Battle for the Podium at 2013 Adult Nationals
ORANGE, Calif. —The 2013 K&D Graphics Adult Nationals were held this past weekend at Orange County Badminton Club and the tournament saw some of the country’s best come out to display their skills. The Adult Nationals event is always one of the most anticipated tournaments each year and often is home to the best badminton in the United States and this year was no different.
87 players came out this year to participate which led to some exciting matches and some new winners. The men’s singles bracket has been one of the most unpredictable draws in recent years when it comes to winners. No player has won consecutive titles since Raju Rai was able to win three in a row from 2004-2006. This year was no exception. The championship was held between number one seed and defending champion Sattawat Pongnairat and number two seed and 2010 champion Hock Lai Lee. With both of the finalists being previous champions, the championship match showed a great amount of skill and determination between the both of them. Hock Lai Lee was able to hold off Pongnairat and won the Men’s Singles Championships 21-13, 21-10.
The Women’s Singles event did not hold back on excitement either. The number one seed Jamie Subandhi cruised into the championship match after winning her first two matches by a combined score of 84-23. Subandhi was met in the championship match by Christine Yang who fought through many close matches to make it into the final match. Yang showed an incredible amount of perseverance as she was able to keep up with Subandhi during the championship match, but Subandhi was able to pull through for her first championship winning the match 21-12, 21-16.
The Men’s Doubles draw may have been the most exciting this year. The 4th seeded team of Christian Christianto and Tony Gunawan were able to upset the number one seeded tandem of Phillip Chew and Sattawat Pongnairat in the semi-finals to advance to the championship where they met Howard Bach and Hock Lai Lee. Bach and Lee had an extremely difficult road to the championship as they upset the 3rd seed in the quarterfinals and 2nd seed in the semi-finals. It also meant that the 2012 Men’s Doubles Olympic team of Bach and Gunawan would end up facing each other for the championship. Bach has had great success in this event, winning the championship eight of the past nine years. However, Christianto and Gunawan were able to win the title after an exciting match, winning by the score of 23-21, 21-19
For the Women’s and Mixed Double’s events, a familiar face wound up on top of the podium. Eva Lee has been a force during Adult Nationals, winning Mixed Double’s six of the past nine years. She found herself leading again after she and Howard Bach were able to win their fifth title together. It didn’t come easy though. After winning their semi-final match 21-6, 21-6, they were pitted against number one seed Phillip Chew and Jamie Subandhi. The match went back and forth throughout, but Bach and Lee dug deep and were able to win the championship 20-22, 21-13, 21-13.
Lee has been dominant in the Mixed Doubles side, but for some reason had not been able to win a Women’s Doubles event. This was the year that changed it all. Lee was teamed with Paula Obanana and the duo was able show off how well they worked together. The cohesion between the two was evident in every match they played where they were able make it to the championship by winning their first two matches by a combined 84-31. Things were closer in the championship, but they were still able to prevail 21-17, 21-12.
After the excitement and seeing the new winners of this year’s Adult Nationals, everyone is looking forward to the 2014 event. Date and location are still to be determined.