The Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Badminton Open has proved a huge success, played out to capacity crowds at Eventfinda Stadium on Auckland’s North Shore, with a world class field that featured an amazing 11 players or pairs ranked in the top five in the world, 11 former world champions or world number one ranked players and 13 Olympic medalists – this was without doubt the greatest assembly of players ever seen in New Zealand.

And they lived up to the billing, with a host of marathon matches enthralling the big crowds at the venue, as well as the millions watching around the world – with an estimated 44 million households taking the coverage around the world.

Highlights on finals day was a first HSBC BWF Tour title for Jonatan Christie (Indonesia), a stunning week for 17 year old Korean An Se Young capped by a victory today over the 2012 Olympic Champion from China, and a mixed doubles clash for the ages, with Chan & Goh edging Jordan & Oktavianti (Indonesia) 29-27 in the third to set the tone for a remarkable day.

Tournament Director Sam Paterson was still pinching himself after a week that was beyond the dreams of the organizing team.

“The Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Open continues to set a benchmark for BWF Super 300 Tournaments and this week has again raised the bar, I am hugely proud of everyone involved in the tournament from our amazing volunteers, to our team of officials and to all of our sponsors and partners.

“The players have been tremendous, in the undoubted skill they bring on court, but also their engagement with fans off court with signings, photographs and meet and greet opportunities has spread the word of badminton to another generation of fans.

“But the real jewel in the crown was the quality of badminton we saw throughout the week, from day one we witnessed great matches in what I am reliably told has been the best few days of the sport in this country, the thousands of fans who turned out are testament to that.”

Here is a recap of today’s five finals:

Mixed Doubles

The opening final set the tone at the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Open, with Malaysian second seeds Chan Peng Soon & Goh Liu Ying coming out on top of Praveen Jordan & Melati Octavianti (Indonesia) (5) in a marathon that took a ninth match point to decide, with the Malaysians winning it at the fourth time of asking, 21-14, 16-21, 29-27.

It was quite simply one of the most pulsating, engaging and brilliant matches ever seen at the tournament, one that had incredible changes in momentum, contrasting styles of play with the court craft of Chan and Goh against the power and brute force of Praveen Jordan.

In the end it was the craft and consistency of the Malaysians that won the day, with Goh Liu Ying emphasizing how much it means to taste victory in New Zealand in front of such an amazing crowd.

“Especially with the Olympic qualifying points, that was important for both pairs today. We are more experienced compared to them and we were down 1-3 and more at different times, we knew we had to stay stable and patient in those moments.

Chan spoke about their partnership and ability to stay cool in the white-hot moments as they saved four match points and rallied from 13-17 down in the final game.

“We support each other, even when behind, we still never give up and keep going, this one is very important in our sport. Jordan is a powerful player, he is strong, we try to not let him dictate too much.”

Goh loved the noise of a near capacity Eventfinda Stadium.

“The atmosphere was great; it was the best day for us.”

Mixed Doubles Final
Chan Pen Soon & Goh Liu Ying (MAS) def Praveen Jordan & Melati Oktavianti (INA) (5)  21-14, 16-21, 29-27.  Match duration 85mins

Women’s Doubles Final

Unseeded Korean pair Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong continued to power their way through the deepest field at the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Open, winning the final 21-15, 21-18 over the second seeded Japanese combination of Misaki Matsutomo & Ayaka Takahashi.

Having never beaten a Japanese combination before, this was a watermark tournament for the world 30th ranked pairing, having already disposed of the top seeded Japanese in the semi-finals in amarathon match that had left them exhausted.

Kim So Yeong is the older of the two and spoke of their preparation and building chemistry as being key to the victory.

“We spent the night getting massage and doing the right things to get our bodies ready, but mentally yesterday was big, before we never thought we could, but yesterday we did and now we know we can do it. Today we knew we could do it, that was the difference mentally.

“Because my partner is quite young and can get emotional I calm her down and plan what to do, but I have faith in her power to win points too.”

Kong backed that up with complete confidence in her more experienced partner.

“The key for all doubles is the partnership, that is the most important thing and this week we enjoyed a perfect partnership on the court to win.”

Women’s Doubles
Kim So Yeong & Kong Hee Yong (KOR) def Misaki Matsutomo & Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) (2) 21-15, 21-18. 49 minutes.

Men’s Singles

Jonatan Christie (Indonesia) went one better than last year in taking out the Barfoot & Thompson NZ Open men’s singles title, winning the final 21-12, 21-13 over Angus Ng Ka Long (Hong Kong China).

After tasting defeat at the hands of Lin Dan (China) last year, number three seed Christie went about his work with an experience that belied his relative youthful 21 years and in the process made a statement at the start of the Olympic qualifying period, having come into the tournament as the third ranked Indonesian.

Ng was in his first HSBC BWF Tour Final and may well have emptied the tank in his shock win over Dan yesterday, and just had no answer to the consistency of Christie, who found ways to win points from all corners of the court.

Christie was delighted with his victory and has hopes for many more at all levels on the HSBC World Tour.

“I am very excited with this being my first time as a champion on the BWF World Tour at 300 level, next I hope to be champion at 500, 750 and maybe 1000 level, I hope so.  My focus was to enjoy this week, to enjoy first, to play second, with nothing to lose.”

Christie has an eye on a bigger prize too, in Tokyo next year, with this week being the first tournament in the Olympic qualifying window.

“Because Indonesia has three men’s singles with Anthony and Tommy, I want to qualify in the Olympics for Tokyo next year, this is the perfect start to the qualifying for me.”

Christie understandably has a soft spot for New Zealand after his runner-up finish last year and now victory.

“I am very happy here, I enjoy New Zealand Open very much and next year, maybe I will be back again.”

Men’s Singles
Jonatan Christie (INA) (3) def Ka Long Angus Ng (HKG) (6) 21-12, 21-13. 39 minutes.

Women’s Singles

If 17-year-old Se Young An (Korea) had any nerves, she wasn’t showing them in her first HSBC BWF Tour Final and clearly the biggest match of her young career as she raced out of the blocks against the 2012 Olympic champion Li Xuerui (China).

Showing great speed and court craft, An responded to everything that her much more experienced opponent could throw at her in the opening moments of the match, winning a close and enthralling game 21-19.

The two went point for point through the opening half of the second game, before An made the crucial and in the end match winning break to ease out to 15-10, and the Korean supporters in the packed stadium knew a huge upset was on the cards.

With 27 HSBC BWF Tour titles to her storied career as well as that London Olympic gold, Xuerui was not going to lose easily though, and tried everything to get back into the match.

It proved to no avail though, as this star of the future well and truly arrived on the international stage today at the Barfoot & Thompson NZ Open, closing out the match 21-15.

Almost overcome by the moment, An has lofty aspirations in the sport.

“I have been doing extra training by myself, but I didn’t expect to win so early. But I am working hard and already playing against the top players with more experience, but I will prepare the best I can and aim to be top in the world, go to the world champs and Olympics.”

Her mental strength has been incredible for someone so young, but it is not by accident.

“My father has a background in boxing, so my mental strength is helped by him, but also my personality is that of a very strong mind.”

Celebrations very much include her team mates tonight in Auckland.

“I am the youngest on the national team, I want to go for coffee, ice cream or dinner with my team mates when we get back.”

Women’s Singles Final

Se Young An (KOR) def Li Xuerui (CHN) (6) 21-19, 21-15. 43 minutes.

Men’s Doubles Final


What a way to end the tournament, with superstars Mohammad Ahsan & Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) stepping out against 7th seeds Hiroyuki Endo & Yuta Watanabe (Japan). With four Olympic and World Championship titles between them, the Indonesians went in as warm favourites but were soon up against a determined Japanese pairing.

Some brilliant all court coverage and athleticism saw the underdogs take out a tense first game 22-20 and start to believe they could claim one of the biggest scalps in men’s doubles. But champions do what champions do, and Ahsan and Setiawan responded, amping up the pressure and accuracy to take game two 21-15 – it was only appropriate on such a stunning day of badminton that the crowd got one more game for their money.

The final game saw the number two seeds further flex their muscles as they resisted every push by the Japanese, with some of the most amazing rallies seen all week. Watanabe’s defence was as though he was playing for his life, but eventually the class of the Indonesians wore them down and the match was won 21-17 in the third.

“It is still special, this is important at the start of the Olympic qualifying, to get a good start for Tokyo, our opponents were very strong, different challenge, we had to be patient all the time with our attack,” said Ahsan.

Setiawan emphasized the professionalism of this incredible partnership as he turned his attention quickly to further improvement.

“We are happy enough, but we must still do more training and improve.”

Men’s Doubles Final

Mohamad Ahsan & Hendra Setiawan (INA) (2) def Hiroyuki Endo & Yuta Watanabe (JPN) (3) 20-22, 21-15, 21-17. 67 minutes


Barfoot & Thompson NZ Badminton Open Results, all finals:

Mixed Doubles
Chan Pen Soon & Goh Liu Ying (MAS) def Praveen Jordan & Melati Oktavianti (INA) (5) 21-14, 16-21, 29-27.  85mins

Women’s Doubles
Kim So Yeong & Kong Hee Yong (KOR) def Misaki Matsutomo & Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) (2) 21-15, 21-18. 49 minutes

Men’s Singles
Jonatan Christie (INA) (3) def Ka Long Angus Ng (HKG) (6) 21-12, 21-13. 39 minutes

Women’s Singles
Se Young An (KOR) def Li Xuerui (CHN) (6) 21-19, 21-15. 43 minutes

Men’s Doubles
Mohamad Ahsan & Hendra Setiawan (INA) (2) def Hiroyuki Endo & Yuta Watanabe (JPN) (3) 20-22, 21-15, 21-17. 67 minutes

Full results, CLICK HERE