Sa-rang and Gi-jung rediscover old form to claim doubles crown


Man Wei Chong (left) and Tee Kai Wun had to settle for second best to former world No. 2 Kim Gi-jung-Kim Sa-rang

PETALING JAYA: A second competitive tournament was all it took for former partners Kim Sa-rang-Kim Gi-jung to get back to winning ways.

On Saturday, the ex-world No. 2 Koreans who reunited following their split in 2016, defeated Malaysia’s Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun 21-18, 18-21, 21-15 to win the doubles crown at the Welsh Open in Cardiff.

The two-time World Championships bronze medallists were also semi-finalists at the Scottish Open the previous week.

It is not known if their partnership is a one-off thing but their fine showing suggests that they are still a force to be reckoned with.

Fellow ‘old horses’ Ko Sung-hyun-Shin Baek-cheol, who reunited in 2018, also enjoyed a successful comeback to the top-tier World Tour competitions by winning the French Open last month.

The quartet, alongside Lee Yong-dae and Yoo Yeon-seong were part of the Korean golden generation that lit up the doubles scene in 2010 until their retirement after the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Gi-jung also did well on his return by winning last year’s Malaysian Masters with Yong-dae. Sa-rang tried his luck with several partners including Malaysia’s Tan Boon Heong but made little impact.

Kai Wun reckoned Sa-rang-Gi-jung still have plenty of gas left in the tank as the Malaysians were also eliminated in straight games by them in the last eight in Scotland.

“They can still perform at the highest level,” confessed Kai Wun.

“We had our chance in the third game as they were already tired but we could not take advantage.

“Our style also worked in their favour as we rarely lift the shuttle high as they preferred a fast-paced game. The shuttle speed was also fast which made it difficult for us to play more shots and long rallies.”

With the defeat, Kai Wun-Wei Chong failed to add a fourth victory to their collection this year.

They had won the Polish Open, Spanish International and Irish Open. They were also runners-up at the Czech Open. l FINALS

Men’s singles: Arnaud Merkle (Fra) bt Siril Verma (Ind) 21-14, 11-21, 21-15.

Men’s doubles: Kim Gi-jung-Kim Sa-rang (Kor) bt Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun (Mas) 21-18, 18-21, 21-15.

Women’s singles: Hsu Wen-chi (Tpe) bt Zhang Wenyu (Can) 22-20, 21-15.

Women’s doubles: Margot Lambert-Anne Tran (Fra) bt Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand (Ind) 22-20, 17-21, 21-14.

Mixed doubles: William Villeger-Anne Tran (Fra) bt Callum Hemming-Jessica Pugh (Eng) 21-18, 18-21, 21-15.

l SEMI-FINALS

Men’s singles: Arnaud Merkle (Fra) bt Mads Christophersen (Den) 21-18, 21-14; Siril Verma bt Kiran George (Ind) 21-11, 21-17.

Men’s doubles: Kim Gi-jung-Kim Sa-rang (Kor) bt Boon Xin Yuan-Wong Tien Ci (Mas) 22-24, 21-15, 21-17; Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun (Mas) bt Rory Easton-Zach Russ (Eng) 21-11, 21-14.

Women’s singles: Zhang Wenyu (Can) bt Freya Redfearn (Eng) 21-19, 21-11; Hsu Wen-chi (Tpe) bt Julie Jakobsen (Den) 23-21, 21-11.

Women’s doubles: Margot Lambert-Anne Tran (Fra) bt Wendy Chen-Gronya Somerville (Aus) 21-17, 21-16; Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand (Ind) bt Anna Cheong-Teoh Mei Xing (Mas) 21-19, 21-19.

Mixed doubles: Callum Hemming-Jessica Pugh (Eng) bt Ishaan Bhatnagar-Tanisha Crasto (Ind) 21-16, 21-19; William Villeger-Anne Tran (Fra) bt Gregory Mairs-Jenny Moore (Eng) 15-21, 21-14, 28-26.

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