2016 XIAMENAIR Australian Badminton Open Review: Re-invigoration & Regeneration

The last Superseries before the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, the 2016 XIAMENAIR Australian Badminton Open, has since unfolded. How much significance does it hold?


Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in claiming his first Superseries title and going one step further that his previous personal best means Denmark matches China for a second time within a couple of years with three men's singles specialists in the world's top 10.

No wonder then that Denmark, on their nineth appearance in the Thomas Cup team event final, also carved out a historic first ever European victory a month earlier. How sweet it has been for Vittinghus to savour the highest levels of both national recognition and personal triumph in this period.

Saina Nehwal showed three sides of herself to the Australian crowd, one of which we've not seen before. Although not sitting at world #1 for women's singles as a year earlier, she wasn't particularly worried about the fact and continued observing her own quality.

There were new innovations to her game sense and repertoire of strokes. At one game down, the top Indian player was willing to take risks at net play in the final in order to turn around the momentum.

With these new found skills, Nehwal stunned her established top 10 opponents and main Olympic gold medal rivals Ratchanok Intanon and Wang Yihan with straight games defeats. And when not beginning on song, as she was in the final against China's Sun Yu, Nehwal could still count on her signature strong determination which mixed in with effective innovations enabled her to lift the Australian Superseries title for a second time in its three year course.

Altogether, Saina Nehwal enters the latest Olympic Games peaking and with proof of being a solid package that can manage to come out on top of difficult scenarios and also having a few new tricks up her sleeve.

New (and here to stay)

Several new names justified the hype about themselves especially China's Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen who made it all the way to the final of mixed doubles but fell short of a first Superseries together against a pair who weren't surprised by them, their compatriots Huang Yaqiong / Lu Kai.

Nevertheless, both Zheng and Chen were very impressive all week in both their doubles duties. China have been nurturing the ranks within their “weakest” discipline of men's doubles. They've produced three young pairs that have made it into the top 10 since the start of the decade but it is Zheng who is the youngest, latest, and naturally instinctive of the bunch which is a good sign for the future.

Chen Qingchen appeared in two finals and took home the women's doubles title with Bao Yixin, in the process pushing aside the top Indonesian pair in straight games.

Jeon Hyeok Jin, the runner-up in men's singles, launched himself into the world's top 20 as a result of his performances all week. Hans-Kristian Vittinghus needing to produce winner upon winner to take the title simultaneously speaks volumes of his opponent's supreme quality. Thus, Korea have rejuvenated their men's singles ranks.

Despite not positing any finalists at their home Superseries the weekend prior to the Australian edition, Indonesians gave strong account of themselves in women's doubles, men's doubles and men's singles.

It was an All Indonesian men's doubles final that was a replica of the India Superseries result. Notably, the current World Champions Hendra Setiawan / Mohammad Ahsan who entered the race weren't any of the final's personnel and it was the combined youngest in age, Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo / Marcus Fernaldi Gideon who won, which is a positive indication of the depth Indonesia possesses.

Despite heading home title-less and unable to make history (yet) as the first teenage men's singles Superseries winner, Anthony Ginting still earnt a powerful reputation himself in creating the headline grabbing upset of the tournament. Ginting's 21-14, 21-17, quarter-final conquest of defending champion Chen Long was a dazzling display of form for spectators and opponent alike to witness.