Syed Modi International: Day of the Underdog

World No.48 Chi Yu Jen achieved the biggest result of his career as he won the Syed Modi India International 2023 beating No.12 Kenta Nishimoto.

And with men’s doubles No.93 Choong Hon Jian/Muhammad Haikal achieving a win of similar magnitude against No.16 Akira Koga/Taichi Saito, it was quite the day of the underdog.

Chi Yu Jen, who has had mostly unremarkable results on the circuit, had entered the final after winning his last three matches in three games. That didn’t seem to affect him, for even though he lost a close opening game, he bounced back to take the match after a 79-minute battle, 20-22 21-12 21-17.

Choong Hon Jian (right) & Muhammad Haikal

It was a similar story in men’s doubles, as Choong and Haikal, who were playing their first HSBC BWF World Tour Super 300 event as a pair and had only got together in August, continued their dream run.

The Malaysians had beaten second seeds Ben Lane/Sean Vendy on Saturday, and weren’t intimidated on the biggest stage of their career. Even though the Japanese took the opening game, Choong and Haikal built up a lead from the beginning of the second game and kept it all the way, winning 18-21 21-18 21-16.

Indonesians Win Thriller

Dejan Ferdinansyah & Gloria Widjaja

Dejan Ferdinansyah/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja won their first title of the season in the most thrilling match of the tournament. The Indonesians, leading fifth seeds Yuki Kaneko/Misaki Matsutomo by six points at the interval in the third game, saw the Japanese overtake them at the end and hold three successive match points. To their credit, Ferdinansyah and Widjaja stayed in the hunt and converted their own third opportunity, 20-22 21-19 25-23.

Okuhara Triumphs

It was also an eventful day for former No.1 Nozomi Okuhara as she won her first title of the season, in her only final. The 2017 world champion won a close first game against Line Kjaersfeldt and then stepped it up in the second to prevail 21-19 21-16 for her first title since March 2021.

Japan won a second title on the day through world No.15 Rin Iwanaga/Kie Nakanishi, who stymied the hopes of home pair Ashwini Ponnappa/Tanisha Crasto 21-14 17-21 21-15 for their second title of the season.


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