A Super Series event till 2010, this year’s fifth Grand Prix Gold, the Swiss Open was held from 14-19 March at St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland. It was Chinese dominance once again in all but one discipline.
Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold 2017
With the two time Olympic Gold medalist and former world number one, Lin Dan leading the pack it was his countryman Shi Yuqi (seeded second) who grabbed the spotlight in the bottom half of the draw. The defending champion, H.S. Prannoy was the fifth seed. It was a blow for the tournament organisers as three seeds (including the third and fourth) withdrew from the tournament.
As the tournament progressed, seeds crashed out and when we reached the business end, it were the top two seeds who faced each other in the summit clash. In the final, Lin Dan produced an absolute masterclass as he defeated his opponent 21-12, 21-11 thus ensuring he won the title without dropping a single game.
With the top and the fourth seed opting to withdraw from the tournament, USA’s Zhang Beiwen became the favourite to clinch the title but a shock defeat in the second round at the hands of Denmark’s M Blichfeldt left the bottom draw wide open. As for Chen YF from China, the highest ranked player in the draw capitalised on the situation as she breezed through to the finals. However, it was the 18 year old Chen Xiaoxin who surprised everybody by reaching the finals defeating another young talent Fitriani in the semis. Her dream run didn’t stop there as she went on to defeat her countrywoman in straight sets (21-19, 21-14) to win her first ever Grand Prix Gold.
The top seeds — Chai Biao and Hong Wei — weren’t tested much till the quarters as they won six straight games to reach the last four. Other teams in semis were the fifth seed Chinese Taipei duo, fourth seeded English pair and Liu C and Zhang N who were on a giant killing spree. The highest seed came back from a game down to reach the finals whereas the other Chinese duo created one more upset as they got the better of the fourth seeds in straight sets. However, in the finals the unseeded team after winning the first game 21-13 couldn’t keep up with the momentum and went on to lose the next two games 21-16, 21-15.
Just like the men’s doubles, the semi finals had a surprise duo — Bao Yixin and Yu Xiaohan — who defeated the number eighth and second seed enroute to their last four stage. They faced the fourth seeded Bulgarian pair of Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva whereas the other semifinal was between the Chinese ( number one seed) and Danish pairing who were seeded seventh. The higher seeds in both the matches prevailed, however, it was the top seeds — Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan — who went on to finish on top of the podium after defeating the Bulgarian duo of Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva 21-16, 21-15 in the finals.
With the exception of the eighth seeds (lost in the first round), all the top pairs reached the last eight of the tournament. In the quarters, the top three safely won their matches but the fourth seeded Indian pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy succumbed to the fifth seed Chinese pair of Zhang N and Li YH. However, in the semifinals both the Chinese pairs lost hence stopping Team China to do a clean sweep. It was the third seeded Thai duo of Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai who got the better of second seeds from Indonesia in the finals (21-18, 21-15) to win their maiden grand Prix Gold title as a pair.