2012 London Olympics – Dates/Times For The Diary

On July 25, 2012, in Olympics, by Eddie Smith

The group stages have provided countless intriguing matches, from the opening session of play all the way to the final session of the group phase.

All Start Times Are Local Times

Saturday, July 28 – 8.30am
Lee / Ha (Korea) – Laybourn / Rytter Juhl (Denmark)

The toughest mixed doubles group of the four opens up play inside Wembley Arena, with the world number 8 and 9 pairs clashing to take one step closer to the quarter finals. They sole meeting came at the German GP in April and resulted in a one-sided victory for the Danes which they will hope for this weekend. There is also the question of endurance for Lee Yong Dae, as he will be back on court that night in the men’s doubles with Chung Jae Sung over 12 hours after playing his opening mixed doubles match. Saturday will be a long day for Lee Yong Dae.

Sunday, July 29 – 8.30am
Zhang / Zhao (China, Seeded 1) – Adcock / Bankier (Great Britain)

Wembley Arena has brought them together once more, with the playing field evened ever so slightly from little under a year ago. The Brits have claimed two famous victories since their defeat at the World Championships against this Chinese pair, both coming at Super Series Premier events. Zhang and Zhao claimed their most recent match in Indonesia last month, but the British pair have something they didn’t have a year ago, belief that they could beat the Chinese. There was hope last year that their run the final would continue on for one more day, but on Sunday morning there is a belief and a track record to support them – as well as a capacity crowd.

Sunday, July 29 – 1.40pm
Chen Long (China, Seeded 3) – Boonsak Ponsana (Thailand)

On paper, this should be a routine victory on route to the last 16 for the 3rd seed but their head to head suggests differently. The world number 22 has a 2-1 advantage over Chen Long from Ponsana’s time inside the world’s top ten. Their last match was over 18 months ago but this is far from an easy match for Chen Long.

Monday, July 30 – 9.05am
Wang Yihan (China, Seeded 1) – Michelle Li (Canada)

The Canadian has struggled with food poisoning in the build up this week, but there will be no excuses available to Wang Yihan should she fail to reach the last 16. It will be their first match against one another, with the world number 1 a massive favourite to go through. Michelle Li’s draw in the women’s doubles is just as tough as she will take on the world number 1 pairing of Wang and Yu the day before her opening singles match.

Monday, July 30 – 2.15pm
Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia, Seeded 1) – Ville Lang (Finland)

The national secret over the rehabilitation of Lee Chong Wei’s ankle will be revealed and tested on Monday afternoon, by the Finnish workhouse of Ville Lang. His 104-minute marathon against Christian Lind Thomsen in April has proven that is physically capable of withstanding a demanding match, he will lengthen rallies to tire opponents and he will test out Lee Chong Wei’s right ankle. Few are expecting a Lee Chong Wei defeat if he is anywhere near his best, but his rivals will watch this match intently for signs of discomfort and weakness.

Monday, July 30 – 7.44pm
Peter Gade (Denmark, Seeded 5) – Pedro Martins (Portugal)

And so the legend ends. Peter Gade’s final Olympics will begin on Monday night against Portugal’s Pedro Martins with the knowledge that a win will take him through to the last 16. It has been over two months since Gade’s last competitive victory, with a pair of losses to Lee Hyun Il and Sony Dwi Kuncoro adding more doubt to the legendary Gade’s chances of medalling in London. A strong performance will cast those doubts aside for at least a few days.

Monday, July 30 – 8.15pm
Lin Dan (China, Seeded 2) – Scott Evans (Ireland)

Lin Dan’s title defence starts against Scott Evans, a reserve for the event who know has the unthinkable task of ending the run of the defending champion. The pair have played three times previously with their most recent match taking place inside Wembley Arena at the 2011 Worlds, with Lin Dan winning comfortably. Scott Evans has never taken a game against Lin Dan, he’ll need two for the biggest shock of the Olympics.

Tuesday, July 31 – 2.19pm
Sayaka Sato (Japan, Seeded 12) – Susan Egelstaff (Great Britain)

Susan Egelstaff’s draw was considered favourable as she avoided the top 10 players in the world, but on further observation this could be the biggest shock of the group stages as well as one of the best moments inside Wembley Arena for the GB team. Egelstaff holds a 1-0 advantage in the head to heads, with a victory at the 2010 All England Championships but Sato also comes into the Olympics in a poor run of form – winning just 8 of her 22 matches this year.

Tuesday, July 31 – 3.20pm
Lee / Chung (Korea, Seeded 2) – Koo / Tan (Malaysia)

There will be something riding on this match in all likelihood for at least one of these pairs, whether it is for the group win or simply to qualify. Koo and Tan have failed to record a victory over the Korean pair since the 2010 Worlds in Paris and will probably need a victory to ensure their place in the last 8 with Boe and Mogensen or Chai and Guo waiting in the quarter finals for one if not both of the pairs.

Full Olympic Schedule

The 2012 Thomas and Uber Cup Finals have seen their fair share of shock results, but the biggest scare of the week so far is Lee Chong Wei’s ankle injury sustained in his match against Peter Gade.

Thomas Cup

The host nation China had little trouble in winning Group A, with a pair of 5-0 victories over Indonesia and England with the loss of just one game in the 10 matches. Indonesia claimed second place in the group with a 4-1 victory over England to reach the quarter final stage. Japan topped Group B with a perfect record of 10 victories without the loss of a single game, defeating Russia and New Zealand 5-0. Russia claimed the second place in the with their own 5-0 victory over New Zealand to reach the last 8.

Denmark topped Group C after defeating Malaysia in a tight 3-2 victory, but only due to Lee Chong Wei’s retirement in the opening match against Peter Gade. Leading 2-1 in the opening game, the world number twisted his ankle awkwardly attempting to play a routine drop shot and was forced to retire from the match. The estimation of his layoff is set to be 3-4 weeks but other sources claim that the ankle injury is much more serious and the chances of making the Olympics are unlikely. Denmark claimed both doubles matches to ensure a 3-2 victory and top spot in the group whilst Malaysia progress to the last 8 but will be without Lee Chong Wei for the rest of the event. Korea top Group D with a narrow 3-2 victory over Germany as both nations reach the last 8 with both Korea and Germany defeating the US.

Uber Cup

China also topped Group A in the Uber Cup after a both of withdrawals in their final match against Indonesia ensured a second 5-0 victory in the group. Indonesia will also go through to the last 8 after defeating South Africa earlier in the group. Thailand and Chinese Taipei go through from Group B, with both nations losing a match in the group stage, the Netherlands shocked Chinese Taipei in the opening match of the group whilst Thailand defeated Netherlands 5-0 before going down 3-2 to Chinese Taipei, meaning the group went down to matches won.

Korea safely progressed without the loss of a match in Group C as Germany’s singles players ensured their place in the last 8 with a tight 3-2 win over Australia to ensure their qualification. Japan edged out Denmark for top spot in Group D as the Dane led Japan 2-0 in the final group match, only for the Japanese to win the next three games and win the rubber as well as the Group.

Tuesday’s Results

The build up event to the All England Championships next week attracted several of the top 10 players in the world from all events, but some of those players looking to play their way into form failed at the first hurdle today.

A Near Perfect Showing

13 of the last 16 players in the men’s singles are the seeds from the start of the week, with Christian Lind Thomsen, Yong Zhao Ashton Chen and Ville Lang making up the remainder of the draw. Lind Thomsen was responsible for the loss of Wang Zhengming in the opening round whilst Ville Lang defeated the 12th seeded Boonsak Ponsana to reach the third round tomorrow.

Lin Dan and Chen Jin are the favourites this week, hoping to boost their ranking points in the last few months of Olympic qualifying. Both have reached the last 16 without the loss of a game, with the top seeded Lin Dan taking on Pablo Abian of Spain in the third round whilst Chen Jin takes on Wong Wing Ki in his third round match.

Marin Topples Cheng

One of the big surprises in the opening round of the women’s singles was the defeat of Cheng Shao Chieh to Carolina Marin of Spain. The 4th seed and world silver medalist crashed out in a two game loss that never looked in danger of anything but beating a victory for the Spanish teenager. There were no such shocks regarding the top two seeds, with Wang Xin and Li Xuerui coming through their opening round matches without the loss of a game.

Local hopes will be on the shoulders of Juliane Schenk, as the 3rd seed started her campaign in impressive fashion over Anastacia Prokopenko to set up her second round clash with Eriko Hirose of Japan as two of the top 20 players in the world face other tomorrow.

Korean Shock In Doubles

Lee and Jung started their week off with a straightforward victory to set up a second round clash with the German pairing of Fuchs and Roth, with the possibility of an all-Korean final looming large. Ko and Yoo are seeded 2nd this week and defeated Koch and Zauner in impressive fashion to set up their second round clash with Chen and Lin of Chinese Taipei.

There will be no such luck in the women’s doubles, with top seeded Ha and Kim crashing out to Sari and Yao of Singapore in the opening round, opening the door for an all-Japanese final. The highest three seeds left in the draw are all Japanese but the 2nd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa have a tough task tomorrow against the Chinese pairing of Ma and Zhong.

7 of the 8 seeds are left in the mixed doubles draw, with the 5th seeded Chan and Goh losing out to Rijal and Susanto in the opening round. Chen and Cheng are the top seeds this week and started off with a three game victory over their Malaysian opponents. There was a real scare for the 3rd seeded Lee and Ha who fought back after losing the opening game 21-7 to ensure their place in the last 16. Fuchs and Michels ensure a German involvement tomorrow, with the 8th seeded pairing defeating the Chinese qualifiers Qiu and Tang.

Wednesday’s Results

With a new Super Series season starting the BWF is once again providing free live streaming in select countries.  The first event of the year is the Victor Korea Open 2012.

The coverage begins at 4am GMT on Thursday January 5th.

Round of 16

Quarter Finals

Semi Finals

Finals

The first event of 2012 takes the world’s elite to Seoul for the biggest prize money of the year in the opening Super Series Premier event.

Tough Start For Gade

Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan both avoided a potentially tough opener, with the world number 1 taking on Kashyap Parupalli of India whilst Lin Dan has a first round clash with Spain’s Pablo Abian. Chen Long takes on a qualifier whilst Peter Gade has the toughest draw of the top four seeds as he takes on Du Pengyu of China. The world number 4 and world number 11 clash in the biggest match of the opening day of play. Gade holds a 3-0 head to head advantage and won their most recent encounter in China in late November last year.

Tien Minh Nguyen will be tested in his opening round match against Keinchi Tago in another fantastic opening round match with countless intriguing encounters taking place out with the seeded players. Boonsak Ponsana and Wang Zhengming also clash in the opening round, as well as Lee Hyun Il taking on Wong Wing Ki. Taufik Hidayat starts with a potential banana skin against Rajiv Ouseph of England, with a loss almost ensure he will drop out of the top 16 in the world.

Chinese Presence Throughout

The top 3 seeds in the women’s singles are as expected, Chinese. With Wang Yihan claiming the top seed and an opening round match against Jie Yao of Holland, Wang Shixian is seeded 2 and takes on Fu Mingtian of Singapore. The 3rd seed Wang Xin takes on Bae Youn Joo of Korea in the toughest of the three encounters, taking on the world number 14. Saina Nehwal takes on Susan Egelstaff in a rematch of the 2010 Commonwealth Games semi final whilst the final Chinese seed, Jiang Yanjiao take on Bulgaria’s Linda Zechiri in the opening round.

European hopes lie with Tine Baun, seeded 5th this week the Dane takes on the Canadian Michelle Li in a potentially tough opener. Juliane Schenk is seeded 7 but faces Liu Xin of China in her opening match in the biggest match of the opening round in the women’s singles draw. Liu Xin is ranked 10 in the world and holds a 2-0 head to head advantage against her German opponent.

The 3rd Force In Men’s Doubles?

Boe and Mogensen come into 2012 as the form pair in the men’s doubles after success in the Super Series Finals before Christmas and come into this week seeded 3. Their opening round match is against the 2005 world champions, Bach and Gunawan of the USA with a potential rematch with Lee and Jung in the semi finals. The 2nd seeds are the defending champions and take on Kumar and Thomas of India in their opening round match.

Top seeds Cai and Fu crashed out of the Super Series Finals at the group stage and have a potentially tough opener against the Polish pair of Logosz and Cwalina whilst the 4th seeded Korean pair of Ko and Yoo take on the Chinese pairing of Liu and Qiu of China, who are ranked 15 in the world.

Wang And Yu Still The Pair To Beat

World number 1 since June and haven’t lost a match since January of last year, Wang and Yu are the super power of the women’s doubles and come into 2012 looking for an unthinkable run of a year without losing a match. They start 2012 with a opening round match against Wang and Wang of the USA and a likely matchup with the 2nd seeded Zhao and Tian in the final on Sunday. Zhao and Tian start their campaign against Agustin and Maheswari of Indonesia.

2011 World Championship Rematch

Zhang and Zhao take on Adcock and Bankier in a rematch of the 2011 World Championship final, this time in the opening round in Korea. It is a tough blow for the British pair hoping to grab valuable ranking points in a 3-way fight for an Olympic place with Robertson and Wallwork as well as White and Blair. The 8th seeds and 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl wait in the first round for White and Blair. The 2nd seeded Xu and Ma start with a tough opener of their own, taking on Widianto and Marissa of Indonesia with both previous meetings going to three games.

Lee and Eun of Korea are the wildcard of the draw, they take on a qualifier in their opening round before a likely second round match with Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand.

Korean Open Draw

Men’s Singles: 2012 Preview

On December 24, 2011, in Badminton News, BWF Super Series, by Eddie Smith

The 2012 Olympics signals the end of four legendary careers, with the hope of a last great battle between Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan for the Olympic gold on August 5, 2012. August of this year provided with perhaps the greatest advertisement for the game that there has ever been as Lee Chong Wei took on Lin Dan for the 2011 World Championship.

Malaysia expected as Lee Chong Wei had two match points to claim his first world title, only for Lin Dan to break a nations heart with his refusal to be beaten. A nation distraught as China claimed a clean sweep in London as Lin Dan ripped off his top in celebration after his historic victory. It was the defining image of 2011, that the Chinese were still the nation to beat and that Lin Dan will still the man to beat.

As much as the Chinese tactics are questionable on how they get so many players to qualify, there is little doubting they are the nation to beat going into next years Olympics. Malaysia and Lee Chong Wei’s last chance waits in London once more, in the arena that robbed him of a world title 12 months previously.

From the stunning mistake by Lin Dan at 19-19 in the third game, to his net play and smashes that saved the two match points before his precise pushes into Lee Chong Wei’s forehand that forced the errors that led to the match point and the eventual winning point, it was an absolute master class on the greatest stage by both players. They simply are the best two players in the world and the only two men capable of winning gold in London.

Fighting For Gold

Lee Chong Wei was the overall best player of 2011; winning almost every event he entered and claimed his first All England title against Kenichi Tago in March. The last three months have seen him lose to China’s Chen Long no less than three times which is the only real worry for the Malaysian going into 2012. He will undoubtedly play a full schedule going into the Olympics, with the chance of a second All England title looming large.

Lin Dan goes into 2012 in top form, winning his last three events including the Super Series Finals earlier in December. He won the opening Super Series Premier in Korea in January and followed it up with Asian Games gold, an event that Lee Chong Wei did not play. The top two in the world played each other 5 times in ranking events, with Lin Dan winning four of the five meetings with Lin Dan holding a 18-8 advantage in their 26 meetings to date.

Gade’s Last Chance

Peter Gade celebrated his 35th birthday this month but there was little to celebrate on the court for the Dane as he failed to claim a single title in 2011 as Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei proved too strong throughout the year in a recurring theme for Europe’s number 1. In his 12 meetings with the top two players, he won just three games and failed to win a single match.

His record against the top two is 32-4, with his last victory over Lin Dan over 18 months ago and almost three years since his last win over Lee Chong Wei. His chances of a stunning upset and a Danish gold in London look grim whilst in the Super Series events he will be a perennial contender and will reach the latter stages of most of the events he participates in, but his chances of gold in London are slim.

Taufik’s Fall From Grace

The decline of Taufik started in May of this year when his #2 ranking slipped to 3 and then came the double defeat to Marc Zwiebler in the US and Canada Open. The foundation of his ranking came from his Denmark and France Super Series victories in 2010. His defeat in the second round to Viktor Axelsen in Denmark followed by his opening round loss to Wang Zhengming in France ensured Hidayat’s decline out of the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time in recent memory.

He ended the year with a whimper, losing all three games in the Super Series Finals and taking just a single game against Kenichi Tago. He will start 2012 with a world ranking of 12, still inside the qualifcation zone for the Olympics but he is currently the #2 ranked player from Indonesia with Simon Santoso ranked 7 in the world and Tommy Sugiarto a threat to Hidayat’s qualification also, ranked 17th in the world.

The Chinese Threat

The 2009 world champion Chen Jin as well as the new star of Chinese badminton, Chen Long are just the tip of a massive Chinese threat going into any major tournament in 2012. With 5 Chinese players inside the top 16, there is a massive internal battle within the Chinese squad to claim one of a potential three spots in the Olympics, should China manage to get three players inside the top 4 in the world.

Chen Long is clearly the new star of Chinese badminton, the 22-year old begun this year well outside of the top 10 and his stunning loss to Kevin Cordon in the opening round of the world championships could have derailed his promising career. However, he returned to form later in the year with a trio of titles including a Super Series Premier title in China before his milestone victory over Lee Chong Wei in Japan the next week. This became a recurring theme, with another victory over Lee Chong Wei in Denmark and then finally in their most recent matchup in the Super Series Finals. He is the main threat to the top two in the world going into 2012.

Chen Jin claimed just a single title this year, in the Singapore Super Series after a Lin Dan walkover in the final and without Lee Chong Wei even in the draw. His two runner-up medals were defeats to Lin Dan and Chen Long to firmly establish himself as the third force of Chinese badminton now.

Du Pengyu and Wang Zhengming are the two wild cards of Chinese badminton. They have all but been eliminated from being able to qualify for the 2012 games but will be vital in ensuring a massive Chinese presence at the London Olympics. Ranked #10 and #14 in the world will put them in a position of being seeds in some events but potentially facing one of the seeds in the Premier events of 2011, like Wang Zhengming taking on Taufik Hidayat in the French Super Series in October. They will also play a role in ensuring Chinese success at these events, with the Chinese squad allowing walkovers to occur in all-Chinese matchups, meaning more rest for the higher ranked Chinese players in their big events.

The Breakout Stars of 2011

2011 seen the emergence of Sho Sasaki, Lee Hyun Il, Simon Santoso and Marc Zwiebler into the top 16 players in the world. 29-year old Sho Sasaki has been grinding away a career that seen him ranked as low as 40 in June of this year after a string of opening round losses to start 2011. He then reached the semi finals in the Indonesian Super Series Premier and followed that with a win in the US Open in July. An excellent run to the last 8 of the world championships boosted his ranking into the top 10 and finishes the year with his highest ever world ranking of 7. A lot is expected of Sasaki in 2012 with impressive victories over Lin Dan and Du Pengyu in 2011 but has to ensure no opening round upsets that marred his 2011 season.

Lee Hyun Il ended his career after the Beijing Olympics, only to be talked back into playing competitively just 20 months ago. Ranked 196th in May of 2010, he has returned to the world’s top 10 going into 2012, winning his last two events of 2011. A former world number 1 in 2004, his return to the top 10 is nothing short of stunning with victories over Chen Jin, Wang Zhengming , Du Pengyu and Simon Santoso confirming his top 10 status. He will benefit in 2012 with being seeded for most of the early Super Series events of the year to bolster his place in the top 10.

Simon Santoso was touted to overtake Taufik Hidayat as Indonesia’s number 1 in the summer after Hidayat’s poor run in the US and Canada Open. He entered the world championships ranked 19th but his run to the semi finals in China and Macau, that featured a victory over Peter Gade seen Santoso become the top ranked Indonesian player and ensured his place in the top 10 in December. His victory over Hidayat in the China Masters saw the passing of the guard to the 26-year old.

Marc Zwiebler has cemented his place as Europe’s number 2 behind Peter Gade, but his double victory over Taufik Hidayat has pushed him into the spotlight. Ranked as high as 11 earlier in the year, he has levelled out within the 15-17 ranking in the later half of the year following his Canada Open success. Big things are expected of Zwiebler in 2012 as he is set to take on the mantle of Europe’s #1 after the Olympics.

The New Breed

Denmark’s future lies with Viktor Axelsen, the 2010 junior world champion and current European junior champion carefully scheduled his 2011 calender, with a victory in Spain before his greatest moment of his career in the Denmark Open as he defeated Taufik Hidayat in his hometown to reach the last 8 of a Super Series for the first time. He took a game off Peter Gade in his quarterfinal before losing out in three games but that propelled him onto the world stage. He played the Hong Kong and China Masters in the latter half of 2011 and will likely take on a full schedule in 2012 as he looks to improve on his ranking of 36.

Wong Wing Ki’s victory over Lin Dan in Denmark was the 21-year old’s first breakthrough victory of his career and a series of promising results to end 2011 has him just outside the top 20 in the world going into 2012. He has been competitive against the world’s elite throughout the last year with only his standout victory against Lin Dan to show for it, he will hope to have several more impressive wins in 2012.

The European Hopefuls

Pablo Abian, Rajiv Ouseph have been the powerhouses of the EBU circuit, whilst Jan O Jorgensen has been reaching the latter stages of the Super Series towards the end of 2011 after a health scare during the week of the Denmark Open.

Pablo Abian started 2011 just inside the top 50 in the world before taking four titles in the first half of the year, including a victory over Viktor Axelsen in Sweden in January to claim his first title. Opening round defeats in the Denmark and France Open will have to be improved on in 2012 to break into the world’s elite.

Rajiv Ouseph will go to the London Olympics as GB’s only chance of a medal in this event but his success in 2011 has came in Europe, with victories in Ireland and Scotland, choosing to play the European events instead of the Super Series Premier event in China. He goes into 2012 in need of a notable run in a Super Series to boost his confidence ahead of the pressure of performing on home soil after a poor attempt this year in a 21-8, 21-18 defeat to Peter Gade in the opening round of the 2011 world championships.

Jan O Jorgensen is a former top 10 player whose health scare in Denmark forced him into a layoff of 4 weeks that seen him dip to 19 in the rankings. Three quarter final appearances in Super Series events in 2011 will be the very minimum he will need to ensure his place at the Olympics ahead of Viktor Axelsen, as the two battle it out to be Denmark’s number 1 after Gade’s retirement.

However, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus is also a contender in the debate. Ranked outside the top 30 at the start of 2011, the Dane took the Dutch Open title in April to push him into the top 25 and another victory in the Bitburger Open sees him inside the top 20 and finished the year with a close match with Chen Long of China. The performance in the China Open will be one that Vittinghus hopes to emulate throughout 2011 to ensure his name is in the discussion over Denmark’s top men’s singles player.

The Asian Contingent

The rarely spoken about Tien Minh Nguyen has been inside the top 10 in the world for almost two years without any major runs in the Super Series, the Vietnamese player earns his ranking points from the GP Gold series of events but did put have a good run at the world championships, eventually losing out to Peter Gade in three games at the quarter final stage. Defeats to Sho Sasaki and Jan O Jorgensen in the latter part of 2011 still raise question marks over Nguyen’s true ability and significance within the rankings.

Park Sung Hwan’s year was cut short with an injury after the world championships. After surgery on his knee in September there was further complications after it was revealed that the Korean had circulation problems in his shoulder but is expected to return to action in the opening months of 2012. He was ranked inside the top 10 before his lay off due to injury.

Boonsak Ponsana is another player in the Tien Minh Nguyen mould in that he was almost discounted as a threat in the opening half of 2011 when he was ranked 6th in the world, mostly due to ranking points gained through the GP Gold series. His quarter final defeat to Lee Chong Wei is the highlight of a poor year for the Thai player that has seen him crash out of the top 10 but surgery has sidelined Ponsana for most of the second half of 2011, with 2012 seeing the Thai player hopefully return to the court.

The End Of An Era

Regardless of the results in London, Lee Chong Wei and Peter Gade have confirmed their intentions to retire after the Olympics. Lin Dan and Taufik Hidayat likely to follow suit, especially should Lin Dan claim his second Olympic title. Hidayat’s dip in form will likely be a contributing factor especially with his place in London far from guaranteed.

2012 will provide us with the end of an era and the chance to crown a new world number 1 after the Olympics. Whether that is Lee Chong Wei winning gold for Malaysia, Lin Dan retaining his Olympic title or the dream finale to Peter Gade’s stunning career, the countdown has begun. There is no more putting off talking about the likely retirement of these four players, for it is now a matter of months, not years now.

The 2012 season starts in just a few weeks, with the Korean Open Super Series Premier being moved 3 weeks to the first week in January, with the Malaysian Open Super Series the next week to ensure an exciting start to the year. The doubleheader of the Indonesia Premier and Singapore Super Series will be the final event before the run-in to the Olympics in late July.

Then, another 6 week break before the China Masters and the first opportunity to survey the aftermath of the 2012 Olympics. The year ends with the China Open Premier and the Hong Kong Super Series in late November to conclude what is likely to be a historic year of badminton.

2012 Calendar

Jonassen Couldn't Help Ouseph Beat Gade

Three quarter final places was the goal for the home nation going into the world championships, after just two days they are down to just four players and partnerships left in the five events. The four are spread across four different events, but the surprise defeat of the 10th seeded Robertson and Wallwork makes the goal of three quarter final places an unlikely one.

Lin Dan was the main attraction in the men’s singles today, with a two game victory ensuring his place in the last 32 tomorrow against Ireland’s Scott Evans who was also a winner in two games. Peter Gade ended English’s best chances of a good run in the singles in his two game victory over Rajiv Ouseph, whilst Toby Penty won the all-UK clash in the first round despite only getting into the event as a wild card. There were wins for Simon Santoso, Tien Minh Nguyen and Boonsak Ponsana, with the 10th seed having to come from a game down to defeat Eric Pang.

Wang Shixian’s campaign got off to the perfect start with a two game victory over Bulgaria’s Linda Zechiri, Jiang Yanjiao also progressed in two games to ensure a full compliment of Chinese players left in the draw after the shock defeat in the men’s singles by Kevin Cordon over Chen Long. One seed did fall today, Eriko Hirose was defeated by Spain’s Carolina Marin in three games, with the Spaniard claiming another impressive scalp on her way into the last 16 where she will meet Cheng Shao Chieh, the 7th seed in the 3rd round. Tine Baun kept European hopes alive with her two game victory over Chan Tsz Ka of Hong Kong, but did have to save three game points in the opening game before taking it 26-24.

Top seeded Cai and Fu had to battle through against their Russian opponents in three games to reach the last 16 where they will play the 12th seeded Kawamae and Sato of Japan, who defeated the Polish pair of Cwalina and Logosz. The 8th seeded Chandra and Gunawan also had to fight through in 3 games to reach the third round, where they will take on the 16th seeded Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen who had little trouble in reaching the last 16. Lee and Jung also started their campaign with a win over England’s Clark and Langridge in two games to set up a match with the 14th seeded Endo and Hayakawa, who defeated Smith and Warfe of Australia in two games.

Top seeded Wang and Yu were rarely trouble in their opening match, defeated the Swedish pair of Wengberg and Lennartsson in two games to reach the last 16. There will be an all-Japanese third round match as Maeda and Suetsuna, seeded 3 take on the 15th seeded Misaki and Takahashi with both winning their matches in two games. One of the main European threats crashed out, with the 13th seeded Jonathans and Van Dooremalen losing out to the Hong Kong pair of Chan and Chau.

England’s big hope of a medal this year has already ended in the mixed doubles, with the 10th seeded Robertson and Wallwork crashing out in the second round to Malaysia’s Chan and Goh in two games. There is still interest with Adcock and Bankier flying the GB flag after their two game victory over Ng and Gao of Canada. Top seeded Zhao and Zhang progressed safely into the last 16 where they take on the 13th seeded German pair of Fuchs and Michels whilst the 3rd seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam crashed out in the second round to the unseeded Singapore pairing of Triyachart and Yao. There was no problem for the 2009 world champions, Laybourn and Rytter Juhl who progressed in two games to set up a 3rd round match against Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei who also won in two games today over Hashimoto and Fujii of Japan.

Day 2 Results

The big Japanese contingent that travelled to the US Open have impressed and have defeated several seeds on route to the quarter final stages whilst some of the biggest names in Japanese badminton struggled on day 3.

Top Seeds Safely Into Last 8

There was little trouble for the top seeds in their 3rd round matches, with top seeded Taufik Hidayat booking his quarter final place against Marc Zwiebler of Germany, seeded 6th this week. The other quarter final in the top half of the draw sees the 3rd seeded Tien Minh Nguyen take on the 5th seeded Bao Chunlai, with all four players progressing without the loss of a game in their 3rd round matches. Boonsak Ponsana’s reward for defeating Takuma Ueda is another Japanese opponent in the 7th seeded Sho Sasaki.

Four Nations Remain

The women’s singles has a symmetry at the quarter final stage, with two competitors from four nations remaining. Two from China, Japan, Thailand and Chinese Taipei with one player from each nation in either half of the draw. Eriko Hirose and Porntip Buranaprasertsuk fight it out at the last 8 stage to see who is the last seed remaining in the top half of the draw, whilst all four seeds remain in the bottom half, with 2nd seeded Cheng Shao Chieh coming through in three games against Ayane Kurihana to set up her quarter final against Sayaka Sato of Japan.

Aussie Delight in Men’s Doubles

The big shock of the day was the defeat of Cheng and Fang in the men’s doubles to Australia pair of Smith and Warfe in just two games to book their place in the last 8. The remaining 7 seeds progressed into the last 8 and the pick of tomorrow’s match sees Lee and Ko take on the Japanese pair of Endo and Hayakawa, whilst the American pairing of Bach and Gunawan take on the German 3rd seeds in Kindervater and Schoettler.

Fujii and Kakiiwa Out

The biggest casualty in the women’s doubles was the loss of the 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa to China’s pairing of Ying and Yu in two games, but there is still two Japanese pairs through to the last 8 with Suetsuna and Maeda progressing in two games as well as Matsuo and Naito having better luck against their Chinese opponents, defeating them in three games to reach the last 8 to take on the 5th seeded Ha and Kim of Korea.

Matuso and Sato Stun Robertson and Wallwork

Japan’s excellent day in the doubles was completed with Matsuo and Sato’s two game victory over the 4th seeded Robertson and Wallwork. Lee and Ha continued their run in the event with a two game victory and take on the Chinese pairing of Qiu and Yixin who defeated England’s Olver and Ellis to compound a poor day for the English.

Day 3 Results:

This years US GP Gold event has produced a very quality field, with the likes of Bao Chunlai and Tine Baun using the event as preparation for the world championships in just 4 weeks time.

Top Seeds Through In Men’s Singles

Top seeded Taufik Hidayat has been a regular player at this event for a number of years and is safely into the last 16 with a pair of straight forward wins to set up a 3rd round match against Chetan Anand of India, who defeated the 13th seed Brice Leverdez in two games to round the last 16. 3rd seeded Tien Minh Nguyen has a similar story to Hidayat, with two straight forward victories and a 3rd round match against an Indian opponent, only the 3rd seeded takes on the 12th seeded Kashyap who has also been impressive on route to the 3rd round.

Bao Chunlai is the third big man in the top half of the draw, the 5th seed defeated Carl Baxter of England in the 2nd round to set up a last 16 clash with Japan’s Keigo Sonoda who defeated the 10th seeded Kazushi Yamada in his 2nd round match. The bottom half of the draw is dominated by the Japanese, with 3 players of the 8 remain on that half of the draw. Boonsak Ponsana, the highest seed in the bottom half takes on one of the Japanese players, 14th seeded Takumi Ueda. Both players have been in good form this week and have failed to drop a game on route to the 3rd round.

Baun Crashes Out

Top seed Tine Baun was the main name of interest in the women’s singles, but her run lasted all of 40 minutes as she crashed out to Kaori Imabeppu of Japan in just two games to set up the biggest shock of the week to date. Imabeppu’s reward for defeating Baun is a second round match against Lu Lan of China. The 2nd seeded Cheng Shao Chieh had little trouble in reaching the last 16, where she takes on Ayane Kurihara of Japan in another draw that has a big Japanese contingent still in the draw.

Seeds Safely Into Second Round

The opening rounds of the doubles have been fairly easy for the seeded pairs in all three events. Top seeded Fang and Lee were tested in their opening round match against Austria’s Koch and Zauner but the Chinese Taipei pair came through safely in two games. Lee and Ko of Korea join forces for the first time just a month ahead of the world championships, with the 5th seeds taking on Hirobe and Kazuno of Japan in their second round match in their first main test of the new partnership. The 7th seeded Bach and Gunawan faught through a three-game opening round match to progress into the last 16, where they take on the English pair of Clark and Langridge.

Cheng and Chien progressed into the second round of the women’s doubles without much resistance, but have a tougher test against the Singapore pairing of Sari and Yao in the second round. Japan’s involvement is also apparent in this event also, with 2nd seeded Suetsuna and Maeda as well as 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa both progressing into the last 16, as well as the 4th seeded Matsuo and Naito, who take on the Chinese pairing of Yixin and Cheng in the second round.

Yixin is also in the mixed doubles, and with her partner Qiu YIhan defeated the 2nd seeded Fuchs and Michels in the opening round of the mixed doubles to set up a 2nd round match against Ellis and Olver of England. Lee and Ha are also in the field and they also defeated a seed in the opening round in the 7th seeded Jongjit and Amitapal of Thailand, they take on Shin and Kim in the second round in an all-Korean match.

Tuesday’s Results:

Lee Chong Wei Returns With Power
After skipping over the recent Singapore Super Series last week we are treated to the return of Lee Chong Wei to the Super Series circuit.  A lot of speculation has been going around about whether Lee Chong Wei will be able to repeat his victory over Lin Dan at the All Englands or if it was an isolated incident of Lee not crumbling under pressure.  So far the Malaysian shuttler doesn’t seem bothered as he easily brushed aside local hopeful Tommy Sugiarto 21-16, 21-8.  Indonesia’s top player and local hero Taufik Hidayat had a scare in his first round against Daren Liew 30-28, 21-23, 21-12.  Hidayat will have a greater test in his next match against Bao Chunlai.  One of the few surprises of the day was Boonsak Ponsana’s withdrawal for unknown reasons.

China Smoothly Through
China’s womens shuttlers had mixed fortunes on day 1 with top seeded Wang Shixian moving smoothly passed Ai Goto 21-9, 21-17 while her compatriot Wang Xin fell in three games to Tai Tzu Ying 15-21, 21-15, 21-19.  Korea’s fifth seeded Bae Youn Joo fell to Juliane Schenk 15-21, 22-20, 21-14 while the remaining seeds went through with only a few serious challenges.

Mogensen and Boe Return After Singapore Withdrawal
After pulling out in Singapore Denmark’s Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen are hoping to erase that memory here in Indonesia and are off to a good start.  They ousted their Japanese opponents Hirokatsu Hashimoto and Noriyasu Hirata in two games 21-11, 22-20.  While not an upset on paper the crowd was no doubt disappointed to see former Indonesian hero Tony Gunawan and his current American partner Howard Bach lose to Germany’s Johannes Schoettler and Ingo Kindervater 22-20, 21-15.

Womens Doubles Maintain Status Quo
The only upset in the womens doubles came in the loss of Japan’s Maeda Miyuki and Suetsuna Satoko.  The Japanese pair fell to Korea’s Kim Ha Na and Jung Kyung Eun with little resistance 21-13, 21-12.  China’s top seeds Wang and Yu made short work of their first round opponents Dewi and Gozali 21-11, 21-8.

Finally in the mixed doubles we’re seeing similar unsurprising results as all of the seeded pairs are through with limited challenges.  Only seconds seeds Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam were stretched to three games against Germany’s Fuchs and Michele.

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