Arnaud Genin defeated Jesper Hougaard in the final of the Thailand Open Men’s A to win his second consecutive tournament.
The Frenchman lived up to his billing as the pre-tournament favourite, defeating Hougaard in a topsy-turvy final +19 (2-21 21-3 21-10 12-3).
Elsewhere there was an impressive return to racketlon for Cindy Ho Sin Ming as she won the Women’s A title with a nail-biting +1 (16-21 21-11 5-21 21-9) victory over Elif Wong.
Arnaud Genin Triumphs to Extend Winning Run
After an eye-catching 2018 as a debutant, all eyes were on Arnaud Genin to see whether he could back up his World Tour Finals victory.
His campaign began against Hong Kong’s Steven Wai Kit Cheng. Utilising his devastating badminton, he won by +29 before tennis and advanced to the semi-finals.
The other half of the draw saw the return of a familiar face. Jesper Hougaard was in action for the first time since last year’s Club La Santa Open.
Hougaard showed no sign of rust in the first round as he defeated Indian debutant Vikramaditya Chaufla by +22 to also reach the semi-finals, needing just one point in tennis.
There he would face another member of Team Hong Kong, Chun Cheung, who had defeated Thai debutant Sathid Suhittapiban in the opening round. Hougaard was pushed by Cheung but achieved the 15 he needed in tennis to reach the final.
The other semi-final saw Arnaud Genin play Australia’s Leigh Sands, also returning to the world stage after over a year out.
Sands had defeated Sweden’s Gustaf Moller for the second time in two days. He also beat him in the final of the Men’s A doubles to take the title alongside Ersoy Korer. Sands put up a brave fight in the semi-final but was defeated with Genin needing six on the tennis court.
That meant that the final went to seeding, with No.1 Jesper Hougaard facing No.2 Arnaud Genin. The first two sports went to script with Hougaard winning the table-tennis to two and Genin the badminton to three.
Genin did his damage in squash, winning 21-10 leaving him needing 12 in tennis. In the Thai sunshine, the Frenchman took control, winning the tennis 12-3 to seal his second consecutive Men’s A title.
The victory will lift Arnaud Genin into the top-20 in the rankings. Elsewhere, Sands and Cheung will also see healthy rankings boosts after they finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
Cindy Ho Sin Ming makes winning return
After a break from racketlon, Hong Kong’s Cindy Ho Sin Ming returned in style as she strolled to the title in a five-player box-league.
Winning her opening match +46 over Annette Kleiber set the tone for the weekend as she won her four matches to seal the trophy.
The pivotal match ended up being her third of the four where she played fellow Hong Konger Elif Wong in a gripping contest. Wong dominated the squash 21-5 to leave her needing 10 in tennis to win.
The eventual champion was able to fight back though, battling through the tennis to win 21-9 and claim the victory by +1.
Wong finished second with tennis specialist Glenda Ong taking third-place after defeating Ho Ching Chan and Annette Kleiber.
Reimer-Kern and Bruzgina Reach Podium in Men’s B
A combination of factors meant that top-15 ranked women Astrid Reimer-Kern and Anastasiya Bruzgina competed in the Men’s B at the Thailand Open.
Both made light work of their initial groups. Reimer-Kern defeated Prashant Sen and Graham King while Bruzgina beat Amarendu Srivastava and Marc-Andre Rauber.
This resulted in both progressing to the podium group alongside Ersoy Korer with the three of them battling for the title. The two women took to court first, with Bruzgina securing a superb victory over the recent World Championship runner-up by 27 points.
Korer then defeated Bruzgina by +49 in the second match to leave the third match as the decider. Reimer-Kern recovered from being 16 down heading into the squash to eventually win the match +7.
With all three of them winning one match each it went to points difference. Korer took the title with Reimer-Kern in second and Bruzgina in third. An excellent achievement by both women to make the podium in the Men’s B.
A word also for Ersoy Korer who won three titles; the Men’s B, Men’s +40 and Men’s A Doubles with Leigh Sands.
The full list of Thailand Open champions is available here.
Additional thanks to the Kleiber family for organising the tournament. We look forward to returning to Thailand in the future.
Full Thailand Open results are available here.
The next tournament on the World Tour calendar is the IWT Vienna Classic on February 1st-3rd.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Photo Credit: Frank Kleiber