Badminton Life

Haryanto Turns Back the Clock at US Open

Former All England and world champion Halim Haryanto showed he could still wield a racket to great effect when he won a gold and silver at the OCBC United States Grand Prix Open over the weekend.

Haryanto formed a lethal partnership with Tony Gunawan when the pair represented Indonesia, winning the 2001 world championships men's doubles title and the All England title that same year.

He played for Indonesia from 1995 to 2004 before he followed in Gunawan's footsteps and moved to the United States, where he coaches at the Orange County Badminton Club.

With the US Grand Prix event being sponsored by his club, it was a great opportunity for Haryanto, now wearing the American colours, to show the world his form. Although not as speedy and powerful as during his world-beating days, the 31-year-old is still a formidable opponent.

In the mixed doubles event, he teamed up with Grace Yun Peng to beat the second-seeded Canadian pair of Mike Beres and Valerie Loker 21-13, 21-16 in the final.

He wasn't able to repeat that success in the men's doubles with his partner Raju Rai. The pair went down 21-14, 21-19 to the top-seeded American duo of Howard Bach and Bob Malaythong.

With the world's leading players absent, most of them preparing in their home countries for the forthcoming Olympic Games, it was a chance for some of the second-tier players to come to the fore.

One of the best performances at the US Open was by Irish Olympic qualifier Choe Magee in the women's singles.

Fifth-seeded Magee shocked Portugal's third seed Ana Moura in the quarter-finals on her way to reaching to the final. However, she fell short at the last hurdle, going down to American Zhou Lili 23-21, 21-16 in the final.

There were no surprises in the men's singles competition with top-seeded Canadian Andrew Dabeka coasting to victory.

Dabeka did not drop a game as he beat eighth-seeded Dane Martin Bille Larsen 21-14, 21-9 in a one-sided final.

The women's doubles final was an all-Taiwanese affair with the third-fourth seeds Li Ying Chang and Shi Chieh Hung defeating second-seeded compatriots Pei Ling Tsai and Chia Chen Yang 21-19, 21-14.

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