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22 Sep, 2019
Carolina Marin successfully defended her China Open title with a come-from-behind win over second seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei. Playing just her second tournament after a horrific knee injury derailed her 2019 season, Marin looked slightly jaded in the first game but then came back in stunning fashion to win the title in three thrilling games.
Tai Tzu has a 7-4-win record against Marin and had won the previous six encounters. This positive record certainly gave her the confidence to make a positive start against the Olympic Champion. Marin trailed 8-11 at the mid game interval, and Tai Tzu further stretched her lead after the interval. While Marin, did try her best to stay in the game, Tai Tzu managed to hold her composure to take the opening game.
The second game also followed a similar trajectory with Carolina struggling to find her rhythm in the first half. Tai Tzu raced to a 4-0 lead, and then consolidated her position, leading 12-8. Time was fast running out for Marin, and she finally managed to put together a string of points together to tie the game at 12-12. With Marin in the ascendency, Tai Tzu found the going difficult and she lost the second game.
The decider was always going to be tight, and both players jostled for the lead in the early exchanges. Marin held the slightest edge at the mid game interval and then consolidated her position five points on the bounce to lead 19-13 – just two points from victory. Tai Tzu, however, wasn’t going to give up so easily as she stormed back into contention when she closed the gap to 19-13.
Marin had one game point saved, nut she put the second one away, as she collapsed on the court and burst into tears having comeback from the brink to register a fantastic victory. Tai Tzu, ever so gracious in defeat walked over to the other side of the net and offered a warm embrace to the champion.
The week caps off a fantastic comeback for Carolina, who’s just playing her second tournament since her comeback from an ACL injury. And a victory at the China Open, not only bolsters her confidence but also puts her back into the mix to qualify for the world tour finals in Guangzhou later in the year.
In the men’s singles, defending champion Anthony Sinsuka Ginting looked to be heading for a second straight win in Changzhou when he took the opening game against world number #1 – Kento Momota. The Japanese made a strong come back in the second to force a decider. He then held his nerve, and a resurgent challenge from Anthony Ginting to take the game, match and championship 19-21 21-17 22-20 in a marathon tie lasting an hour and 30 minutes.
Earlier in the day, Zheng Si Wei & Hunag Ya Qiong opened the proceedings on the finals’ day with a 21-17 13-21 21-16 win in the mixed doubles event. While fourth seeds Chen Qing Chen & Jia Yi Fan had a relatively easy win over defending champions Misaki Matsumoto & Ayaka Takahashi of Japan – 21-14 21-18 – the final score line for the women’s doubles title.
The men’s doubles encounter between Marcus Fernaldi/Kevin Sanjaya & Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan was the final match-up of the day. It was a tight opening game to kick-off proceedings, but Marcus/Kevin kept their composure to prise it at the end. The second game also remained a tight affair until the mid-game interval, and post interval Ahsan/Setiawan asserted their dominance to level things up.
In the decider Marcus/Kevin made a dominant start to open up a 16-6 lead. And despite a late surge by the challengers they managed to hold their nerve and close the match 21-18 17-21 21-15 in 42 minutes to win their second super 1000 title of the year.
The China Open 2019, thus lived up to its billing of being one of the most prestigious events on the BWF Calendar. There were some stirring performances all week long and especially the semi-finals & finals producing some fantastic matches all around.