Sydney: If you think that the 2014 World Champions Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Cheol just got lucky by winning the 2019 Australian Open title on Sunday, you should think again.
The World No. 34 Korean pair has crafted huge wins enroute to the Australian Open final by defeating World No. 4 Hendra Setiawan/Mohammad Ahsan in the quarter-final, World No. 3 Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen in the semi-final and ultimately playing aggressive attacks and net shots coupled with strong defense to toppled World No. 2 Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda 21-11, 21-17 in the Australian Open final. The victory was Ko/Shin’s first ever BWF World tour title.
After their success at the 2014 World Championships in Copenhagen, both Ko/Shin’s have experienced a “roller-coaster” ride in their career where Shin left Korean national team before the 2016 Rio Olympic, and was deemed not eligible to enter the BWF international ranking tournament until he has turned 31 years of age.
Ko Sung-hyun also announced his retirement from the Korean national team in early 2017.
In May 2018, Ko/Shin won their one-year legal battle against the Korean Badminton Association (BKA) for denying them the right to compete in the BWF-sanctioned tournaments as independent shuttlers until the Korean shuttlers turned age 31 (age 29 for female players). That lawsuit has forced the Korean badminton body to scrap age restrictions for non-national team players.
In men’s singles, both Jonatan Christie and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia were made to work for their first encounter of the season.
The No. 3 seed Christie dominated the first set 21-17. However, Christie couldn’t maintain an 8-4 by allowing Ginting to come from behind to claim the second set 21-13.
Christie then reeled off a 7-0 run in the decider to put himself in front with 15-8 before clinching the title with 21-14 in the third game.
Meanwhile, the women’s event saw No. 2 seed Chen Yufei sealed the victory for China as Chen demolished No. 1 seed Nozomi Okuhara 21-15, 21-3 in just 34 minutes.
In two other finals, Japan’s No. 2 seeds Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota needed 53 minutes to beat No. 3 seeds Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan 21-10, 21-16 while top seeded mixed doubles pair Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping won the Australian Open crown by outlasting No. 6 seeds Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti 21-15, 21-8 in 35 minutes.