forced Sung into a deuce before conceding the final two points and the title.
In the all-China women’s doubles final, the top-seeded Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli defeated Ma Jin and Tang Jinhua, 21-17, 21-13, for their second Korea Open title in three years.
Yu and Wang were among eight female badminton players to be disqualified from the London Olympics in a "play-to-lose" scandal.
They were cleared by the Chinese authorities to compete right away, and they have now won three of the four events since London.
Ma suffered her second defeat of the day in the mixed doubles when fellow Chinese Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei took down Ma and Xu Chen 13-21, 21-16, 21-13, denying the world number ones their second straight Korea Open.