The Chinese domination in recent years of this event would make picking a winner a straight fight between Wang Xin, Wang Yihan, Wang Shixian and Jiang Yanjiao. If the World Championships have taught us anything in recent years, it’s to expect the unexpected.
There is European resistance this year, with Tine Baun and Juliane Schenk hoping to defeat the Chinese seeds in the top half whilst in the bottom half of the draw, Saina Nehwal carries the hope of an entire nation once more into a major competition.
Seeded – 1
2010 Result – Semi Finals
2nd Round Opponent – Zechiri/Rochdy
Likely Threats – Jiang Yanjiao (SF)
Her rise from unknown to world #1 in just over 2 and a half years has been not short of breathtaking but coming into this championships, her form is far from exceptional with losses to Lu Lan, Cheng Shao Chieh and most notably Tine Baun in her three previous events, her All-England triumph on her previous visit to British soil is almost a distant memory.
In the frightening competitiveness of the Chinese players, some would go as far as to say she’s not the best player in China, let alone in the world. The 21-year old has poor records against her Chinese teammates and her likely semi final opponent, Jiang Yanjiao has won 4 of the 6 meetings to date.
Seeded – 2
2010 Result – Round 2
2nd Round Opponent – Gu/Posana
Likely Threats – Wang Xin (SF)
Wang Yihan was heralded as the future of the Chinese game just 2 years ago and whilst 2010 was a stumbling block in that claim, her 2011 campaign has reasserted her at the top of the women’s singles game.
She enters the tournament as Asian Games champion and the winner of the most recent Super Series Premier event in Indonesia. The 23-year old is the biggest threat to Wang Shixian, as both look to claim their first world title.
Seeded – 3
2010 Result – Runner-Up
2nd Round Opponent – Gavnholt/Prokopenko
Likely Threats – Saina Nehwal (QF) Wang Yihan (SF)
Wang Xin comes into the event as the elder stateswoman of the Chinese squad at just 25 but is considered the third best singles player in her country. 9 months ago she was world #1 but the emergence of Wang Shixian and return to form of Wang Yihan makes Wang Xin’s chances reaching the final for the second year final remote.
Her route to the last 8 is favourable, before her likely matchup against Saina Nehwal who defeated her in the Sudirman Cup in May. The 21-15, 21-11 victory is a distinct warning to Wang Xin that she must be at her best to reach the later stages of this event.
Seeded – 4
2010 Result – DNP
2nd Round Opponent – Fu/Griga
Likely Threats – Tine Baun (QF) Wang Shixian (SF)
Jiang Yanjiao has been the world scene since 2006 but this is her first world championship at the age of 24. She comes into the tournament at the expense of Lin Xiu and Li Xuerui, but her rise to this point has been staggering. She was outside the top 80 in October of last year, but is now the world #4.
Her Asian Games victory over Liu Xin was one of the main reasons she has reached this world championships, she is undoubtedly the outside bet from the four Chinese players but her 4-2 head to head against the top seeded Wang Shixian is the stand out statistic, she has earned her place at the world championships.
Seeded – 5
2010 Result – Semi Final
2nd Round Opponent – Chan/Cicognini
Likely Threats – Jiang Yanjiao (QF) Wang Shixian (SF)
It is almost the yearly tradition that Tine Baun comes into this event with the hopes of Europe on her shoulders to steal the women’s singles title away from China. Not since Camilla Martin in 1999 has a non-Chinese player won the world title.
Baun’s form coming into the event couldn’t be poorer, a stunning loss in the US Open 2 weeks ago to world #43 Kaori Imabeppu has question marks over her chances of winning the title this year and breaking the Chinese stranglehold on this event.
Seeded – 6
2010 – Quarter Final
2nd Round Opponent – Magee/Firdasari
Likely Threats – Wang Xin (QF) Wang Yihan (SF)
India holds it’s breath that the Commonwealth Games champion can claim the world title. Her opening few rounds are favourable before the inevitable match against Wang Xin in the last 8.
Nehwal’s preparations ahead of this event are almost exactly the same as the build up to her Commonwealth Games triumph, with 6 weeks out from competitive play, she chose not to play in the US or Canada feeling that her defeat in the final of the Indonesian Open had her playing to the top of her ability.
Seeded – 15
2010 Result – Quarter Final
1st Round Opponent – Yao/Marin
Likely Threats – Cheng Shao Chieh (Last 16) Wang Shixian (QF)
Hirose ended the chances of Wang Yihan in 2010 in the 3rd round last year and had a chance to potentially take out the top seed in 2011 also in the quarter final. Her recent form has been poor but her run like Kazushi Yamada’s in the men’s singles makes her a dangerous opponent this year.
2010 Result – DNP
1st Round Opponent – Yao Jie (Netherlands)
Likely Threats – Eriko Hirose (Last 32) Cheng Shao Chieh (Last 16)
The 18-year old Spaniard is one of the future stars of the European game, already winning her national championship and gets the opportunity that many hoped that Viktor Axelsen would get in the men’s singles, the chance to take on the current crop of stars and test her game at the very highest level. She will be one to watch this week and in the future, even if her run at the title ends in Round 1.
2010 Result – Quarter Final
1st Round Opponent – Sarah Walker (England)
Likely Threats – Bae Youn Joo (Last 32) Wang Yihan (QF)
Forgotten about? Probably. Taken seriously? Absolutely. Her steady decline from a top 10 player to world #23 means she is far from the force she was 12 months ago in her run to the last 8 but her start against the English wild card Sarah Walker will ease her into the event before taking on Bae Youn Joo, who have both won a match in their 2 encounters.
Round 1 takes place on Monday, August 8 with the seeded players playing their first matches in Round 2 on Tuesday, August 9.
Women’s Singles Draw: