After the first day of competition at the Li Ning China Master Super Series 2009 both of the English entrants in the men’s singles have managed to live to another day in spite of strong competition. Rajiv Ouseph ousted Thailand’s Saensomboonsuk Tanongsak in three games 21-7, 12-21, 21-17 to find his way to the second round where he will now face world number one Lee Chong Wei. England’s other men’s singles player Andrew Smith also had a strong performance against Hong Kong’s Chan Yan Kit who is no slouch. Smith won in three games too, 21-19, 5-21, 21-15 and will now play Boonsak Ponsana in the 2nd round.

As is customary at the China Masters, the draw is ripe with Chinese players. In fact at the second round phase the bottom quarter of the draw is all Chinese players with a notable match up between Chen Jin and Bao Chunlai. Chunlai’s ranking has slipped lately after injury troubles. Another notable performance from the Chinese was Chen Long’s win over Malaysia’s Wong Choong Han 21-9, 21-17. Wong is the only seed to fall in the men’s singles so far. Other than Chen Jin vs Bao Chunlai, another match to keep an eye out for tomorrow is Andrew Smith facing Boonsak Ponsana, this could go either way in my opinion, in spite of Ponsana being the favourite.

The women’s singles had few surprises as all of the seeds won their matches to move on to the second round, but certainly there were some close matches. Tine Rasmussen had to fight for her right to play as Zhang Yuchun from China pushed her to three games. Another close match was Pi Hongyan’s victory over Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong where the first game went to the limit with Pi winning 30-29, and then winning the second game 21-18.

All I can say about the men’s doubles is Korea, Malaysia and China. That’s all you see in the draw, period. The only other country represented was Chinese Taipei who were knocked out in the first round. In the second round there are 2 Malaysian pairs, 2 Korean pairs and 11 Chinese pairs remaining. It’s a fair bet that a Chinese pair will win, and if they don’t they will certainly get a reprimanding from Li Yongbo.

The women’s doubles isn’t too different, except that with Charmaine Reid and Nicole Grether winning their first round in three games they are the only non-Asian pair remaining in any of the doubles events. Where are all of the Danes, and English? Finally the mixed doubles is a very similar picture to the other doubles events with a very small number of non-Chinese teams remaining, or even entered in the first place.

Li Ning China Master Super Series 2009 Draws

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