Olympic Atmosphere at US Open

July 23, 2008, 3:26 p.m. (ET)

The 22nd U.S. Open and the 12th U.S. Open hosted by the Orange County Badminton Club was held in Orange, CA, July 8-12 with a $50,000 prize purse sponsored by Yonex Corporation, the Orange County Badminton Club, and K&D Graphics. 

One hundred thirty-three players from 19 countries (Austria, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, England, Guatemala, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, Scotland, Trinidad & Tobago, and the USA) put their game on the line for five days to hopefully win the prestigious tournament just before the 2008 Olympics.  Among the U.S. players were the 2008 U.S. badminton Olympians qualified for Beijing, including Howard Bach, Eva Lee, Bob Malaythong, May Mangkalakiri, and Raju Rai. 

Play runs 9AM-9PM on Tuesday, then goes to a 2-9PM schedule on Wednesday, 4-9PM schedule on Thursday, and finishes with sessions starting at 6PM on Friday and Saturday nights.  Tickets may be purchased at the door.  Live scoring is available on the tournament software website.  If you haven't seen the U.S. Open, you should plan a vacation to the tournament.  It's a great chance to see many of the international players  from around the world, and you may even see famous world champions like Tony Gunawan,  Halim Haryanto Ho, and Howard Bach.  Even the warm-ups of the players are quite entertaining!

The first three days of play brought players to the semifinals where Andrew Dabeka (#1 seed from Canada) defeated Kevin Cordon (#3 seed from Guatemala), 21-19, 21-11., in the Men's Singles.  Both players had qualified for the 2008 Olympics.  Tall Martin Bille Larsen (#8 seed from Denmark) met Canadian David Snider in the other semifinal, Larsen coming out on top, 20-22, 22-20, 21-14. 

In the Women's Singles, unseeded Lili Zhou of the US fought hard to beat #4 seed Eva Lee of the US, and prevailed, 21-13, 10-21, 21-10.  Zhou had beaten #2 seed Charmaine Reed of Canada in the first round, 19-21, 21-15, 21-15.  Chloe Magee (#5 seed from Ireland) defeated Shih Chieh Hung of Chinese Taipei in the other semifinal, 21-15, 11-21, 21-12.  Magee had qualified for the 2008 Olympics, and is coached by former US Olympian Tom Reidy, now of Sweden. 

Men's Doubles saw local favorites and #1 seeds from the US, Howard Bach/Bob Malaythong defeat #5/8 seeds from Canada, Mike Beres/Joseph Rogers, 21-13, 21-9.  The other 5/8 seeds from the US, Halim Haryanto Ho/Raju Rai, took out another 5/8 seeded team, Canadians William Milroy/Toby Ng, 24-22, 21-16. 

In the Women's Doubles, the #1 seeded US team of Eva Lee/May Mangkalakiri fell to #3/4 seeds from Chinese Taipei, Li Ying Chang/Shih Chieh Hung, 22-20, 21-15.  In the other half, the #2 seeds from Chinese Taipei, Pei Ling Tsai/Chia Chen Yang defeated Nicole Grether (Germany)/Charmaine Reed (Canada), 21-13, 21-15.  Mixed Doubles saw #1 seeds US team of Howard Bach/Eva Lee bow to unseeded US players Halim Haryanto Ho/Yun (Grace) Peng 21-19, 21-19.  Canadians Mike Beres/Valerie Loker (#2 seeds and 2008 Olympic qualifiers) defeated unseeded young US players Jack Dinh/Iris Wang, 21-13, 21-12. 

Finals night was busy with great play on court and special players honored off court.  In Mixed Doubles, Halim Haryanto Ho/ Yun (Grace) Peng (USA) defeated, Beres/Loker of Canada, 21-13, 21-16.  In the Women's Singles event, Lili Zhou (USA) withstood Chloe Magee (Ireland), 23-21, 21-16.  Andrew Dabeka (Canada) defeated Martin Bille Larsen (Denmark), 21-14, 21-9.  Women's Doubles saw the two teams from Chinese Taipei do battle, Li Ying Chang/Shih Chieh Hung defeating Pei Ling Tsai/Chia Chen Yang, 21-19, 21-14.  The USA's Howard Bach/Bob Malaythong prevailed over Halim Haryanto Ho/Raju Rai, 21-14, 21-19.  Congratulations to all the 2008 US Open champions!

Between matches, the 2008 Yonex Junior All Stars were presented to the crowd.  These were high school players on a select Southern California All Star Team and Northern California All Star Team who participated in the first 2008 Yonex Junior All Star Badminton Championships.  The teams played in a special invitation-only mini-tournament held during the day on July 11 and 12 in conjunction with the US Open.  The Southern California All Star Team defeated the Northern California All Star Team for the first championships. 

Also presented to the crowd were the 2008 U.S. Olympians who qualified to play in Beijing, Howard Bach, Eva Lee, Bob Malaythong, May Mangkalakiri, and Raju Rai.  1992 Olympian Ben Lee introduced the Olympians and several spoke of their coming trip to Beijing in August.  Also on the road to Beijing will be BWF Technical Delegate to the 2008 Olympics and USAB President Paisan Rangsikitpho, umpire Elaine Kong, and international linejudge Tom Wilmshurst. The Open week finished up with exciting matches and a photo opportunity of future and present Olympians. 

Thanks to all those responsible for the 2008 Yonex/OCBC U.S. Open Grand Prix Badminton Championships including Don Chew, Kim Chew, Montri Chew, Gus Chew, Paisan Rangsikitpho, Bob Cook, Ana Cook, Dudley Chen, Carol Bryan, Widya Susanto, Dave Anderson, Ed Barnes, Calvin Blicker, Tom Wilmshurst, Bob Lewis, Dave Carton, Lee Calvert, Tim Mangkalakiri, Terry Lira, Dale Crawford, Sunny Yen, Sonny Yen, Mark Phongasavithas, Panita phongasavithas, Elaine Kong, Lynn Maund, Snadip Vyas, Ed Matanga, Cody Leach, Pedro Gardia, Ian Counter, Dr. Goffman, and the all the volunteers at the OCBC. 

Kudos also to the Yonex Corporation, K&D Graphics, the Orange County Badminton Club, the Badminton World Federation, and USA Badminton's Dan Cloppas and Peggy Savosik.