(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Malaysia Masters: An Se Young has the answers
Date: 7/12/2022 11:36 AM
Published by : Yash Sharma
China and Indonesia clinched two titles each at the Super 500 event.

The 20-year-old Korean prodigy and star An Se Young, under the aegis of the superstar veteran Sung Ji Hyun, delivered perhaps her most assured performance in an already stellar career. Including the elements of Tai Tzu Ying, Carolina Marin, and Akane Yamaguchi in her game, she has developed a unique style. 

Having never beaten the Olympic champion Chen Yufei in seven previous attempts, An Se Young could do nothing wrong today. Her game had everything: sharp, steep, and surprise attack, miraculous defence, as well as unflagging rallying. She avenged the Uber Cup final loss in style, winning 21-17, 21-5. 

To her credit, the Chinese ace has been the most consistent women’s singles player so far. Chen Yufei has made at least the semifinals of every tournament except one this year. A solitary title in six finals is rather an indication of the effort required to outlast three or four quality opponents on consecutive days, not her game potential. Indeed, women’s singles is currently perhaps the most exciting of the five disciplines. 

Zheng/ Huang are unstoppable 
While arguably not as dominant as pre-COVID times, Zheng Siwei/ Huang Yaqiong are still the pair to beat on the circuit. They picked their sixth consecutive title on a 30 match-winning streak. The Chinese world number ones were careful to not trail early on and avoid getting under pressure. A decent performance, quite a bit off their physical best was enough to outplay Rinov Rivaldy/ Pitha Haningsyan Mentari 21-17, 21-12. 

Work ahead for Matsuyama/ Shida 
The legendary commentator Steen Pedersen has seldom pointed out Nami Matsuyama/ Chiharu Shida’s tendency to go for high-risk flamboyant shots at inopportune moments during the match. The Japanese get under pressure upon their inability to hammer their attacks past their opponents, while trying to rush things. Their meltdown against Lee So Hee/ Shin Seung Chan in the Uber Cup semifinal is a good example. 

In retrospect, their current game style is not an ideal strategy for big tournament finals. While they are second to none in their attack, slight modifications to their basic game can make the All England champions even tougher to beat. As it turned out, it was not their day as they unsuccessfully took on the impeccable Chen Qingchen/ Jia Yifan. The world champions won in an emphatic style 21-11, 21-12.

Double delight for Indonesia 
Following in the footsteps of Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Jonatan Christie, Indonesia has its third men’s singles star. With all his earlier matches going to a decider, Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo won the final against Ng Ka Long Angus in straight games 22-20, 21-15. Completely drained out after momentous work all week, it was the adrenaline that kept him going. The Asian Championships semifinalist clinched his first Super 500 trophy. 

Fajar Alfian/ Muhammad Rian Ardianto had the upper hand in the flat game against their seniors today. The Indonesians lifted their third title this year, besting the Daddies Mohammad Ahsan/ Hendra Setiawan 21-12, 21-19. 
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