Thailand’s chances of success were high in the doubles events, with two top seeded pairs in the women’s and mixed doubles. There had already been big name casualties but today seen the Thailand involvement going into the week down to just one player.
From the moment that Boonsak Ponsana lost to Wang Zhengming, the Chinese domination was a real possibility this week. Chen Long and Chen Jin have both reached the last 4 with little or no resistance but have been joined in the semi finals by two Koreans. Park Sung Hwan has survived two match points and back to back three game matches but is in the last 4 and will perhaps be Chen Long’s first real test this week. Wang Zhengming was expected to go from strength to strength after his win over Boonsak Ponsana but came undone against 6th seeded Lee Hyun Il in three games to set up two China v Korea semi finals.
Saina Nehwal’s tough week finishes before the weekend, after defeating Lu Lan in the opening round it was another Chinese player that ended the Indian’s run in 7th seeded Li Xuerui. The 21-13, 21-12 scoreline is perhaps down not a fair representation of the match as a whole but the Li Xuerui will be happy not to have played another three game match before the weekend. Thailand’s hopes now rest on the 4th seeded Porntip Buranaprasertsuk who has reached the semi final without the loss of a game to date, she will take on Li Xuerui for a place in Sunday’s final. One Chinese player who wanted a Saina Nehwal victory was the 2nd seeded Jiang Yanjiao who will likely be battling against Li Xuerui for a place in the Olympic squad next year. The Chinese player came through a tight three game match against Juliane Schenk to set up her semi final against 6th seeded Cheng Shao Chieh of Chinese Taipei, who defeated the 3rd seeded Bae Youn Joo to reach the last 4.
The Korean top seeds of Lee and Jung have been flawless to date, winning all three matches in just two games. Their opponent in the semi final are the 8th seeded American pair of Bach and Gunawan, who defeated the 3rd seeded Fang and Lee in two games to reach the last 4. Ko and Yoo have struggled through to the last 4, needing three games in both their last two games to set up their semi final against Chandra and Gunawan of Indonesia who defeated the 5th seeded Chai and Guo of China in two tight games.
The unlikely story in the women’s doubles is the Malaysian pair of Hoo and Woon who have progressed into the semi finals in their first major tournament together. Their semi final match will be their greatest test as a partnership against the 7th seeded Chinese pairing of Cheng and Yixin, who have failed to drop a game to date this week. There is Chinese interest in the other semi final in Tian and Zhao, the 5th seeds. Their opponents in the semi final are the Hong Kong pairing of Poon and Tse, who are no strangers to the biggest stage.
The mixed doubles was Thailand’s best chance at a title this week, but within just 2 and a half hours of play that dream was gone. Xu and Ma taking out the 2nd seeded Anugritaywon and Voravichitckaikul in the opening match of the day in two games, then the top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam lost to Widianto and Marissa of Indonesia in just 27 minutes to end Thailand’s chances. The 8th seeded Indonesian’s reward is a semi final against Kim and Shin who defeated their seeded team-mates, Lee and Ha in two tight games to reach the semi finals. Xu and Ma take on the 4th seeded pair of Lee and Chien, who defeated the Korean pair of Cho and Kim 21-17, 29-27.
Few expected the lone European nation in the last 8 to reach the final against the home nation of China. Their 3-1 victory over Indonesia was done again without the help of the #1 pair in the world for men’s doubles, as Boe and Mogensen succumbed to another defeat this week.
The first semi final seen the host nation take on Korea, the nation that defeated China in last year’s Uber Cup. The first match set the tone for the entire semi final as Xu and Ma took on Ko and Ha in a brutal 71 minute encounter that Korea had four chances to win the match and failed to deliver. The Chinese pairing had just one in the deciding game and took their opportunity to steal the victory from the Korean’s and but China 1-0 up.
Lin Dan doubled the host nations advantage with a convincing 21-16, 21-10 victory to put China within one match of the final. Cai and Fu took on their rivals Lee and Jung for the 13th time, with the head to head being level at 6-6. Lee and Jung had won the previous two matches and made it a third consecutive victory over Cai and Fu in their 62 minute encounter to pull the tie back to 2-1. Wang Shixian was given the chance to redeem herself after her opening match loss to Juliane Schenk in the 4th match of the tie, against Bae Youn Joo. It took 50 minutes but the Chinese were through the the final with Wang Shixian’s two game victory securing the 3-1 victory for China.
The second semi final started almost exactly the way of the first semi final, with the opening mixed doubles match going all the way to a third and deciding game. Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen were dominant in the decider and took the opening match for the Danes in a 63 minute match against Teng and Bernadeth. Peter Gade doubled the advantage with a tight two game victory over Simon Santoso, winning 21-18, 21-16 in 44 minutes.
The Danish pair of Boe and Mogensen have been the weak link this week, losing both of their matches to date. They had a third chance to win this week against the pair of Chandra and Ahsan but again struggled to produce any of the form that made them into the top partnership in the world and tamely lost 23-21, 21-17 to cut Indonesian deficit in half. It was left to Tine Baun to clinch a place in the final against Adriyanti Firdasari, their first meeting in almost two years. Tine Baun duely delivered a superb performance to win 21-13, 21-13 to book Denmark’s place in the final.
Tomorrow’s final will be won and lost with the men’s events. Can Boe and Mogensen regain any sort of form to defeat Cai and Fu in the men’s doubles? Can Peter Gade roll back the years and defeat Lin Dan for only the 4th time in their 16th meeting? Tine Baun will undoubtably needed to defeat one of the Chinese women in the singles if Denmark have any chance of winning the final. The Chinese are almost certain of winning the women’s doubles should Wang and Yu play. Meaning they only have to win 2 of the other 4 events to retain the Sudirman.
Semi Final Results:
For a few minutes, Peter Gade rolled back the years and looked to have the beating of Lee Chong Wei. 6-2 up in the deciding game and playing some of his best badminton in recent times, only for it to end in a stunning 15 rally series as a 6-2 lead became a 14-9 deficit. One run of six points and another of five all but ended Gade’s chances of winning in India, with Lee Chong Wei eventually winning the deciding game 21-15 and claiming the men’s singles title.
The women’s singles was a different matter, as unseeded Porntip Buranaprasertsuk claimed her third victory over a seeded player in defeating Bae Youn Joo 21-13, 21-16 to win the women’s singles title in a stunning turnaround from saving three match points in her second round match against Eriko Hirose.
The two doubles finals went the way of the higher seeded players, with Hashimoto and Hirata defeating the unseeded Indonesian pair of Saputra and Pratama in a one-sided final. The Japanese 4th seeds winning 21-17, 21-9. The longest match of the day came in the women’s doubles final as Maeda and Suetsuna defeated their Japanese team-mates Fujii and Kakiiwa 26-24, 21-15 in a match that took 70 minutes to complete, begging the question how long the match would have lasted had the match gone to three games.
The mixed doubles was won by the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir over their 3rd seeded team-mates Kurniawan and Bernadeth in two tight games, winning the match 21-18, 23-21 in 44 minutes to claim Indonesia’s only title this week.
Day 5 Results: