Taufik Falls Early to Kazushi Yamada

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.

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All England Championships 2011 Set To Begin

Mens Singles
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.

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Chen Jin Set For Final Against Lin Dan

Lin Dan has been in ominous form this week in preparation for the All England Championships and has reached his second final of the year, where he will take on the 2nd seed and current world champion Chen Jin.

Lin Dan had little problem defeating the 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana in a 21-11, 21-11 match to book his place in the final. Chen Jin was in excellent form also in his victory over Park Sung Hwan in a one sided 21-14, 21-7 match. The women’s singles final has also got Chinese interest in the 5th seeded Liu Xin who takes on Japan’s Ayane Kurihana, who defeated Malaysia’s Mew Choo Wong in a two game matchup.

Lee and Jung progressed safely into the final of the men’s doubles with a superb 21-11, 21-9 victory over the 3rd seeded Koo and Tan in just 27 minutes. They will have Korean opponents in the final but not the likely finalists after Ko and Yoo’s defeat to the unseeded Kim and Kim in a three game match to set up the all-Korean final. Korea also has interest in the women’s doubles final, with Ha and Kim defeating the 7th seeded Matsuo and Naito in a tight two game victory and set up a final against the 5th seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa who defeated Kim and Kim of Korea in a 21-14, 21-13 victory.

The all-British semi final in the mixed doubles went the way of the higher seeded Blair and White, who defeated Bankier and Adcock in a 21-17, 21-17 victory to book their place in the final where they will take on the unseeded Japanese pair of Ikeda and Shiota who defeated the 3rd seeded Thai pair of Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul in a tight two game match.

Semi-Final Results

Boonsak Stands in Lin Dan's Path

The German and Russian hopes ended on quarter finals day as the Asian players have significant interest in all the events going into the weekends play. There only remains two British pairs in the mixed doubles whilst the remainder of the field is from Asia.

Lin Dan is safely into the last 4, defeating Shon Wan Ho in two games to book his place in the semi final. In his semi final he will take on the 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana who defeated qualifier Keigo Sonoda in two games. The other semi final sees the other two highest seeds meet as Chen Jin seeded 2 takes on Park Sung Hwan, the 4th seed from Korea. Chen Jin was forced into a third game by Lee Hyun Il in his quarter final, before progress through in 62 minutes.

Juliane Schenk became the 7th seed to fall in the women’s singles, losing out to the 5th seeded Liu Xin in a tight two game match. The Chinese 5th seed will take on Sung Ji Hyun in the semi final after the Korean defeated Fu Mingtian in three games. The other semi final sees Mew Chew Wong take on Japan’s Ayane Kurihara, after winning her all-Japanese quarter final convincingly over Ai Goto.

The Korean’s have 3 of the 4 pairs remaining in the draw for the men’s doubles, with Ko and Yoo progressing to an all-Korean semi final against Kim and Kim without the loss of a game to date this week. The other semi final is one of the matches of the week between Lee and Jung of Korea and Koo and Tan of Malaysia with both partnerships in excellent form and not dropping a game between them to this point in the tournament.

Japan versus Korea is the story of the women’s doubles, with two such matches taking place in the semi final stage. 7th seeded Naito and Matsuo defeated the top seeded Maeda and Suetsuna to book their place in the last 4 where they will play the unseeded Korean pair of Ha and Kim who defeated the 4th seeded Vislova and Sorokina in a tight three game match, winning the 3rd game 22-20 to progress. The 2nd semi final sees the 5th seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa take on Kim and Kim of Korea with both partnerships winning in 2 games to reach the last 4.

The mixed doubles has a rare all-British matchup in the first semi final, as Adcock and Bankier take on Blair and White for a place in Sunday’s final. An undoubted boost ahead of next week’s All-England Championships and next years Olympics to be held in London. Bankier and Adcock’s impressive two game win over Lee and Kim will be one of their highlights of their careers to date whilst Blair and White defeated the formidable partnership of Nikolaenko and Sorokina to reach the last 4. Voravichitchaikul and Anugritayawon take on the Japanese pair of Ikeda and Shiota in the other semi final, with the Japanese pairing defeating the 2nd seeded Mateusiak and Zieba to reach the last 4.

Quarter Final Results

Park Sung Hwan Among Seeds Through

The top seed in the men’s singles has progressed safely into the quarter finals after a double victory in his matches on the second day of the German Open. Also joining him in the last 8 is the current world champion Chen Jin, 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana and the 4th seeded Park Sung Hwan.

Marc Zwiebler’s surprise second round exit ended all hopes of a German winner in the men’s singles, his surprise two game loss to Hsu Jen Hao of Chinese Taipei has not been the only surprise in the last 8, Japanese qualifer Keigo Sonoda’s unlikely run has seen him through to a last 8 match with 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana, who defeated a pair of Japanese players to book his place in the last 8. Lin Dan has safely progressed into the last 8 without the loss of a game after wins over Scott Evans and Hans-Kristian Vittinghus today to reach the quarter finals.

The two remaining seeds in the women’s singles meet for a place in the last 4 as Juliane Schenk takes on Liu Xin after both comfortably won their second round matches in two games. Wong Mew Choo is the main threat on the bottom half of the draw and takes on Russia’s Anastasia Prokopenko for a place in the semi finals.

The top three seeds are all safely into the last 8 of the men’s doubles but the 4th seeds suffered a surprise defeat to the German pair of Fuchs and Roth who defeated Hashimoto and Hirata of Japan in a tight three game match with the Germans taking the match 22-20 in the third end. Alexandr Nikolaenko’s excellent week continued with a three game win over the 7th seeded pair of Gan and Tan with partner Vitalij Durkin to set up a quarter final match against the 3rd seeded Koo and Tan.

The women’s doubles has a distinct Asian feel to it, with 5 seeds remaining and a sole European partnership in the 4th seeded Russian pair of Vislova and Sorokina. The first quarter final is an all-Japanese match between Maeda and Suetsuna, seeded 1 and the 7th seeded Matsuo and Naito who both come into the match without the loss of a game between them. Vislova and Sorokina take on the unseeded Ha and Kim of Korea who defeated the 8th seeded German pairing of Marinello and Michels in two games to reach the last 8.

There is still double British interest in the mixed doubles ahead of next weeks All-Englands, with 6th seeded Blair and White and 7th seeded Adcock and Bankier. Blair and White have progressed to the last 8 without the loss of a game and take on the on form pairing of Nikolaenko and Sorokina for a place in the last 4 whilst Adcock and Bankier take on the Korean pair of Lee and Kim in one of the matches of the day on quarter finals day. The top seeded pair left in the draw, Mateusiak and Zieba scraped through a three game match against the Japanese pair of Sato and Matsuo to book their place in the last 8.

Day 2 Results

Jorgensen Pushes Lee Chong Wei To The Limit

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.

Korea Super Series 2011 Draws

Lee Chong Wei Favoured in Korea

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.

The Draws

Chen Jin Falls In Round Two

Day 2 in Malaysia and the first major surprises in the tournament were in the mens singles, with the perennial top-10 ranked players losing out in their second round matches.

6th seeded Boonsak Ponsana was the first to suffer a surprise defeat to Alamyah Yunus in a three game encounter lasting 72 minutes and just over an hour later, current world champion and 4th seeded Chen Jin lost his own second round in a 73-minute matchup with world number 27, Simon Santoso who claimed his first victory over the 4th seed in his sixth match against the Chinese player.

The rest of the seeds remaining had little problem in reaching the last 8, with Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei on a crash course in Saturday’s semi final if the pair can defeated their opponents tomorrow. Lee Chong Wei takes on Tien Minh Nguyen with both players reaching the last 8 without the loss of a game to date whilst Lin Dan takes on his Chinese team mate Chen Long in his quarter final, with the questions finally being answered of how close Chen Long is to beating the Olympic champion after the withdrawal of Lin Dan in China last month allowed Chen Long a free pass into the last 4. There were also wins for Taufik Hidayat and Kenichi Tago today and their reward is a matchup against one another for a place in the last 4.

All 4 of the women’s singles quarter final have a Chinese interest, such is the strength and depth of the Chinese squad. Top seeded Wang Xin was pushed to three games of Mew Choo Wong in her second round match and will be tested again with the 5th seeded Juliane Schenk being her opponent in tomorrow’s match. 2nd seeded Wang Shixian and 3rd seeded Wang Yihan have had little problem in reaching the last 8, with neither player dropping a game on route to this stage whilst the 4th of the quarter finals is an all-Chinese matchup between Jiang Yanjiao and Liu Xin, both have survived a three game match to reach the last 8 but this will be their biggest test to date with Liu Xin being one of the breakthrough players of the last few months for China, reaching 23 in the world rankings.

The men’s doubles is losing it’s compliment of seeded players on a daily basis, today saw the end of the 4th seeded Hashimoto and Hirata’s title challenge as well as the 7th seeded Bach and Gunawan losing out to Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen of Denmark. Ko and Yoo begun their campaign with a straight forward two game victory and will take on Chai and Guo in their last 8 match up, whilst the two Indonesian seeds are also safely into the last 8. Chandra and Gunawan are through to face the Danish pair of Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen whilst the 6th seeded Ahsan and Septano are through to take on the Korean pair of Cho and Kwon in their quarter final match.

The women’s doubles is another event laden with Chinese interest, with all four quarter final matches having Chinese players in it. Du and Pan, seeded 5 will take on the top seeded Cheng and Chien in the first of the quarter finals, with both coming through three game matches in the second round to book their place in the last 8. 8th seeded Tian and Zhao take on the unseeded Singapore pair of Sari and Yao with both duos in fine form without the loss of a game to date. Ma and Cheng take on Ha and Kim of Korea, another match with both pairs coming into the match in excellent form. The most intriguing of the 4 matches is the match between Wang and Yu, seeded 6 against the 2nd second Nedelcheva and Russkikh with the most dominant performances this week coming from their two pairs who have progressed with the loss of 70 points in 8 games to this point.

With six of the eight seeds remaining, the possibility of a winner coming from one of those six is high especially with the remaining two unseeded duos playing each other in the quarter final. Thai pairing of Voravichitchaikul and Anugritayawon take on the Scottish/English partnership of Robert Blair and Gabby White after both came through their difficult second round matches without the loss of a game between the two matches. The highest remaining seeds are the Korean pair of Ko and Ha who take on the 7th seeded pairing of He and Ma, a rematch of their second round match in Hong Kong last month that the Koreans won convincingly in two games.

Day 2 Results

2011 Osim BWF World Super Series Preview

On January 12, 2011, in BWF Super Series, by Eddie Smith

2011 heralds the beginning of the new top-tier “Premier Series”, a five event series that boasts bigger money than the previous “Super Series” name. There is still seven Super Series events but the five Premier Series events are now stand out events on the 2011 calendar.

As well as the stand out events, there will be clear stand out players for 2011. 2010 was the year of Lee Chong Wei as he widened the gap between himself at the rest of the world. Only Lin Dan can claim any sort of argument what debating the best player in the world at the moment.

The Super Series starts off in Malaysia on January 18 before the opening Premier Series event in Korea taking centre stage at the end of January. The All-England provides another massive injection of money into the game as the second Premier Series event of the year and is followed the next week by the newest Super Series event in India.

The opening 3 months of 2011 offers the top players in the world four Super Series opportunities, two of which are Premier Series events.

The Favourites:

Two players instantly shine out in these kinds of draws. 2010 was Lee Chong Wei’s year, with six Super Series titles, two GP gold titles and the Commonwealth Games gold medal. There is little to debate his place atop the world rankings, all except his Asian Games defeat to his long-term rival Lin Dan who is the only player on the circuit who is in the discussion with Lee Chong Wei when debating the best player on the men’s singles circuit.

The duo played three times in 2010, with Lin Dan winning two at the “major” events in the calendar at the Asian Games and at the Thomas Cup in May where he comfortably defeated the Malaysian in two games like his Olympic triumph in 2008, such was the margin of victory (21-17, 21-8).

These two are the absolute top of the game, however Lin Dan’s schedule has continually decreased since winning gold in Beijing three years ago. Winning just one Super Series last year in September at the China Masters and playing just 6 Super Series events total. Add in two withdrawals in China and Hong Kong, which takes the tally to just 4 events he could have potentially won. Losing one to Lee Chong Wei in Japan and his poor run in March that seen him lose to Bao Chunlai at the All England (Bao Chunlai’s first win over Lin Dan in over three years) and a two game loss to Peter Gade in the Swiss Super Series has only added to the speculation that he has either lost interest in the game or only peaks for major events.

The lure of the new Premier Series could bring the best out in Lin Dan once more, whilst Lee Chong Wei continues to perform at a level that the rest of the players cannot match.

The Title-Chasers:

Peter Gade, current European Champion and Europe’s #1 is never to be overlooked in this events. In a year shortened by a back injury, he rolled back the years at the All-England until meeting Lee Chong Wei in a one-sided semi final. He followed up the performance at the Swiss Super Series, beating Lin Dan before losing to Chen Long. He has played just three events since the World Championships in August, reaching the semi finals in Japan and then losing to Joachim Persson at the French Super Series after withdrawing from his home Super Series the week previously. Since then, question marks have surrounded his future especially in light of losing to Joachim Persson, a player tipped a few years ago to take over Gade’s mantle as Denmark’s number 1. His recent return of form at the Super Series Finals shows he still has the ability to win at this level, but only proved that the gap between himself and Lee Chong Wei was a large one.

Gade’s time is slowly fading, without a Super Series win since the Korean Open in 2009. However, the future is bright in Danish badminton with the emergence in recent years of Jan O Jorgensen this year, Jorgensen played 11 of the 12 Super Series events, the most of anyone (only Hu Yun played 11 also) but only featured in one semi final in Denmark, a title that he won but the early part of 2010 was marred with four defeating in the second round and a second round defeat to Rajiv Ouseph in the World Championships. There was little to promote Jorgensen’s chances of winning in Denmark after another set of defeats in Japan and Indonesia at the third round stage. He lost his seeding in Hong Kong in December last year and had to play Lin Dan in the opening round, a match he lost comfortably in two games.

Question marks loom over Taufik Hidayat’s future also but there is little doubt that he still has the ability at win at the highest level. He narrowly missed out in winning the Denmark Super Series, but bounced back to take the French Super Series the very next week. He is one of the few people to claim a victory over Lee Chong Wei in 2010, winning their quarter final matchup in the World Championships and going all the way to the final before losing to Chen Jin.

The Chinese contingent this year is as strong as ever, with as many as five potential winners entering every event this year. Current world champion Chen Jin will hope to reclaim his 2008 All England title, with his Swiss Open title he won last year no longer on the Super Series circuit. Chen Long goes into the opening event of the year as the highest ranked Chinese player in the world at the moment, ranked 4th. Bao Chunlai and Du Pengyu are also ranked inside of the top 15 in the world, with the pair battling it out for the China Open title in May last year.

Boonsak Ponsana has cemented his place as a top-10 player in the past year but still needs to have that landmark victory to push him into the world’s elite however early defeats in the later half of 2010 need to be resolved before he is considered a real contender every event.

The Ones To Watch:

Viktor Axelsen burst onto the scene in 2010, taking the junior world title and then the Cyprus International. His performances in qualifying for the French and Denmark Super Series has already established himself as capable of playing at the very highest level and his second round match to Jan O Jorgensen in the Denmark Open was much closer then anyone expected.

Joachim Persson has made an unlikely resurrection of a career almost forgotten by Jorgensen’s emergence. He has slipped to 20th in the world rankings but still managed to reach the French Super Series final after venturing back into the European circuit to regain the confidence lost in the past few months.

Kenichi Tago burst onto the world scene with his unlikely run to the All-England final last year and has continued to progress on from his experience in that final, reaching a world ranking of 17 but as yet no Super Series titles to show for his efforts.

The 2011 Calendar:

Malaysia – 18-23 January

Korea Premier – 25-30 January

All-England Premier – 8-13 March

India – 16-21 March

Singapore – 14-19 June

Indonesia Premier – 21-26 June

China Masters – 13-18 September

Japan – 20-25 September

Denmark Premier – 18-23 October

France – 25-30 October

Hong Kong – 15-20 November

China Open Premier – 22 – 27 November

Super Series Final – 14-18 December

Lee Yong Dae

Eight Chinese players and partnerships continued the recent run of impressive form since the World Championships in August, but today was different. Today the old guard of world badminton and the rising stars of the game took centre stage and upset the recent Chinese dominance of the last few months.

The day started with a Chinese victory in the mixed doubles, as 3/4 seeded Zhang and Zhao defeating Ko and Ha in two games in the first of the mixed doubles semi finals. Then came the top seeds in the singles disciplines, Lee Chong Wei took on Boonsak Ponsana in the mens singles semi final whilst Wang Shixian took on Yip Pui Yin. Both Lee Chong Wei and Wang Shixian progressed in two tight games to await a potential Chinese player in their respective finals.

The first mens doubles semi final seen the top seeded Boe and Mogensen take on Cai and Fu. The Chinese pair had dominated the recent head to head matches between the duos but the Danish pair defeated Cai and Fu in a tight three game match to claim their first victory over the Chinese pair since the All-Englands in March last year. There was success for the Chinese women with Cheng and Zhao defeating the top seeded Cheng and Chien in their womens doubles semi final, a discipline that has been dominated in the last few years by the Chinese.

Wang and Yu completed the all-Chinese line-up in the womens doubles with a victory in two games over Maeda and Suetsuna in a much closer matchup than their previous encounter in the Japan Open last year. Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam booked their place in the mixed doubles final to play Zheng and Zhao after defeating Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul in two games.

Another day of Chinese dominance seemed to be coming, but 3 of the last 4 matches of the day saw some stunning results. Korea’s Bae Youn Joo defeated the top seeded Wang Yihan in a tight three game matchup lasting just over an hour and sets up a match with another Chinese player, Wang Shixian in tomorrow’s final. Chen Long took on Peter Gade in a matchup between the old and new generation of the sport, with the more experienced Gade taking the match in two tight games in a match that took just less than a hour to complete to set up a rematch with Lee Chong Wei after their group match on Friday.

The final match of the day seen the second of the men’s doubles semi finals, with Lee and Jung taking on Chai and Zhang for a chance to play the top seeded Boe and Mogensen in tomorrow’s final. The match never really materialized as a close encounter with the Korean pair winning comfortably in two games to set up a final with the Danish top seeds.

Semi Final Results

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