: For the past year, Thailand’s teen sensation Ratchanok Intaton is being seen as the champion of the future. She has some great results in the senior ranks, following her three straight World junior titles, on way to the sixth spot in the world rankings.
It was only a matter of time before Ratchanok won her first major title.
On Sunday, the youngster clinched the $200,000 India Open title after defeating higher-ranked German Juliane Schenk, who had to settle for the runner-up spot for the second year running.
Ratchanok, seeded four, won 22-20, 21-14.
The men’s final saw World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei shake off the inconsistency of the second game to stop a fighting Japanese Kenichi Tago 21-15, 18-21, 21-17 for the 13th time in succession. In fact, in the 12 previous meetings, the Malaysian dropped only two games, but on this day, Tago came close to victory.
After sharing the first two games in a high-quality title clash lasting 62 minutes, Lee Chong Wei broke free from 7-7 to lead 16-9.
Tago did manage to close the gap to 16-17, but the Malaysian was not to be denied his 47th career title.
“I guess I did not play very well, but I am happy to win,” said the champion after regaining the title won in 2011. On dropping the second game, the Malaysian smiled and said, “I usually lose the second game, but its fine.”
Juliane, who lost five of the eight encounters against her teenaged rival, knew what to expect. But Ratchanok, finalist at the All England Championship last month, continued her domination of the 30-year-old German.
Enjoying a 10-5 lead in the opener, Juliane could not prevent the resurgent Thai from making it 11-11 and then racing away to 20-13. Undeterred, Juliane used all her experience to save seven game-points. But it was Ratchanok who held her nerve and forced two successive errors at the net to snatch the game. In the second game, Ratchanok broke away from 7-7 to assert her superiority. “She played the deciding points better,” said Juliane, adding that the Thai was a great talent and deserved to win.
Ratchanok, beaming after her maiden BWF World Super Series triumph, referred to the close first game and said, “From 20-13, I wanted to finish the first game quickly, but let Juliane draw level.”
Reigning All England mixed doubles champions and ranked second in the world, Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir completed a hat-trick of titles here.
They beat unseeded Koreans Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na 21-16, 21-13 in 33 minutes for their 11th title since coming together in 2010.
Former World championship bronze medallist and Japanese women’s pair of Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna regained the title won in 2011.
The fourth seeds rallied from 18-19 in the second game to overpower London Olympics bronze medallists Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, seeded two, 12-21, 23-21, 21-18 in 59 minutes for their third successive triumph in six meetings.
In the men’s doubles, the eighth-seeded Chinese pair of Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan defeated third-seeded Koreans Ko Sung Hyun and Lee Yong Dae 22-20, 21-18 to repeat the result of this year’s German Open.
The results (Finals, prefix denotes seeding):
Men’s singles : 1-Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt 6-Kenichi Tago (Jpn) 21-15, 18-21, 21-17.
Women’s singles : 3-Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) bt 2-Juliane Schenk (Ger) 22-20, 21-14; Men’s doubles : 8-Liu Xiaolong & Qiu Zihan (Chn) bt 3-Ko Sung Hyun & Lee Yong Dae (Kor) 22-20, 21-18.
Women’s doubles : 4-Miyuki Maeda & Satoko Suetsuna (Jpn) bt 2-Christinna Pedersen & Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den) 12-21, 23-21, 21-18.
Mixed doubles :
1-Tontowi Ahmad & Liliyana Natsir (Ina) bt Ko Sung Hyun & Kim Ha Na (Kor) 21-16, 21-13.