Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Saina Nehwal triumph in Australian Open
Dane wins his first Superseries tournament while Indian star claims her second title down under
Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Saina Nehwal of India won the Australian Open Badminton Superseries titles in Sydney on Sunday.
Vittinghus defeated South Korean Jeon Hyeok-Jin to win his first Superseries title.
The 30-year-old Dane, ranked 12, finished strongly to beat Jeon 21-16, 19-21, 21-11 in 71 minutes.
He became the first Dane to win a Superseries tournament in two years and took away a US$41,000) cheque as the winner.
In the women’s singles final, India’s former world No 1 Nehwal fought back from a game down to overhaul China’s Sun Yu.
Nehwal, ranked eight, showed her trademark fighting qualities to beat the 12th-ranked Sun, 11-21, 21-14, 21-19 in 71 minutes.
Vittinghus sunk to his knees on claiming the title after coming up short winning the Superseries Masters final to China’s Chen Long in Dubai in 2014.
Chen, the world No 2, was knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open by Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting on Friday.
Vittinghus led Denmark to victory in the fifth and final match of last month’s Thomas Cup in China, the first time a European nation had won the men’s teams cup competition.
It was 26th-ranked Jeon’s first Superseries final and came a day before his 21st birthday.
Nehwal, 26, claimed her second Australian Open title, her 22nd career title and her first Superseries tournament since winning in India in March last year.
Nehwal’s retrieval game was outstanding as she wore down the tall 22-year-old Chinese to win on her second championship point in the third game.
Saina was first Indian woman to become world number one last year after winning the India Open. She also took silver at the World Championship in August in Jakarta, Indonesia and reached the final of November’s China Open before injuries resulted in a dip in form.
She has since had semi-final appearances at the India Open, Malaysia Open and Asian Championships, where she won a bronze medal.