China’s hope to retain all 5 golds won in Beijing resulted in a full compliment of players qualifying for the 2012 Olympics, but the women’s singles is the strongest showing from the Chinese. The world number 1, 2 and 3 all qualified for the Olympics as well as having three more players inside the top 16 to show their strength in numbers within this event.
Wang Yihan goes into the Olympics as the world number 1 after resurrecting a career that saw the Chinese squad demand that she proof herself after the 2010 Uber Cup defeat to Korea. She won the Malaysia Open earlier in this year before a series of surprise losses to her Chinese team-mates again asked the question if she was the best player within the Chinese squad.
Wang Xin and Wang Shixian are China’s more than adaquate back-up plan should Wang Yihan fail to reach the gold medal match. The world number 2 and 3 at the end of qualification have also had a poor year given the high Chinese standards, with Wang Shixian claiming the only title between the two players.
Li Xuerui put in a late surge to the world number 4 spot and was also the form player within the Chinese squad, winning the Asian Championships and the All England title in her run to the world number 4 spot. Has she been selected, she would have been the favourite for the gold medal in London.
What Are Wang Yihan’s Chances Of Gold?
Her recent run of defeats have mostly came against Li Xuerui, with all three of her defeats in 2012 coming against matches with Li Xuerui. Her head to head against her Chinese rivals picked for the Olympics is more pleasing statistic with a 8-2 advantage over Wang Xin and 5-2 advantage against Wang Shixian. Her record against Schenk and Nehwal is even more one-sided (6-1 against Schenk, 5-0 over Nehwal) and you have to go back to October last year for Wang Yihan’s last defeat from a non-Chinese player, losing in two games to Tai Tzu Ying.
What Are Wang Xin’s Likely Expectations?
The Chinese team are very willing to give walkovers or “rigged” matches towards one of their players to ensure progression into the next round and in all likelyhood, the gold medal is Wang Yihan’s to lose. Wang Xin’s is probably looking at a silver medal at best. Her record against the best players in the world is superb, with a winning record over most of her rivals including Wang Shixian who is likely going to be her semi final opponent.
Can Wang Shixian Justify Her Selection With A Medal?
Wang Shixian has dropped to 4 in the rankings, with rumours of Li Xuerui being selected instead of her circlating at the Uber Cup finals. Her sole victory in the event seemed to be enough to get her the nod ahead of Li Xuerui. A few stats stand out that question whether Wang Shixian can claim a medal, the first being her record against Saina Nehwal which stands at 3-1 in favour of the Indian. The other head to head with will cause concern is against Tine Baun, that stands at 2-2 with the Dane taking their most recent encounter. Her hopes of a medal are interconnected with Nehwal, with the Indian hoping to play Wang Shixian in the last 8 whilst the Chinese player would look to avoid Nehwal to reach the semi finals.