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.
The world’s elite has been halved from 40 participants to just 20 as the final group matches determined who progressed into Saturday’s knockout rounds. Whilst most of the favourites are into the semi finals, there has been some big name departures at the group stage.
Lee Chong Wei’s two game victory over Peter Gade confirmed his place at the top of Group A, whilst Chen Long’s win over Boonsak Ponsana ensured top spot for the Chinese player. Chen Long takes on Peter Gade in the first semi final, with the two sharing one victory apiece in their head to heads. Lee Chong Wei’s head to head over Boonsak Ponsana in the other semi final is much more one sided, with the Malaysian winning 10 of their 12 encounters.
The group winners in the women’s singles as expected, were the two Chinese seeds in Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian. Both claimed perfect records from their group matches and go into tomorrow’s semi finals as clear favourites. Wang Yihan takes on Bae Joun Yoo, with the Korean winning their only match to date. Wang Shixian takes on Yip Pui Yin in the other semi final, with the top seed from China winning all of their 3 encounters to date. Tine Baun’s sole victory in Group B was not enough to see her qualify, which is a massive blow to the Danish team that also seen Laybourn and Rytter Juhl pull out of the mixed doubles.
Every tournament almost brings up another potential Cai/Fu versus Lee/Jung matchup and this week is no different. Both partnerships impressively won their groups without losing a match and look on route to their 13th matchup in Sunday’s final, if both can win their semi final. Cai and Fu take on the top seeded Boe and Mogensen for a place in the final, whilst Lee and Jung take on the Chinese pair of Chai and Zhang. Both group winners are ahead in their head to heads with their semi final rivals.
Wang and Yu have been the story of the women’s doubles in the past 6 months since joining forces, with their impressive run of results continuing this week as they topped Group B ahead of team-mates Cheng and Zhao. The second seeded Cheng and Zhao take on the top seeded Chien and Cheng in their semi final with the lower seeded Chinese pairing winning all of the previous 3 matches. Wang and Yu take on Maeda and Suetsuna of Japan, with their only matchup being a 21-5, 21-10 win for the Chinese pair in the Japan Open last year.
The mixed doubles has thrown up the most unlikely of semi finals, with just two seeds in the semi finals and an all-Thai semi final. Anugrtiayawan and Voravichitchaikul take on Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in the first of the semi finals, with the Group A winners Anugrtiayawan and Voravichitchaikul leading the series 2-0. The other semi final is between Zhang and Zhao of China and Group B winners, Ha and Ko of Korea. The Chinese pair lead the series 1-0 with a win in the Hong Kong Super Series just last month.
Day 3 Results: