Only Hashimoto and Hirata stood in the way of five titles for China in the Asian Championships, with four all-Chinese finals already confirming China’s success this week.
The day begun with the women’s doubles and a victory for the 2nd seeded Wang and Yu over Tian and Zhao in a one-sided final with Wang and Yu winning 21-13, 21-10. It was a similar story in the men’s doubles as the top seeded Cai and Fu defeated Hashimoto and Hirata in equally impressive fashion winning 21-12, 21-15 to take the Asian title. Both pairs failed to drop a game on the way to the title and also both defeated their opponents in the final in 33 minutes.
Lin Dan claimed his 20th victory over Bao Chunlai in the men’s singles final, winning a two game match 21-19, 21-13 in 42 minutes to further establish himself as Lee Chong Wei’s only real competitor. Lu Lan’s run ended at the final stage, losing out to the 2nd seeded Wang Yihan in two games in a 21-15, 23-21 match that took 49 minutes.
The final match of the day was the closest, with top seeded Zhang and Zhao taking on 8th seeded Ma and Xu. Both pairs claimed a game by the score of 21-15 before the match reached 20-20 in the final game, with Ma and Xu saving a match point then getting one of their own before the top seeded reeled off three points from 23-22 down to claim the Asian title 25-23 in the decider in a 69 minute match.
Lu Lan’s unlikely run to the Asian Championship final was completed with her third victory over a Chinese seed whilst there was a more likely story in the men’s singles with Lin Dan reaching the final with his semi final victory over Du Pengyu.
Lin Dan’s opponent in tomorrow’s final will be Bao Chunlai, who defeated the second seeded Chen Long in two games to book his place in the final. Lin Dan’s victory over Du Pengyu was equally as impressive, winning 21-16, 21-13. Tomorrow’s final will be the 25th meeting between the two players, dating back to the 2001 Singapore Open with Lin Dan winning 19 of the previous 24 meetings between them.
Lu Lan’s run this week has been at the expense of three Chinese seeds, now she takes on a 4th in tomorrow’s final against Wang Yihan. Lu Lan defeated Jiang Yanjiao in two tight games to reach the final whilst Wang Yihan run to the final has been an easier affair without meeting a seed on route to tomorrow’s final. This will be their 8th meeting, with Wang Yihan edging the series 4-3.
Hashimoto and Hirata’s victory over Chai and Guo ensured there wouldn’t be a Chinese monopoly on finals day, their two game victory over the 5th seeds to set up a match with top seeded Cai and Fu in the final. The Chinese pair defeated their team-mates Xu and Zhang in two games to book their place in the final without the loss of game this week and will be the favourites tomorrow in the first meeting between the two pairs.
Wang and Yu were pencilled in for the final from their opening match and their run this week has been truly impressive, they have never looked like dropping a game at any point but were given their toughest challenge in the semi final from the 8th seeded Bao and Zhong before winning 21-17, 21-19. Their opponents in the final will be another Chinese pairing, that of Tian and Zhao seeded 6 this week, who defeated the 5th seeded Korean’s Ha and Kim in a three game match that lasted over an hour. The 6th seeds are one of the few pairs in the world that can claim a victory over the Wang and Yu partnership, defeating them in the final of the Malaysian Super Series but were defeated just a week later by Wang and Yu in Korea.
The mixed doubles sees one of China’s specialist in the discipline, Ma Jin with partner Xu Chen reach the final at the expense of Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand with the Chinese pair winning in two games. Their opponents in the final are the top seeded pair of Zhao and Zhang who defeated unseeded team-mates Pan and Hong in two games to reach tomorrow’s final. It will be the third meeting between the pairs, with Xu and Ma winning their previous encounter at the All Englands in March.
Semi Final Results:
Sixteen of the 20 competitors hail from the home nation of China in the Asian Championships as they reach the semi final stage, with a few forgotten names in the mix. Lu Lan has returned to her 2009 form and has shocked another seed on her route to the last 4.
The men’s singles has turned into an all-Chinese competition, with 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana losing out to Bao Chunlai in two tight games followed soon after by Tien Minh Nguyen who was defeated by another higher seeded player in Du Pengyu. Lin Dan defeated the last of the non-Chinese players in his three game victory over Sho Sasaki to set up his semi final with the 6th seeded Du Pengyu. 2nd seeded Chen Long defeated Wang Zhengming to reach the last 4 where he will take on Bao Chunlai for a place in Sunday’s final.
Cheng Shao Chieh is the remaining hope to defeat the Chinese stranglehold on the singles titles with her victory over Porntip Buranaprasertsuk. Her task to reach the final is a victory over the 2nd seeded Wang Yihan who has been impressive this week, without dropping a game to date. The other semi final is an all-Chinese matchup between the 5th seeded Jiang Yanjiao, who defeated Lin Xiu 23-21 in their deciding game in the quarter final and the unseeded Lu Lan who has returned to the form that seen her become world champion less than two years ago. Her closely fought two game victory over Li Xuerui was her second victory over a Chinese seeded player this week.
Cai and Fu have been highly impressive in the men’s doubles without losing a game to date this week, however they face their toughest task in their all-Chinese semi final against Xu and Zhang, seeded 6 who defeated the 4th seeded Chandra and Gunawan to book their place in the last 4. Chai and Guo, seeded 5 are the third of the Chinese pairs in the last 4 and take on the Japanese pairing of Hashimoto and Hirata, seeded 8 this week and also defeated the 2nd seeded Kido and Setiawan to reach the semi final stage.
Cheng and Chien’s run ended today in the women’s doubles, as the top seeds lost out to the 6th seeded Tian and Zhao in front of a partizan home crowd which ensured a third pair in the last 4 for China. Tian and Zhao’s opponents in the last 4 are the sole non-Chinese pairing of Kim and Ha, seeded 5th who defeated the 3rd seeded Maeda and Suetsuna to reach the semi final. 8th seeded Bao and Zhong have the tough task of taking on the 2nd seeded Wang and Yu who again were impressive in their 21-6, 21-18 victory over the 7th seeded Matsuo and Naito of Japan.
Zhang and Zhao’s run to date has not seen them take on a seed, with tomorrow’s match being no different as they take on the unseeded pair of Hong and Pan, who defeated the Japanese qualifiers of Sato and Matsuo to set up the all-Chinese semi final. The 8th seeded Ma and Xu defeated the lower ranked Tao and Tian to reach the semi finals, with a three game victory over the 3rd seeds. Their reward is a semi final match against the 2nd seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand, who have failed to drop a game to date this week but were taken to a 29-27 game against the 6th seeded Lee and Chien in their quarter final match.
Quarter Final Results:
Day 3 provided the first big shocks of the Asian Championships, with 2009 world champion Lu Lan defeating the top seeded Wang Shixian in the women’s singles whilst Sho Sasaki defeated the 2010 world champion Chen Jin in their 78 minute matchup to reach the last 8.
Sasaki’s reward for his victory over Chen Jin is a quarter final match against the top seeded Lin Dan, who also had to come through his won three game match against Wen Kai, eventually progressing in 67 minutes. Second seeded Chen Long has had little trouble in his route to the last 8 with three victories without the loss of a game. His biggest challenge awaits in Wang Zhengming in an all-Chinese match. 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana has been back in form this week, with an excellent victory over Kazushi Yamada in two tight games to set up a match with Bao Chunlai, who has also been impressive in his route to the last 8. 4th seeded Tien Minh Nguyen takes on 6th seeded Du Pengyu in the 4th quarter final, with the 4th seeded Nguyen in excellent form in reaching this stage.
Even at the last 8 stage, China has assured itself of at least one finalist with a monopoly on the top half of the draw. Lu Lan’s victory over Wang Shixian means she takes on the 6th seeded Li Xuerui with the winner taking on the other quarter final in the top half of the draw, between 4th seeded Liu Xin and 5th seed Jiang Yanjiao. The three seeded players left in the top half have all won their matches without the loss of a game to date this week. The bottom half of the draw as a much more diverse nationality of players, with 2nd seeded Wang Yihan being the sole Chinese player in the bottom half of the draw. Two unseeded Thai players as well as a Chinese Taipei player makes up the last 8. With Wang Yihan taking on the Thai qualifier Sapsiree Taerattanachai for a place in the last 4.
The men’s doubles is another event well represented by Chinese pairings, with 4 of the 8 duos coming from China. Cai and Fu are the top seeds this week and have been flawless on route to the last 8 with a pair of two game victories. Their opponents in the last 8 are the Malaysian pair of Goh and Lim whose run to the quarters was bolstered with the withdrawal of the 7th seeded Lee and Shin who were set to be their first round opponents. The other quarter final in the top half sees the 4th seeded Chandra and Gunawan take on the 6th seeded Xu and Zhang for a place in the last 4. The big news in the bottom half of the draw is the loss of the 3rd seeded Fang and Lee to the unseeded Chinese pair of Liu and Qiu in a tame two game defeat.
The women’s doubles has a full compliment of seeds in the last 8, with only the 8th seeded Bao and Zhong as well as the 7th seeded Naito and Matsuo dropping a game on route to the quarter final. The Japanese 7th seeds will have to be at their very best to challenge the 2nd seeded Yu and Wang who have been the form pair in this event for the last few months. The top seeded Cheng and Chien take on the 5th seeded Tian and Zhao of China, who defeated the dangerous pairing of Ma and Cheng in two games to reach the last 8.
The mixed doubles draw has a few surprises in the last 8, all of which are in the top half of the draw to the delight of the top seeded pair of Zhao and Zhang. 7th seeded He and Yu lasted just two points into their opening round match before they had to withdraw which the Japanese qualifiers Sato and Matsuo have taken full advantage to reach to the last 8 where they will take on the unseeded Chinese pair of Hong and Pan. The bottom half of the draw has all four seeds remaining, including an all-Chinese tie between the 8th seeded Ma and Xu against the 3rd seeded Tao and Tian, with the higher seeded pair surviving a scare in their second round match against Shiota and Ikeda before progressing in three games. The last of the quarter finals sees the 6th seeded Lee and Chein take on the in form 2nd seeded pair of Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam who haven’t dropped a game this week in reaching the last 8.
Day 3 Results:
There was real hope for some British success after an excellent showing last week in Germany but that hope ended today with a trio of defeats ending any chance of British interest on quarter finals day tomorrow in the NIA in Birmingham.
The day begun with top seeded Lee Chong Wei beating Bao Chunlai in a superb performance from the defending champion to set up a quarter final against the 8th seeded Boonsak Ponsana who has also been impressive this week on route to this stage. After his match against Bao Chunlai the defending champion Lee Chong Wei refused interviews with media citing frustrations with the organizers for not giving him adequate warning prior to his match. Peter Gade used all of his experience to defeat last year’s finalist Kenichi Tago, with an impressive 6 point run from 16-20 down to clinch the match in two games. Gade takes on Chen Long who received a walkover into the last 8 and will be well rested going into tomorrow’s quarter final.
The first morning at the All England saw seeds tumble on a regular basis before the afternoon brought the best players in the world show to off their ability. However, play ended with the biggest shock of the day with the defeat of Taufik Hidayat.
World championship quarter finalist Kazushi Yamada crushed the 2nd seeded Hidayat in a one-sided 21-14, 21-10 victory that took just over 30 minutes and opened the bottom half of the draw for the likes of Lin Dan to capitalize on. The Chinese have a strong showing with six players in the last 16 and the biggest name of them all is safely into the second round as Lin Dan progressed to set up a second round match against Rumbaka of Indonesia. Last years beaten finalist Kenichi Tago takes on last years semi finalist in Peter Gade in the second round this year, both progressing without difficulty today.
Lee Chong Wei was in superb form to set up a tough second round match against the 4th of last years semi finalists in Bao Chunlai, with the Chinese player impressive in his 21-10, 21-6 win over Sony Kuncoro in his opening round match. The Danish presence in the draw is down to just the 4th seeded Gade, with Jan O Jorgensen and Joachim Persson both crashing out on the opening day. World champion Chen Jin survived a tough opening game against Rajiv Ouseph before cruising to a 2 game victory and a second round match against Germany’s Marc Zwiebler. Continue reading »
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The second SuperSeries Premier event of 2011 takes place this week in Birmingham as the All England Championships take centre stage this week. Lin Dan is looking to regain his title and take his second Super Series Premier title whilst defending champion Lee Chong Wei will be looking for revenge after his Korea Open defeat to Lin Dan.
Lee Chong Wei is the top seed this week and starts his campaign against Sho Sasaki of Japan before a potential second round match against the winner of Bao Chunlai and Sony Kuncoro, both players have been seeded in Super Series events in the past few years but such is the strength and depth of the draws in the Premier events, they meet in the first round this week. The 8th seed Boonsak Ponsana faces a tough test against Simon Santoso in his first round match and the winner will likely play Joachim Persson of Denmark for a place in the last 8. Continue reading »
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The massive Chinese presence saw some of the mainstream and formidable players humbled by the new generation of Chinese talent in Seoul in the second round. Whilst the day also seen several seeded players lose out to their unseeded opponents.
The top three seeds in the mens singles remain in the draw, with Lee Chong Wei bouncing back from his opening round match to defeat Park Sung Hwan in two games to set up a quarterfinal with Chinese qualifier Wang Zhengming, who defeated his team mate and current world champion Chen Jin in an impressive 21-11, 21-14 victory. Chen Long and Bao Chunlai also suffered losses in the second round, with 4th seeded Chen Long losing out to Kenichi Tago of Japan whilst 8th seeded Bao Chunlai was defeated by Du Pengyu in a 21-16, 21-13 win for the unseeded Chinese player.
The bottom half has two fantastic matchups, with Simon Santoso taking on the 3rd seeded Peter Gade, with both players in excellent form and have not dropped a game in reaching the last 8. The second match is one of the oldest rivalries of the current crop of players, with 6th seeded Lin Dan and 2nd seed Taufik Hidayat. Lin Dan has been throughly impressive in reaching the last 8, winning both of his matches comfortably whilst Taufik Hidayat narrowly won his second round match over Wong Wing Ki in three games to book his place in the last 8.
The probability of an all-Chinese final looms large in the womens singles, with several of the contenders crashing out on the second day. 4th seed Saina Nehwal suffering a surprise defeat to Sayaka Sato of Japan in their three-game match, 7th seeded Juliane Schenk also lost out to unseeeded Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in another three-game encounter and plays Sakaya Sato for a place in Saturday’s semi final. The other match in the bottom half of the draw seeds the two remaining seeds in this half play one another, 2nd seeded Wang Shixian plays 5th seeded Tine Baun with both players in excellent form on route to the last 8, neither player dropping a game on route to the quarter final.
The top half has three Chinese seeds and a sole Korean representative making up the four. Top seeded Wang Xin has dropped just 49 points on route to the last 8, where she takes on Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun who defeated the 8th seeded Bae Youn Joo in three games to book her place in the quarter finals. The final quarter final is an All-Chinese affair, with 3rd Wang Yihan takes on her second Chinese player this week, after defeating Lu Lan in the second round. Her opponent in the last 8 is the 6th seeded Jiang Yanjiao who has like Wang Yihan, failed to drop a game on route to tomorrow’s quarter final.
The men’s doubles has three different nations all taking on their countrymen for a place in the last 4. The first is an all-Danish matchup between the top seeded Boe and Mogensen who take on the pairing of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen, who defeated the 5th seeded Cai and Fu in a three game match today. There is an all-Korean match up between Kim and Kim, who defeated the 3rd seeded Kido and Setiawan. They take on the 6th seeds and last years winners Lee and Jung for a place in the last 4. The third and final match of this kind is an all-Malaysia encounter between Koo and Tan, seeded 2 and the unseeded pair of Ong and Tazari, who defeated the 8th seeded Chandra and Setiawan to reach the quarter finals.
The 4 Chinese seeds in the womens doubles loom large, with the potential of a Chinese monopoly on the semi final a distinct possibility. Top seeded Cheng and Chien take on the 7th seeded Cheng and Ma, with the Chinese pairing dropping just 49 points and spending just over an hour on court to this point. The unseeded pairing of Tse and Poon have the almighty task of taking on the on-form pairing of Wang and Yu, seeded 6th this week and in stunning form, winning three of their games to 3, 4 and 7 points and the fourth game to 12 points. The bottom half sees 8th seeded Tian and Zhao take on India’s Gutta and Ponnappa, who defeated the world #11 Fujii and Kakiiwa in the second round. The last of the quarter finals sees the 5th seeded Du and Pan take on Japan’s Suetsuna and Maeda, seeded 2nd and in excellent form in their opening two rounds.
The mixed doubles is without it’s two top seeds, losing the 2nd seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam to unseeded Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei. They take on 6th seeded Tian and Jiaming of China in their quarter final match. The other match in the bottom half seeds the 4th seeded Ko and Ha taking on the 7th seeded Pedersen and Fischer Neilsen, with the Danes being significantly more rested than their opponents who have struggled through two 3-game matches to reach this point. The top half of the draw is laden with Chinese potential winners, with Ma Jin taking on her ex-partner He Hanbin in the quarter final, as the 8th seeded Yu and He take on the unseeded Ma and Xu. The final quarter final sees the 2010 All-England winners Zhao and Zheng take on the Indonesian pair of Natsir and Ahmad.
The opening day of the Super Series Premier offered the opportunity for several of the world top players to stumble early, however all of them passed their opening round tests. The Chinese as expected faired well on the first full day of competition, with several of their new partnerships getting off to excellent starts in the doubles events.
The last 16 of the men’s singles is one befitting of this new Premier series of events, with even the second round match of Rajiv Ouseph and Simon Santoso being one of intrigue. Santoso defeated the 7th seeded Boonsak Ponsana, whose nightmare start to 2011 continues whilst Rajiv Ouseph defeated Hu Yun, ranked one place higher at #12 in the world in his opening round matchup. Lee Chong Wei survived a scare against Jan O Jorgensen, eventually progressing in three games to set up his second round match with Park Sung Hwan. Peter Gade’s opening Super Series match of 2011 was a excellent two game win over Indonesia’s Dionysuis Hayom Rumbaka, leaving him as the last Dane remaining in the draw. China however have 6 of the last 16 players in the singles, with all four of their seeded players progressing into round 2. The top half of the draw has 5 Chinese players in it, with Bao Chunlai taking on qualifier Wang Zhengming is what is unlikely to be the last all-Chinese match this week. Lin Dan is the sole representative in the bottom half of the draw and takes on Germany’s Marc Zwiebler in the second round.
All 8 of the seeded women are safely into the second round of the singles, with Tine Baun impressively beating China’s Li Xuerui in two games to book her place in the last 16. The four Chinese seeds are also joined in the last 16 by the 2009 world champion Lu Lan, who takes on 3rd seeded Wang Yihan in tomorrow’s second round. The Korean’s will have split allegiances in the second of the women’s singles matches as 8th seeded Bae Yoo Joun takes on Sung Ji Hyun in an all-Korean affair. Saina Nehwal had to battle all the way in her opening round match winning a tight three game match 22-20 in the final game.
Top seeded Boe and Mogensen survived a minor scare in their opening round match against Gan and Tan, needing eight attempts to win the opening game after leading 20-13 but eventually coming through in two games and take on the Japanese pairing of Kawamae and Sato. Cai and Fu progressed safely into round 2 and have set up one of the best matches in tomorrow’s order of play against the on-form Danish pair of Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen who avenged their loss in last week’s final in Malaysia to Chinese pair Chai and Guo. 4th seeded Korean pair Ko and Yoo are also safely into the second round and take on the partnership of Blair and Limpele in the last 16.
The prospect of an all-Chinese final in the women’s doubles is all the more likely with the loss of two non-Chinese seeds on the opening day, with 4th seeded Nedelcheva and Russkikh defeated by Indonesian’s Marissa and Melati. The 3rd seeds did no better, with Vislova and Sorokina defeated by last years runners-up in this event, Fujii and Kakiiwa of Japan. The four Chinese seeds all progressed easily into the second round with the loss of just one game between them, the 5th seeded Pan and Du were taken to three games by the Chinese Taipei pair of Hsien and Wang. The top two seeds also progressed without difficulty, with Chien and Cheng defeating the Danish pair of Rytter Juhl and Pedersen in two games and take on the Korean qualifiers of Eom and Kim in the second round.
The 3rd seeds in the mixed doubles, Mateusiak and Zieba suffered a crushing two game defeat to the new partnership of Xu and Ma as this new partnership hopes to continue in the long line of Chinese domination in this event. A potential quarter final match with old partner He Hanbin is on the cards for Ma Jin if both progress through tomorrow’s games, with Ma and Xu taking on semi finalists last week, Blair and White whilst He and Yu take on Korean qualifiers Kim and Yoo. 2010 All-England winners Zhang and Zhao made it a double disappointment for Anastasia Russkikh today, defeating her and partner Hendra Setiawan in two games and the 5th seeds set up a second round match with Rijal and Susanto of Indonesia.
The opening Premier event of 2011 ushers in a new era for badminton, with added prize funds now over $1,000,000 there is suddenly a massive incentive to play in these “Premier” events that will ultimately attract the best players in the world. The opening round in Korea has provided the strongest field since the World Championships in August, perhaps even stronger than that due the depth of certain nations that allows them to field more than 4 players from their nation.
The clear favourite going into this week is Lee Chong Wei, dominant in Malaysia in his home event and looking to be in similar form to his impressive 2010 campaign. He will need to be at his very best for his opening round match when he takes on the world number 9 Jan O Jorgensen in his opening round match, such is the depth of talent in this event. Potentially all of his opponents this week will be ranked inside the top 25 in the world, nothing that could ever be boasted before this week. The question marks over Lin Dan’s withdrawals over the last couple of months should end here, with no Chinese players in his half of the draw for him to conveniently withdraw before player, the chance of seeing the dream final against Lee Chong Wei is a strong possibility. However, he must overcome a qualifier in Round 1 and the potential of playing his long-time rivals Taufik Hidayat and Peter Gade in the later rounds is going to test the 6th seed to the very limit.
There are other high-caliber matches in the opening round in the singles, world number 4 and 4th seeded Chen Long takes on the world number 7 Tien Minh Nguyen who did not receive a seed for this week’s event and the on-form Simon Santoso takes on Boonsak Ponsana who will be looking to play better than last week in Malaysia.
The women’s singles will undoubtably be a mainly Chinese affair, with 4 of the 6 top seeds coming from China. Only Saina Nehwal (seeded 4) and Tine Baun (seeded 5) potentially posing any sort of challenge before the all-Chinese matches later in the week than has been the story of much of the later half of 2010. Top seed Wang Xin could have an all-Chinese match as early as the second round with Liu Xin a potential opponent, there is also Lu Lan and Li Xuerui in the draw to boost the potential for a Chinese monopoly this week. Wang Shixian takes on the world number 16 Salakjit Ponsana in her opening round match whilst the world number 5 Tine Baun’s campaign begins against Li Xuerui, seeded just six places lower than her in the current rankings. Saina Nehwal’s campaign will not run into a Chinese opponent at least until the semi final, but will potentially have a meeting with Germany’s Juliane Schenk to reach the last 4.
Local favourites Lee and Jung are hoping to retain their title from last year where they triumphed as the top seeds, 12 months later and they are the 6th seeds and begin with a match against the 2005 world champions Bach and Gunawan with Kido and Setiawan as well as Koo and Tan in their half of the draw. There is also potential banana skins in the draw with the unseeded Chinese pairings throughout the draw, Zhang and Xu are also in the bottom half of the draw whilst the likes of last weeks winners Chai and Guo who were seeded last week in Malaysia and play their opponents from that final in Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen in the opening round this week, with a potential matchup against Cai and Fu waiting in round 2. The top seeded Danish pair of Boe and Mogensen could almost boast to have an “easy” draw until the last 8, taking on the world #16 pairing of Gan and Tan of Malaysia in their opening round match.
The women’s doubles is one of the events this week where seedings simply don’t matter, this about how is on form that week, especially with the Chinese ladies playing at such a high level over the past few months. The two “favourites” for this week are the 6th seeded Wang/Xu and 7th seeds Cheng/Ma from China who are both in the top half of the draw whilst another Chinese pair is expected to come out of the bottom half for the expected all-Chinese final on Sunday. The other four seeds simply have to stop that happening, with top seeded pair Chien and Cheng taking on the Danish pair of Pedersen and Rytter Juhl and the 2nd seeds from Japan, Maeda and Suetsuna having to play into some sort of form before the expected matchup with the 5th seeded Chinese pair of Du and Pan.
Ma Jin’s excellent run with He Hanbin seemed to be a temporary one, as Yu Yang has returned as He Hanbin’s partner this week in what must be an increasingly annoying situation for one half of the current mixed doubles world champion. However her partner this week is the excellent Xu Chen but they begin their campaign against the 3rd seeded Polish pair of Mateusiak and Zieba. The main news from the mixed doubles draw is the withdrawal of the top seeded pair of Laybourn and Rytter Juhl, with Thomas Laybourn not recovering from an injury that cut his SuperSeries finals appearance short earlier in the month. The top half of the draw has been opened up for a Chinese monopoly with 4 pairings in the top half of the draw. 8th seeded He and Yu and 5th seeded Zhang and Zhao will look to capitalise on the opportunity. The bottom half is not without some excellent pairings also, with last week’s runners up Tian and Jaiming seeded 6. Ko and Ha are the big local hope, seeded 4th and taking on the German pairing of Fuchs and Michels in their opening round match.