CANADA OPEN Finals – Four first titles, one streak starts
- Mon, 17 Jul 2017 12:45
By Don Hearn. Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live)
It was 22 years ago that Kim Won Ho’s mother came to North America and left with two Canada Open titles and two U.S. Open titles. At that time, she was a veteran with an Olympic bronze medal to her name and she arrived with two teenaged partners, one with whom she had won the World Championship a few months before and the other with whom she would win Olympic gold a year later.
Kim Won Ho is at the opposite end of his career but he still leaves Calgary with one title after he and Shin Seung Chan got the better of top-seeded compatriots Choi Sol Gyu and Chae Yoo Jung. At this point, these four pairs are ready to go south of the border to try their hand at further success in the U.S. Open.
Kim was the only possible first-time title-winner on court in mixed but in women’s doubles, only Wakana Nagahara had tasted Grand Prix success previously and indeed, it was she and partner Mayu Matsumoto who stood atop the podium when the three games finally ended on Sunday.
All four finalists are now bound for the U.S. Open, where the winners will attempt to improve on their runner-up finish from last year and where Nagahara will again attempt to reach two finals.
So many of the winners from the recent Chinese Taipei Open had promising runs at the Canada Open but in the end, only Japan’s Saena Kawakami was able to create a winning streak. She won three close games against two-time European Championship runner-up Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland.
Still only 19 years of age, Kawakami thus added a fourth to her collection of Grand Prix titles, two of which have come at Grand Prix Gold events. If she wants to keep her streak alive, though, she has her work cut out for her, as former World #1 Saina Nehwal is in her quarter in the U.S. Open, along with her last three opponents in Calgary: Suzuki, Takahashi, and Gilmour.
After beating Kenta, Kento can’t take Kanta
Kento Momota may have steamed through the men’s singles draw at the Canada Open like a born winner but Kanta Tsuneyama proved he was ready to take his first major title. He edged Momota in their opening game before the two players traded one-sided games, leaving the 21-year-old with the title.
Like his compatriots Matsumoto and Nagahara, Tsuneyama heads to the U.S. Open as the 2016 runner-up with a first Grand Prix title under his belt. The field strength will be almost identical to this week, but Momota withdrew after not making the qualifying list and Hong Kong Open runner-up Sameer Verma will be in attendance after missing Canada due to visa issues.
One for England, not two for Won Ho
By the start of the last match, Kim Won Ho had a chance at becoming the youngest ever player to achieve a doubles double at the Grand Prix level. The Korean is still a couple of months younger than Zheng Siwei was when he won men’s and mixed doubles titles at the New Zealand Open Grand Prix Gold two years ago.
Unfortunately for him, though, England’s Peter Briggs / Tom Wolfenden had their sights set on titling in their first ever Grand Prix final and their vision turned out the be the clearest. After the Koreans bounced back from a narrow defeat in the opener to secure the tying game, the Brits surged ahead to a 14-8 lead in the decider. The Koreans reeled them in twice but the English pair survived and took it in three.
XD: Kim Won Ho / Shin Seung Chan (KOR) beat Choi Sol Gyu / Chae Yoo Jung (KOR)  21-19, 21-16
WD: Mayu Matsumoto / Wakana Nagahara (JPN)  beat Chisato Hoshi / Naru Shinoya (JPN) 21-16, 16-21, 21-18
WS: Saena Kawakami (JPN) beat Kirsty Gilmour (SCO) 19-21, 21-19, 21-18
MS: Kanta Tsuneyama (JPN)  beat Kento Momota (JPN) 22-20, 14-21, 21-14
MD: Peter Briggs / Tom Wolfenden (ENG)  beat Kim Won Ho / Seo Seung Jae (KOR) 22-20, 16-21, 21-19