(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Singapore Open 2022: Anthony Sinisuka Ginting finds top gear
Date: 7/18/2022 10:28 PM
Published by : Yash Sharma
The Indonesian men’s singles ace completed his country’s three-title haul at the recently concluded Super 500 event.

Following a career-best Olympic bronze medal win in Tokyo, the Indonesian star Anthony Sinisuka Ginting struggled through an extended low-confidence phase. His shot quality was there, but there was unsureness in his strokes. Consequently, he regularly lost to lower-ranked opponents. In particular, his Thomas Cup final loss to Lakshya Sen had eventually resulted in a historic moment for Indian badminton.   

In the same tournament, he started showing glimpses of his best form and has steadily improved over the last two months. With confidence back, he played a positive tournament last week to clinch the Singapore Open crown, his first title in two years. 

A star is born 
Kodai Naraoka is the new find for Japan. The 21-year-old has come of age and played spectacular badminton in Singapore. While he eventually lost to an impressive Ginting 23-21, 21-17 in almost an hour, he overcame the likes of Weng Hong Yang, Jonatan Christie, HS Prannoy, and Zhao Junpeng on his way to the final. 

The men’s singles category is bubbling with new talent. It is bound to be even more exciting in near future, as the young guns Lakshya Sen, Li Shifeng, Kunlavut Vitidsarn, and others challenge the world’s best. 

Triple delight for Indonesia
The badminton powerhouse also clinched two doubles titles. The men’s doubles title was a done deal as early as Friday, which shows the nation’s depth in the category. Leo Rolly Carnando/ Daniel Marthin showed an exemplary fighting spirit. The future stars got the better of their illustrated seniors Muhammad Ahsan/ Hendra Setiawan and Fajar Alfian/ Muhammad Rian Ardianto on consecutive days. They won the final in three games 9-21, 21-14, 21-16. 

The Olympic champion Apriyani Rahayu partnered with Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti just two months back. Incredibly, the pair has already won three titles, reaching four finals in six tournaments. The Southeast Asian Games champions beat Zhang Shuxian/ Zheng Yu 21-14, 21-17 yesterday. Indeed, they can be the pair to beat, given their positive yet overwhelming attacking style. 

The defending champions
Dechapol Puavaranukroh/ Sapsiree Taerattanachai successfully defended their mixed doubles crown in Singapore. They had won the last edition of the tournament in 2019. Interestingly, they convincingly beat the Olympic champions Wang Yilyu/ Huang Dongping for the third consecutive time 21-12, 21-17. It is more so an indication of the Chinese’s lower form post-Tokyo win, rather than the world champions’ present level. 

The Thais have been unable to replicate their best form since the loss in Tokyo. It was a class act by them in Singapore in 2019: they had beaten Zheng Siwei/ Huang Yaqiong, who had won 58 of their last 59 matches, in the semifinals for the first time.

Third title for Sindhu
The Indian superstar Pusarla V Sindhu lifted her third Super 500 title of the year, following wins in India and Switzerland. She made short work of the upcoming Chinese star Wang Zhiyi 21-9, 11-21, 21-15. The former world champion has a strong record over the Chinese players. Indeed, one of her biggest wins came against Wang Yihan in the Rio quarterfinals. 

However, there is a big shortcoming in the Indian’s game. The tall athlete’s weak backhand defence has been exploited by many opponents with different playing styles. As long as Sindhu does not work on her vulnerability, even her thunderous smashes might not be good enough to win the biggest tournaments occasionally. 
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