Lee/Kim Triumph – Barcelona Spain Masters 2018: Review

Lee Yong Dae and Kim Gi Jung made a winning comeback to international badminton, capturing the Men’s Doubles title at the Barcelona Spain Masters 2018 on Sunday.

The Koreans (featured image), who were successful with different partners until 2016 – following which they eased out of international competition, only to be seen intermittently – appeared in Barcelona for their first tournament of 2018. They started by beating Dutch duo Jelle Maas/Robin Tabeling 21-17 21-14, followed by a victory over Denmark’s Niclas Nohr/Kasper Antonsen (21-15 21-14), and then French pair Maxime Briot/Kenji Lovang (21-11 21-17) in the quarter-finals.

Their form held in the semi-finals as they dismissed Malaysia’s Chen Tang Jie/Wei Chong Man (21-11 21-17) before storming past Thailand’s Bodin Isara/Maneepong Jongjit in the final, 21-13 21-17.

Denmark and Japan captured two titles each on the last day. Rasmus Gemke won the Men’s Singles, beating top seed Suppanyu Avihingsanon (Thailand) 15-21 21-6 21-14 in the longest match of finals day.

On his way to the final, Gemke overcame India’s Ajay Jayaram in the quarter-finals and England’s Toby Penty in the semi-finals.

Gemke’s Danish compatriots Niclas Nohr/Sara Thygesen won the Mixed Doubles beating England’s Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith 21-19 21-17.

Top seeds Ellis/Smith had earlier beaten Japan’s Kohei Gondo/Ayane Kurihara in the semi-finals, while Nohr/Thygesen prevailed over Malaysia’s Chen Tang Jie/Peck Yen Wei at the same stage.

Japan’s Minatsu Mitani won her first title since the French Open of 2012 with a come-from-behind effort over Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt, the Japanese saving two match points on the way.

Having lost the opening game, Mitani fought back from 19-20 and 20-21 in the second to force a decider, which she took quite easily: 9-21 23-21 21-8.

Recently-crowned World champions Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara triumphed in Women’s Doubles over compatriots Ayako Sakuramoto/Yukiko Takahata.

The top seeds dropped a game in the semi-finals, against Denmark’s Maiken Fruergaard/Sara Thygesen, but were at their best in the final, which they won 21-17 21-13.

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