Gade-Christensen ends nine-year jinx

FRIENDS AND FOES: Denmark’s Peter Gade- Christensen (right), winner of the men’s singles title in the Aviva Open Singapore badminton championships, poses with compatriot Kenneth Jonassen. Gade- Christensen beat Jonassen 21-10, 21-14 in the final yesterday. – REUTERSpic

SINGAPORE: Top seed Peter Gade-Christensen ended a nine-year jinx when he bagged his first title in Singapore by crushing compatriot Kenneth Jonassen 21-10, 21-14 in the final of the US$170,000 five-star Aviva Open Singapore badminton championships at the Indoor Stadium here yesterday. 

This is only the second time that a European has won the Singapore Open. Kenneth was the first when beat Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei in the 1994 final. 

Yesterday’s win made Gade-Christensen US$13,600 richer while Jonassen took home US$6,800. 

Gade-Christensen, who will head for Kuching today for the Malaysia Open, screamed in delight when Jonassen sent the shuttle out to give him the title. 

“Finally. I have finally broken the jinx. It took me nine long years to win a title here. I am only the second European to win the Singapore Open and this is one title that I will cherish the most,” said Gade-Christensen. “Today, I played some of my best badminton. I put a lot of pressure on Kenneth. I had a good start and played sharp at the net. I had a lot of variations to my game and this made it difficult for Kenneth.” 

Gade-Christensen, who will marry former Denmark handball player Camilla Hoeg on July 15, said winning the Singapore Open was also a big boost for him ahead of the Malaysian Open, which begins on Wednesday. 

“I have a tough draw but I promise to give my best in Kuching,” said Gade-Christensen, who won the Malaysian Open in 1998 and was a semi-finalist in 1997. 

After the Malaysian Open, Gade-Christensen will compete in the Thailand Open before focusing on his preparations for the World Championships in Madrid in September. 

Second-seeded Jonassen blamed his defeat on fatigue. 

“I never got into the rhythm. I feel sorry for the spectators that I could not deliver. It was impossible to overcome Peter as he was playing his best badminton against me today,” said Jonassen. 

“It would have been different if I had had a good start.” 

Both Danes were taken the full distance in their semi-final encounters against their Chinese opponents. Gade-Christensen beat Boa Chunlai 21-15, 16-21, 21-17 while Jonassen had a tougher time before taming Chen Hong 25-23, 19-21, 21-16. 

In the men’s doubles, Indonesia’s new partnership of Flandy Limpele-Sigit Budiarto, playing in only their second tournament, defeated Thomas Laybourn-Lars Paaske of Denmark 21-8, 21-16. 

It was also sweet revenge for the Indonesians, who lost to the Danes 11-21, 21-18, 21-15 in the third round of the recent Indonesian Open in Surabaya.  

Flandy-Sigit earned US$12,240 while the runners-up pocketed US$6,800. 

The mixed doubles saw third seeds Nova Widianto-Lilyana Natsir upset top seeds Nathan Robertson-Gail Emms of England 21-16, 20-22, 23-21 to take home US$10,370. 

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