BADMINTON: Stunning wins for Christie and An in New Zealand Open, but a bad day for 2012 Olympic champs

Shocking winner of the New Zealand Open: Korea's Se Young An! (Photo: BWF/Jonathan Stone)

The long path to stardom always starts with surprise wins at smaller-scale tournaments, so did we see the start for two new stars in the finals of the New Zealand Open?

Korea’s 17-year-old Se Young An pulled a shocker with a 21-19, 21-15 win over 2012 Olympic Champion Xuerui Li of China in the women’s Singles, and Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie clubbed surprise finalist Ka Long Angus Ng (HKG), 21-12, 21-13.

An said afterwards, “I have been doing extra training by myself, but I didn’t expect to win so early. I am working hard and am already playing against the top players with more experience.”

Christie, 21, known as “Jojo,” won his first BWF World Tour title, defeating Ng, who himself pulled an upset with his semifinal win over 2012 Olympic champ Lin Dan of China (21-13, 21-11). Christie won the final cleanly, 21-12, 21-13. Said the winner, “I am very excited with this being my first time as a champion on the HSBC BWF World Tour at the Super 300 level. I now hope to be champion at the Super 500, Super 750 and maybe Super 1000 level.”

Another pair to watch will be Korea’s So Yeoung Kim and Hee Yong Kong, who has never defeated a Japanese pair coming into the tournament. But they defeated no. 2-ranked Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota in the semis and then cruised past 2016 Olympic gold medalists Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi in the final, 21-15, 21-18.

“Before we never thought we could, but yesterday we did and now we know we can do it. That was the difference mentally,” Kim said. “Because my partner is quite young and can get emotional, I calmed her down and had faith in her power to win the points.”

Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan won their second title of the season in the men’s Doubles and second-seeded Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh won a thrilling match against Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti by winning the marathon third set by 29-27! Summaries:

BWF World Tour/New Zealand Open
Auckland (NZL) ~ 30 April-5 May 2019
(Full results here)

Men/Singles: 1. Jonatan Christie (INA); 2. Ka Long Angus Ng (HKG); 3. Kanta Tsuneyama (JPN) and Dan Lin (CHN). Semis: Christie d. Tsuneyama, 21-12, 21-15; Ng d. Lin, 21-13, 21-11. Final: Christie d. Ng, 21-12, 21-13.

Men/Doubles: 1. Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan (INA); 2. Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe (JPN); 3. V. Shem Goh/Wee Kiong Tan (MAS) and Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda (JPN). Semis: Ahsan/Setiawan d. Goh/Tan, 21-19, 18-21, 21-14; Endo/Watanabe d. Kamura/Sonoda, 21-12, 23-21. Final: Ahsan/Setiawan d. Endo/Watanabe, 20-22, 21-15, 21-17.

Women/Singles: 1. Se Young An (KOR); 2. Xuerui Li (CHN); 3. Aya Ohori (JPN) and Akane Yamaguchi (JPN). Semis: An d. Ohori, 21-17, 19-21, 21-13; Li d. Yamaguchi, 13-21, 21-19, 21-13. Final: An d. Li, 21-19, 21-15.

Women/Doubles: 1. So Yeong Kim/Hee Yong Kong (KOR); 2. Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi (JPN); 3. Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota (JPN) and Wenjing Dong/Xueying Feng (CHN). Semis: Kim/Kong d. Fukushima/Hirota, 18-21, 24-22, 21-18; Matsutomo/Takahashi d. Dong/Feng, 23-21, 21-19. Final: Kim/Kong d. Matsutomo/Yamaguchi, 21-15, 21-18.

Mixed Doubles: 1. Peng Soon Chan/Liu Ying Goh (MAS); 2. Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti (INA); 3. Hafiz Faisal/Gloria Emmanuelle Widjaja (INA) and Chi-Lin Wang/Chi Ya Cheng (TPE). Semis: Chan/Goh d. Faisal/Widjaja, 21-14, 21-18; Jordan/Oktavianti d. Wang/Cheng, 21-12, 23-21. Final: Chan/Goh d. Jordan/Oktavianti, 21-14, 16-21, 29-27.