There was a time – five years ago – when Korea’s Sung Ko and Baek-Cheol Shin were on top of the world as the World Champions in men’s Doubles. But after retiring following the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, they have faded from the scene.
But no more. Unseeded going into the Australian Open in Sydney, the stormed through their bracket and would up facing reigning World Champions Junhui Li and Yuchen Liu (CHN) in the semifinals. The Korean stars won the first set, 21-11, then lost the second (14-21) before rebounding to win the third, 21-17, and move on to the final against Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda of Japan, the Worlds silver medalists.
No problem, as the Koreans dominated the final with a 21-11, 21-17 win and their first World Tour win of this season. Are Ko and Shin back just in time for an Olympic run after not making the Korean team in 2016?
China won two divisions in Sydney, with no. 2-ranked Yufei Chen defeating no. 3 Nozomi Okuhara (JPN) in straight sets, and no. 2-ranked Yilyu Wang and Dongping Huang winning the Mixed Doubles in straight sets. Summaries:
BWF World Tour/Australian Open
Sydney (AUS) ~ 4-9 June 2019
(Full results here)
Men/Singles: 1. Jonatan Christie (INA); 2. Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (INA); 3. Tien Chen Chou (TPE) and Tzu Wei Wang (TPE). Semis: Ginting d. Wang, 21-17, 21-14; Christie d. Chou, 22-20, 13-21, 21-16. Final: Christie d. Ginting, 21-17, 13-21, 21-14.
Men/Doubles: 1. Sung Ko/Baek-Cheol Shin (KOR); 2. Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda (JPN);
3. SolGyu Choi/Seung Jae Seo (KOR) and Junhui Li/Yuchen Liu (CHN). Semis: Kamura/Sonoda d. 23-25, 21-19, 21-14; Ko/Shin d. Li/Liu, 21-11, 14-21, 21-17. Final: Ko/Shin d. Kamura/Sonoda, 21-11, 21-17.
Women/Singles: 1. Yufei Chen (CHN); 2. Nozomi Okuhara (JPN); 3. Ratchanok Intanon (THA) and Nitchaon Jindapol (THA). Semis: Okuhara d. Intanon, 21-17, 21-15; Chen d. Jindapol, 21-10, 23-25, 21-6. Final: Chen d. Okuhara, 21-15, 21-3.
Women/Doubles: 1. Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota (JPN); 2. Qingchen Chen/Yifan Jia (CHN); 3. Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) and Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu (INA). Semis: Fukushima/Jirota d. Matsutomo/Takahashi, 15-21, 21-15, 23-21; Chen/Jia d. Polii/Rahayu, 21-13, 14-21, 21-18. Final: Fukushima/Hirota d. Chen/Jia, 21-10, 21-16.
Mixed Doubles: 1. Yilyu Wang/Dongping Huang (CHN); 2. Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti (INA); 3. Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino (JPN) and Chun Man Tang/Ying Suet Tse (HKG). Semis: Wang/Huang d. Tang/Tse, 21-13, 21-10; Jordan/Oktavianti d. Watanabe/Higashino, 21-13, 12-21, 21-17. Final: Wang/Huang d. Jordan/Oktavianti, 21-15, 21-8.