Jonatan Christie and Akane Yamaguchi crowned men’s and women’s singles champion respectively Indonesia takes two champions to become biggest winner at Hong Kong Coliseum
VICTOR Hong Kong Open reached a conclusion today (Sep 17) with all five champions decided at Hung Hom Coliseum. Indonesia became the biggest winner with two champions in the men’s singles and women’s doubles. Its men’s singles winner Jonatan Christie also became the first Indonesian champion in Hong Kong since Budi Santoso made it in 1998, instilling a strong confidence for him to defend his Asian Games title ahead of the Hangzhou Games.
Organisers presented a simple but solemn opening ceremony with dancing performance before the finals started. Kicking off the curtain was the women’ s doubles, with world ranked number ten Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan of Malaysia taking on Apriyani Rahayu and Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti of Indonesia, who are two places ahead in the world rankings.
The two pairs met four times before with the Indonesians winning their last meeting in the 2022 World Tour Finals. The Malaysians, however, got off to a flying start with a 7-2 lead before extending it to 11-3 for the interval. The Indonesian pair fought hard after the break and closed the gap to 11-16, but that was the best they could offer before losing the first game 21-14.
Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan
The second game was more closely contested. Scores were leveled at 4-all, 8-all, 13-all, 18-all until 22-all after deuce when the Indonesian pair took two points in a row for a 24-22 win to equalise the overall score.
Apriyani Rahayu and Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti
Boosted by the result, the Indonesian pair took the initiative in the deciding game, running away with a comfortable 11-2 lead before the interval. Trailing 17-6, Pearly Tan injured her right leg during a save and although the Malaysian borne the pain to continue, there was little they could do before the Indonesians finished it off a 21-19 win to seal an overall 2-1 victory.
The second match of the finals featured Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, the top seed, and world ranked 17th Zhang Yi Man of China in the women’s singles. Despite winning all their three previous encounters, Yamaguchi found it difficult to repeat her feat as Zhang was once leading 9-8. The top player had to dig deep before gradually regaining her advantage with a 13-10 lead, extending it to 16-12 and reached the game points at 20-15. Zhang tried to save the game, taking three points in a row with strong support from the fans, but it came too late as Yamaguchi took the first game 21-18.
Zhang Yi Man
The Japanese player still got the upper hand in the second game, leading 11-9 to the interval before Zhang leveled it to 15-all. But that was the best the mainlander could offer as Yamaguchi took six successive points to clinch victory and her first title in the Hong Kong Open.
Another Japanese player started in the men’s singles final with Kenta Nishimoto taking on Jonatan Christie of Indonesia, who celebrated his 26-year-old birthday in Hong Kong on Friday. Now ranked sixth in the world, Christie enjoyed a high popularity in Hong Kong and the crowds roared when the player entered the courts. The two players have met 15 times before the final with Nishimoto holding a slight advantage of eight wins.
It was a close battle from the first minute as the score levelled at 7-all to 9-all when Nishimoto took nine points in a row to take the first game 21-12.
The second game was also closely contested as Christie could not afford anything but a victory. Nishimoto worked hard for a slender lead 16-14 before Christie came back to level the score and regained the lead 18-16. The game locked at 19-all before Christie pulled one back 22-20 after deuce, forcing a tie breaking third game.
Both players gave their best in the do-or-die third game. The score was levelled at 8-all before Christie took a 2-point lead 11-9 into the interval. The tight battle saw the score level at 15-all to 18-all when Christie took the advantage of a couple of mistakes made by Nishimoto to wrap up the title.
Leo Rolly Carnando and Daniel Marthin
The last but not least match was the men’s doubles final with Leo Rolly Carnando and Daniel Marthin of Indonesia, the sixth seeds, taking on seven seeds Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen of Denmark. The Danes pair holds a slight advantage after winning three times out of the five encounters between the two, including the Malaysia Open early this year.
Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen
But the Danes was still in dominance in the third, taking a 7-4 lead before the extending it to 11-10 heading to the interval. The second half was still under the Danes’ control as they led 18-16 and 20-19 until securing a 21-19 victory for the men’s doubles title.