Key Chinese players stayed away from this year's $200,000 Korean Open Championship in Incheon.

Key Chinese players stayed away from this year's $200,000 Korean Open Championship in Incheon.

Strangely, they were in almost full strength at the Yonex Japan Open held just a week prior to the Incheon tournament. Their absence was a blow not only to the organisers but to the thousands of fans as well. But certainly not to Kenneth Jonassen of Denmark and Mia Audina of Holland who eventually won the men's and women's singles titles.

Seeking to improve his quarterfinal berth in the All-England championships in February and the semifinal placing at the Japan Open in Tokyo in early April, the World No. 2 Kenneth Jonassen had a dream run. He beat favourite Park Tae-Sang 15-12, 17-15 in a tense final. The top-seeded Dane, figuring in the top half of the draw, was hardly challenged in the earlier rounds by Arolas Amahit (Philippines), Muhammed Hashim Roslin (Malaysia) and the 13th seed Bjoem Joppien (Germany), before he met Hong Kong's Agus Hariyanto in the quarterfinal. The in-form Dane, was stretched by the 12th seed, who after losing the first set came back roaring in the second and pushed the tie into the decider.

Here again, the Hong Kong player looked good in pulling off an upset before Jonassen regained composure and won at 15-7, 13-15, 15-12. Lee Hyun-II, who in the meanwhile had overcome former world title holder Peter Ramussen 15-11, 7-15, 15-8, also took Jonassen to the distance in the semifinals before the Dane closed out the well-contested tie 15-17, 15-6, 15-10.

The progress of the 23-year-old Park Tae-Sang, seeded 15th, to the title-round was marked by the convincing wins he scored over Nabil Lasmari (France), Kay Bin Yeoh (Malaysia) and compatriot Seung Mo-Shon and an easy win over second seed Anderson Boesen (Denmark) 15-6, 15-6 in the semifinals. The early exit of All England champion Muhammed Hashim Hafiz to Yohan Wiratama (Hong Kong) in the very first round, had helped Boesen to make progress to the semifinals. But pitted against Park, he could hardly make any impression even as the South Korean made his way into the final quite comfortably.

However, Park did not have things his way in the final, even though he had the crowd support. The Korean did push the Dane all the way, but a persistent Jonassen won the title 15-12, 17-15. This was another impressive result for Jonassen.

It was sweet revenge for Mia Audina in the women's singles as the Dutch star enroute to the title avenged her recent defeat against Hong Kong's top seed Wang Chen. The second seed, like Jonassen in the men's section, had an easy run through the preliminary rounds, being pitted against Wai Chee Koon (Hong Kong) and Petra Overzier (Germany) before being tested by South Korea's Kim Kyeung-Ran in the quarters. However, the Dutch woman, who overcame Ran 11-3, 8-11, 11-7, faced little difficulty against Pi Hongyan (France) in the semis as she made it to the final with an easy 11-6, 11-3 win.

In the absence of the Chinese, Wang Chen was the overwhelming favourite for the title and the Hong Kong star was hardly troubled as she made the final with wins over Yim Ah-Young (South Korea), Kumiko Ogura (Japan), Karina Dewit (Holland) and Dai Yun (China) over successive rounds. But then, her form took a considerable dip in the final, wherein her Dutch rival looked good throughout the match even when Wang Chen staged a comeback by winning the second set. Audina was quick off the blocks in the first before the Hong Kong World No. 2 rallied well to snatch the second set. However, the effort exerted in taking that set took toll on Wang Chen who provided little resistance in the third as Audina regained control to win without conceding a point. Audina won 11-3, 10-13, 11-0.

But for their good show in the singles event of both the sections, the European contingent failed to win in the doubles which was dominated by the South Koreans. In fact, there was no stopping the home team double specialists as Kim Dong-Moon and Ha Tae-Kwon took the men's title away from compatriots Lee Dong-Soo and Yoo Yong-Sung in the final and Ra Kyung-Min and Lee Kyung-Won conquered the Danish pair of Rikke Olsen and Ann Lou Jorgensen to claim the women's title.

Not content with one title each, Kim Dong-Moon and Ra Kyung-Min went on to win the mixed doubles, beating Kim Yong-Hyun and Lee Hyo-Jung in another all-Korean final.

The results:

Men's singles (final): Kenneth Jonassen (Den) bt Park Tae-Sang (Kor) 15-12, 17-15. Semifinals: Kenneth Jonassen bt Lee Hyun-II (Kor) 15-17, 15-6, 15-10; Park Tae-Sang bt Anderson Boesen (Den) 15-6, 15-6.

Men's doubles (final): Kim Dong-Moon/Ha Tae-Kwon (Kor) bt Lee Dong-Soo/Yoo Yong-Sung (Kor) 15-11, 15-6. Semifinals: Kim Ding-Moon/Ha Tae-Kwon bt Pramote Teerawiwatana/Tesana Panvisavas (Tha) 15-0, 15-1; Lee Dong-Soo/Yoo Yong-Sung bt Patapol Ngernsrisuk/Sudket Prapakamol (Tha) 15-11, 17-14.

Women's singles (final): Mia Audina (Hol) bt Wang Chen (Hkg) 11-3, 10-13, 11-0. Semifinals: Mia Audina bt Pi Hongyan (Fra) 11-6, 11-3; Wang Chen bt Dai Yun (Chn) 7-11, 11-3, 11-6.

Women's doubles (final): Ra Kyung-Min/ Lee Kyung-Won (Kor) bt Rikke Olsen/ Ann Lou Jorgensen (Den) 11-5, 11-5. Semifinals: Ra Kyung-Min/Lee Kyung-Won bt Nicole Grether/Juliane Schenk (Ger) 11-0, 11-2; Rikke Olsen/Ann Lou Jorgensen bt Lee Hyo-Jung/Hwang Yu-Mi (Kor) 8-11, 11-4, 11-3.

Mixed doubles (final): Kim Dong-Moon/Ra Kyung-Min (Kor) bt Kim Yong-Hyun/Lee Hyo-Jung (Kor) 11-5, 11-4. Semifinals: Kim Dong-Moon/Ra Kyung-Min bt Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thungthongkam (Tha) 11-3, 11-1; Kim Yong-Hyun/Lee Hyo-Jung bt Jonas Ramunssen/ Rikke Olsen (Den) 11-3, 5-11, 11-8.