Won the gold medal for the second consecutive week following last week’s Korea Open victory. He also advanced to the finals 11 times this year alone and won seven times.
As a result, Ahn Se-young has reached the top seven times this year, including the Indian Open, the Indonesian Masters, the All-British Open, the Thai Open, the Singapore Open, the Korea Open, and the Japanese Open.
Following the Korea Open, all the strong players called the “Big Four” of women’s badminton participated in this Japanese Open. Ahn Se-young advanced to the final by beating Tai Chiying (Taiwan, world No. 4) 2-0 (21-17 21-12) in the semifinals the previous day.
Defending champion Akane Yamaguchi (Japan, world No. 1) and “natural enemy” Chen Yu-fei (China, world No. 3) who expected to face off for the championship, were eliminated in the round of 16 and quarterfinals, respectively. It was Hubing Zhao, ranked fifth in the world, who reached the final instead of them.
Until last year, Ahn Se-young lost all four games against Hubbing Zhao. However, this year, he met five times and won all five times, shaking off the “natural enemy jinx.” Ahn Se-young, who overpowered all prominent competitors from the Southeast Asian series to the Korea Open and the Japanese Open last month, stood tall as the “strongest player in the field.”
In particular, there were no weaknesses in all aspects, including defense, which is the original advantage, as well as various offensive and game management skills. Ahn Se-young, who has grown into a “flawless badminton” like Novak Djokovic (Serbia), a “living legend” of tennis, is running at the top of the season’s rankings.
Early in the first set, Hubbingzao played an equal game against Ahn Se-young. However, as Ahn Se-young’s defense became stronger, Hubbing Zhao’s mistakes poured out. Ahn Se-young scored like an altaran with an exquisite hairpin added like a seasoning as well as a rally fight.
On top of that, sophisticated diagonal attacks and drop shots that caught the opponent off guard led to consecutive goals. Ahn Se-young succeeded in taking the lead by winning 21-15 in the first set.
Ahn Se-young’s momentum led to the second set. Herbingjao fought back with a long-term fast attack, but failed to break through Ahn Se-young’s defense. Unable to target Ahn Se-young in the rally fight, he allowed consecutive runs and the score gap widened to 7-14.
Ahn Se-young, who defended all the courts extensively, overwhelmed Hubbing Zhao in a long rally fight. Ahn Se-young, who won the game by widening the gap to 17-10, also won the second set.
Ahn Se-young, who finished second in the tournament last year, stood at the highest place on the podium with a “no-sil set” this year.
Kim So-young (31, Incheon International Airport) and Gong Hee-yong (27, Jeonbuk Bank), who competed in the women’s doubles final held earlier, defeated the world’s No. 1 Chunqingcheon-Jaipan (China) group 2-0 (21-17 21-14).
As a result, Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong regained the top for the first time in four years since winning the 2019 Japan Open. He also won his third gold medal since winning the All-British Open and the Thai Open, the most prestigious competition this year.
In the quarterfinals of the All-British Open in March, Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong beat Chun Ching-cheon and Jaipan Group 2-1 (19-21, 22-20, 24-22). The momentum of those who caught the “big fish” in the quarterfinals continued to the finals and eventually lifted the trophy.
However, in the quarterfinals of the Singapore Open, they were completely defeated by Chen Ching-cheon and Jaipan group by 0-2 (12-21 14-21). In the Korea Open final, which ended in Yeosu, Jeollanam-do on the 23rd, he also lost 1-2 (10-21 21-177-21) to China and had to be satisfied with the runner-up.
Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong, who also reached the final at the Japan Open, reunited with Chun Qing-cheon and Jaipan in a week. Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong, who had a chance to avenge themselves, blocked the opponent’s attack with a stronger defense than at the Korea Open. He also crossed the Great Wall without being pushed back in the fight against each other.
Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong had a 5-10 record against Chun Qing-cheon and Jaipan.
Armed with a “net defense” different from the Korea Open at the beginning of the first set, Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong blocked the Chinese group’s long-term strong attack. Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong, who finished the Korea Open, said, “The difficult thing about the Chinese group is that they score within a quick rally.” As if to prepare for the experience at the time, Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong continued the rally for a long time to induce the opponent’s error.
He hit this strategy and took a big 11-5 lead. Chen Ching-cheon-Jaipan Group launched a last-minute chase at 12-20. China, which revived Jaipan’s powerful attack, followed 17-20. However, Kim So-young’s finishing attack led to a goal, and South Korea won the first set 21-17.
At the beginning of the second set, Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong fell behind 0-. However, he caught up with Gong Hee-yong’s bold attack and played an equal game 10-10. Since then, Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong have scored consecutive goals with a counterattack following a solid defense.
Chen Ching-cheon and Jaipan, who failed to find a clue in the attack, collapsed with consecutive errors. With a 20-14 lead, the shuttlecock, which the Chinese group flew deep, went out of the court line, and the Kim So-young and Gong Hee-yong groups hugged each other and enjoyed the joy.
As a result, the Korean team that participated in the event won two gold medals (women’s singles and doubles).
After finishing the Japan Open, the national team will move to Australia and participate in the Australian Open, which will be held from the 1st of next month. Ahn Se-young and the women’s doubles group Lee So-hee (29, Incheon International Airport) and Baek Ha-na (23, MG Saemaul Geumgo) will not participate in the competition and will return home on the afternoon of the 31st.