It was a day littered with retirements, shock results and the potential downfall to Taufik Hidayat’s stellar career. The day began with a Chinese victory in the mixed but there was little to celebrate for the Chinese camp tonight.
Many expected the 5th seeded Hidayat to struggle against the unseeded Wang Zhengming with the Indonesian’s play and overall desire being questioned with every tournament. He won the event in 2010 here, but a two-game defeat to Wang Zhengming almost certainly concludes Taufik’s reign in the top 10 of the world after losing his runner-up ranking points in Denmark last week and his first round exit this week in France.
The remaining 7 seeds progressed without much resistance, with all seven seeds needing just two games to advance. Lee Chong Wei takes on France’s own Brice Leverdez whilst the match of the second round sees Joachim Persson taking on Lin Dan for a place in the quarter finals.
Six Chinese players started in the women’s singles draw, just three remain in a draw that has been decimated by retirements and upsets. Wang Yihan benefitted from Susan Egelstaff’s retirement pre-event but Liu Xin and Jiang Yanjiao both had to retire early into their first round to cut the Chinese involvement in the event. Their involvement was cut further with the surprise defeat Wang Shixian to Sung Ji Hyun, as the second seed run of poor form continues.
Tine Baun suffered her second early exit in two weeks with a first round defeat to Tai Tzu Ying, cutting the European involvement down to just two players with victories for Juliane Schenk and Petya Nedelcheva, with the Bulgarian taking on the 3rd seeded Wang Xin who beat Linda Zechiri in the first round today.
European Interest Throughout In Doubles
Whilst there is a massive Asian contingent in the doubles, there is a few European pairs who have reached the second round impressively to ensure they are taken seriously this week. The top two seeds in the men’s doubles progressed without much hassle, as did the 3rd seeded Boe and Mogensen who have regained their form in the past two events, however there was a surprise loss for the 4th seeded Ko and Yoo against the Chinese pair of Hong and Chen in three games. There is a few European pairs left in the men’s doubles draw, with the Danish pair of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen as well as the English pairing of Adcock and Ellis reaching the last 16.
Wang and Yu won their 45th match of the year in their opening round victory over Chin and Wong whilst the 2nd seeded Tian and Zhao won their 37th match of 2011 in three games. The 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa defeated the Danish pair of Heisbol and Skelbaek to take on the English pairing of Olver and Agathangelou who progressed in a 93-minute classic against the Canadian pair of Reid and Grether to reach the second round.
Zhang and Zhao as well as Ma and Jin have started this week with victories, with varying degrees of difficulty. The top seeded Zhang and Zhao needed three games to progress against Lee and Chien whilst Ma and Jin defeated Hashimoto and Fujii in two games. The 2nd seeded pair take on the world silver medalist pair of Adcock and Bankier in the second round, who are also joined in the second round by Blair and White after their victory over the 7th seeded Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul and will take on the Korean pair of Yoo and Jang in their second round match.
The second consecutive week of Super Series action puts the players fitness to the ultimate test as well as allowing the form players from last weeks Denmark Open a chance to continue to maintain their run of good results.
Taufik’s final chance to perform
This is a massive week for Taufik Hidayat, defending his title as well as the ranking points that goes with it. His defeat to Viktor Axelsen in the second round only compounded the pressure to perform this week and his campaign starts with one of the toughest draws imaginable against Wang Zhengming of China. A first round defeat almost guarantees his fall out of the seedings for the remaining Super Series events for the reminder of 2011.
Lee Chong Wei will went to put the final in Odense on Sunday behind him as he takes on Marc Zwiebler of Germany in a potentially tricky opening round match this week. Lin Dan’s opener against Lee Hyun Il is another tricky match for the seeded players this week. Chen Long starts this week as a real favourite to make it two weeks in a row with his team-mate Lin Dan out of form and his double victory over Lee Chong Wei recently, he starts with a match against Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand. Peter Gade is another seed with a tough test in his opening round, taking on last week’s semi finalist Sho Sasaki.
Chinese battle for #1
Wang Xin’s victory over Wang Yihan has reopened the question over who is China’s number 1 player, with 6 players capable of winning their event from within the Chinese squad alone. Wang Yihan starts with an opening round walkover with Susan Egelstaff withdrawing with injury whilst 2nd seeded Wang Shixian takes on Sung Ji Hyun of Korea before a potential second round match against world championship silver medalist Cheng Shao Chieh.
Wang Xin, Jiang Yanjiao, Liu Xin and Li Xuerui are the other four Chinese players capable of winning this week. The three non-Chinese seeds will hope for better weeks than last week in Odense where they all crashed out early. 4th seeded Saina Nehwal starts with a tough match against Yao Jie and then a potential second round match against Li Xuerui. Juliane Schenk starts her campaign against Canadian qualifier Michelle Li before the winner takes on another qualifier in the second round. 8th seeded Tine Baun will hope that without the pressure of a home crowd that it will be a more successful week in Paris, she starts this week with a match against Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei
Chinese take top seeds in doubles
The three top seeds in the doubles are the current world champions, but only one pair come into this week with a victory in Odense. Cai and Fu will hope to go one better than their defeat in the final against Lee and Jung, with both pairs seeded to meet in the final once against this week. Cai and Fu start against Cho and Kwon of Korea whilst Lee and Jung start against the Malaysian pair of Gan and Tan. Boe and Mogensen will hope to continue their form from last week into this week as they start their campaign in Paris with a tough opener against Chandra and Gunawan of Indonesia.
Wang and Yu will go into this event as clear favourites once again in the women’s doubles and they look to claim another title in a stunning year for the world number 1 pairing. They start this week against the Malaysian pair of Chin and Wong whilst their main rivals this week will be their team mates Tian and Zhao, the only pair in the draw to inflict a defeat upon Wang and Yu. the 2nd seeds start with a match against the Japanese pairing of Matsutomo and Takahashi with a potential meeting against Cheng and Pan in the second round.
Zhang and Zhao will want to go one better than last week when they lost to Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen in Odense at the semi final stage, they start this week against Lee and Chien of Chinese Taipei. The 2nd seeded pair of Ma and Xu have similar aspirations after they lost to the Danish pair in the final, they take on the dangerous Japanese pair of Hashimoto and Fujii with a potential second round match against world silver medalists Adcock and Bankier waiting should they beat their first round qualifiers. Last week’s winners start against the Singapore pairing of Triyachart and Yao whilst their team mates Laybourn and Rytter Juhl start against Widianto and Marissa in the pick on the opening round matches in Paris on Wednesday.
It was a day for the underdog in Odense this week, with three top seeds losing out on finals day to add some spice into the French Super Series starting this Tuesday.
Chinese claim singles titles
It was a repeat of the Japan Open final but few expected the same result, however Chen Long did exactly that. A stunning two game victory has stunned the world number 1 to a second defeat in 4 weeks over the 3rd seed. Another world number 1 suffered a surprise defeat as Wang Yihan lost to the 3rd seeded Wang Xin to heat up the race within the Chinese squad for the world number 1 spot.
Lee and Jung too strong for Cai and Fu
The battle between these two pairs has turned back in the Korean’s favour, after a victory in China last month they add a second victory in a row over the world champions Cai and Fu with a two game victory to take the overall head to head between the pairs to 9-8 in favour of the Korean pair. The women’s doubles final was won by the top seeded Wang and Yu whose blip in the semi finals was forgotten in a two game victory over their team mates Tian and Zhao who still remain the only pair to have inflicted a defeat on the Chinese world champions as their record for the year not including their China Open withdrawal goes to 44-1.
Danish Delight in Mixed
Joachim Fischer Neilsen and Christinna Pedersen did what Tine Baun and Peter Gade failed to do this week, deliver a title for their home fans. Their victory over Ma and Xu was the result of a fantastic week of play from the Danes, after defeating the world champions Zhang and Zhao yesterday in their semi final. Their two game victory makes them a real contender for next week’s French Open with the loss of just one game over the week’s play.
Peter Gade’s Denmark Open ends at the hands of his perennial rival, Lee Chong Wei. There was more disappointment for the Danish fans with two pairs crashing out of the doubles at the semi final stage also.
Gade Crashes Out
Gade’s last run at a Denmark Open ends at the hands of the world number 1, with the Dane being competitive throughout the match unlike his previous few matches that have resulted in crushing defeats. Gade himself said he should have taken the second game in his post-match interview, after having four attempts to win the game. Chen Long is the other finalist tomorrow after defeating Sho Sasaki in a one-sided semi final that sets up a rematch of the Japan Open, that the Chinese 3rd seed won.
Chinese Dominance In Women’s Singles
Inthanon Ratchanok was the only player capable of stopping an all-Chinese final, but her resistance lasted just 36 minutes as world number 1 Wang Yihan defeated the unseeded Thai in two games to reach the final. The other semi final seen Wang Xin defeat Wang Shixian in another surprise loss for the world number 2, whose form has been hit and miss since the Sudirman Cup and her loss to Juliane Schenk in that event earlier this year.
Danish Delight In Mixed
The neutral’s dream final in the men’s doubles will take place tomorrow, much to the disappointment of the hometown fans who seen their 3rd seeded pair of Boe and Mogensen lose out to the top seeded Chinese pair of Cai and Fu in two games. Their opponents in tomorrow’s final are the Korean pair of Lee and Jung, who defeated Kido and Setiawan in three games to set up their 17th meeting between the world’s top two pairs.
The Chinese monopoly on the women’s doubles continues as Wang And Yu face off against Tian and Zhao, with the 2nd seeded pair mercilessly thumping the Danish pair of Kruse and Roepke 21-12, 21-5 to book their place against the world number 1 pairing who surprisingly dropped a game against 6th seeded Ha and Kim of Korea before progressing into tomorrow’s final.
The success story for Denmark came in the mixed doubles as Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen fed off the partizan crowd to inflict a stunning defeat on the top seeded pair of Zhang and Zhao after saving a match point at 20-19 in the third game before winning three consecutive points to complete their remarkable comeback. Their opponents in the final are another Chinese pair, the 5th seeded Ma and Xu who ended the run of Lee and Ha of Korea in a two game victory to reach the final and experience the same partisan Danish crowd that their team mates faced in tomorrow’s mixed doubles final.
The landscape of the men’s singles has potentially changed overnight with the 17-year old Viktor Axelsen defeating the 5th seeded Taufik Hidayat that almost ensures his decline out of the world’s top 10 and rewards the Danish fans as well as the badminton world with a stunning quarter final match between Viktor Axelsen against Peter Gade, in Denmark.
Taufik and Lin Dan Out
The headlines will be stolen by Viktor Axelsen, who defeated the 5th seeded Hidayat in a pulsating three game match that the 17-year dominated in the last two games to reach his first Denmark Open quarter final and a dream matchup against Peter Gade. The duo practiced together earlier this week but few expected the two to meet in the last 8. Gade defeated Germany’s Marc Zwiebler in two games in the evening session to book his place in the quarter finals.
The bottom half of the draw has been decimated with all but one seed remaining. Wong Wing Ki caused his own stunning upset with his three game victory over the world champion Lin Dan and there was also disppointment for Du Pengyu as he lost out to Jan O Jorgensen in three games, taking the tally of Danes in the quarter final to 3.
Baun and Schenk Crash Out
European interest in the women’s singles has ended before the weekend, much to the disappointment of the home fans as Tine Baun lost in a tame two game defeat to Inthanon Ratchanok. Juliane Schenk was beaten bu Sung Ji Hyun in two games also as the Chinese threat to claim the title looms large with 5 players in the last 8.
Saina Nehwal was the only other main rival capable of causing an upset but she also crashed out early on day 2, losing to Tai Tzu Ying in two games also. The Chinese juggernaut continues on with straight forward wins for Wang Xin and Wang Shixian but top seeded Wang Yihan fought back from a game down to reach the last 8 where she will face compatriot Jiang Yanjiao.
Danish Hope In Doubles
Denmark still has interest in the three doubles events to ease the disappointment of an absence of players in the women’s singles. 3rd seeded Boe and Mogensen have regained some form and have been emphatic in their route to the last 8 with a pair of excellent wins to set up a quarter final against Cho and Kwon of Korea, who defeated Koo and Tan earlier in the week. The top two seeds in the men’s doubles have both reached the quarter finals, with Lee and Jung being taken to three games by the Danish pairing of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen.
Kruse and Roepke fly the flag for Denmark in the women’s doubles alone after Pedersen and Rytter Juhl’s loss to their team-mates opponents in the quarter final, Japanese pair Misaki and Takahashi. The two Chinese pairs look to be a class apart this week, with both being highly impressive in the matches this week and never looking like losing a game to this point.
A double helping in the mixed doubles will also please the hometown fans, with Laybourn and Rytter Juhl turning back the clock to their 2009 world championship success to reach the last 8 this week. They take on one half of the 2010 world champions in Ma Jin, partnered by Xu Chen who defeated Kolding and Houmann in the second round today. Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen have lived up to their billing as the number 3 seeds with two excellent wins to date, their opponents in the quarter final will be the Indian pair of Valiyaveetil and Gutta who defeated the world silver medalists Adcock and Bankier in their second round game.
The old and new guard of Danish badminton had a dream start to the first round matches in Odense, taking out seeded partnerships and impressing on a day of positives for Danish and European badminton.
Gade, Axelsen and Jorgensen Progress
A trio of Danes have all reached the last 16 safely, with Peter Gade impressively defeated Wang Zhengming in a one-sided match to book a second round clash against Germany’s Marc Zwiebler. Hans-Kristian Vittinghus has very close to making it four from four in the opening round by narrowly lost to the 5th seeded Taufik Hidayat in three games. Viktor Axelsen claimed his third victory over Przemyslaw Wacha in the opening round today to set up a match against Hidayat in the second round.
Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan both came through their opening round matches without much resistance, whilst China claim four places in the last 16 with victories for Chen Long, Chen Jin and Du Pengyu, with the 8th seed taking on Jan O Jorgensen who won his opening round match in two games to set up the second round match.
Two Europeans Remain
The depth of European players in the women’s singles has been exposed this week, with just two making it through to the last 16 with a predominantly Asian feel to the draw. Tine Baun and Juliane Schenk hold the hope of Europe on their shoulders as both progressed into the second round with a pair of excellent victories. The Chinese juggernaut has six of the last 16, with an all-Chinese match in the second round set to decrease their quota to at least four.
Wang Yihan’s opening round match was as impressive as it was one-sided, her 21-13, 21-5 victory over the world number 10 Bae Youn Joo was a statement that the world number 1 is back to her best. There were wins Jiang Yanjiao, Li Xuerui, Liu Xin, Wang Xin and Wang Shixian to ensure a vast Chinese interest in the event going in the second round.
Seeds Topple In Doubles
If the singles events were business as usual for the world’s best, the doubles disciplines have been the complete opposite. The men’s doubles lost three seeds in the opening round with the biggest casualty being the Commonwealth champions and 5th seeded Koo and Tan, who were defeated by Cho and Kwon of Korea. There were victories for Cai and Fu as well as the second seeded Lee and Jung, who both claimed a berth in the second round with a routine two game victory.
There was Danish success in the women’s doubles, with Pedersen and Rytter Juhl defeating the 4th seeded Japanese pair of Maeda and Suetsuna in two tight games to reach the last 16. Kruse and Roepke ensured a second pair in the last 16 with a victory over Korea’s Eom and Jang. The Danes reward is another Korean pair in Jung and Kim who put out the 7th seeded Matsuo and Naito in the opening round.
There were no such shocks for the top seeded Wang and Yu, who progressed in a straightforward two game victory over Poon and Tse and take on the Singapore pair of Sari and Yao in the last 16. Tian and Zhao were equally impressive in their opening round match and take on the Indonesian pair of Marissa and Melati in their second round match.
Kamilla Rytter Juhl was the star of the day for the locals as she defeated another seed in the mixed doubles with partner Thomas Laybourn as the 2009 world champions rolled back the years as they defeated Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in two games to reach the second round. Lee and Ha also produced a shock with a three game victory over the second seeded Ahmad and Natsir, who were the biggest casualties of the first day in Odense. The world champions Zhang and Zhao had no problem in reaching the second round with a two game victory over Triyachart and Yao of Singapore, whilst the world championship silver medalists Adcock and Bankier won their all-British first round match to reach the last 16.
The biggest and best field since the World Championships have converged in Odense for the 4th Premier event of the year, with all eyes focussing on the local hopes such as Peter Gade, Tine Baun and the new star of Danish badminton, Viktor Axelsen.
Lee Chong Wei is still recovering from his heartbreaking loss against Lin Dan in London and suffered another blow when he lost to Chen Long in Japan last month in another tight three game match. The Malaysia is still the top seed this week and starts his campaign against India’s Kashyap Parupalli. The Chinese attendance this week is vast, with four seeds in the men’s singles headlined by the world champion Lin Dan who will be no walkover this week after a pair of questionable withdrawals to other Chinese players in Japan and in his local Super Series event last month. A qualifier awaits Lin Dan in the first round whilst the other Chinese seeds all start with tough openers with 3rd seeded Chen Long taking on Shon Wan Ho in the first round.
There is more Chinese interest in the draw and it merges with the local interest as Wang Zhengming takes on the local favourite Peter Gade in the opening round. It will undoubtably be the headline match of the opening day of action with Gade looking to do well in what could be his last Danish Open. Two other Danes in the draw also have tough asks to reach the second round with Hans-Kristian Vittinghus taking on Taufik Hidayat, who is under immense pressure this week to perform and next week in France as he defends most of the ranking points that ensures his top 10 ranking in the next two weeks. Viktor Axelsen takes on Przemyslaw Wacha in his first round, with Axelsen holding a 2-0 head to head against the Pole.
China have five of the eight seeds this week, with Tine Baun barely making the seedings at 8 to the relief of the local support. Saina Nehwal and Juliane Schenk are the remaining two seeds hoping to break the hold in this event from the Chinese. World champion Wang Yihan has regained the world number 1 spot but faces the world number 10 Bae Joun Yoo in the opening round this week in one of the biggest matches of the opening round in the event.
The two European hopes have been a pair of qualifiers with the 6th seeded Juliane Schenk taking on Chen Jiayuan of Singapore while the 8th seeded Tine Baun takes on Lariga Griga of Ukraine, with Baun winning their previous meeting in the 2009 All Englands. Should Baun win her opening match, her second round match will be tough as she will face the winner of Inthanon Ratchanok of Thailand and Carolina Marin of Spain.
Boe and Mogensen will hope that a return home will change their form after a below par summer has seen them plummet to the 3rd seeds this week. Cai and Fu will be the pair to best as always in the big events, who take on Kawamae and Sato in the opening round who defeated Boe and Mogensen in their most recent event in Japan last month. Speculation of the Korean pairs going into an Olympic year has hinted that Ko and Lee would partner up with the intent of going for a medal in 2012. They partnered up together in Japan last month and reached the last 8 but they have resumed their previous partnerships in Denmark this week.
2nd seeded Lee and Jung start against the Japanese pairing of Hirobe and Kazuno whilst the 4th seeded Ko and Yoo take on the English pairing of Adcock and Ellis, with a potential match between the two Korean pairs waiting in the semi final. Boe and Mogensen have been given perhaps one of the easier routes into the second round with a match against the Thai qualifiers of Anugritayawon and Prapakamol, both proven mixed doubles players.
The Chinese juggernaut of Wang and Yu return to Europe for the first time since their victory in London in August, they are the undoubted favourites this week and for the Olympics in ten months time already. They start this week against the Hong Kong pairing of Tse and Poon who reached the Japan Open semi final last month. Their biggest threat as always will be from team-mates Zhao and Tian, seeded 2 this week. Their opening round match this week comes against Hsieh and Wang of Chinese Taipei before a potential tough second round match against Marissa/Melati or Michels/Marinello.
Zhang and Zhao complete a clean sweep of Chinese top seeds this week, with Danish interest laying with the 3rd seeded Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen but the threat of 5th seeded Ma and Xu will be a serious one also. Zhang and Zhao start against Triyachart and Yao of Singapore whilst the other Chinese seeds of Ma and Xu take on the Chinese Taipei pairing of Lee and Chien.
Danish hopes lie with the 3rd seeds, who take on Matsuo and Sato of Japan with Shoji Sato one half of the Japanese pair that defeated Boe and Mogensen in Japan last month, so Danish fans will be wary of a repeat performance. The 2009 world champions Rytter Juhl and Laybourn are also in the draw, but face a tough opener against the 4th seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam. The world championship silver medalists are in action in an all-British first round clash, with Adcock and Bankier taking on White and Blair for a place in the second round.
If the Chinese squad wanted another headline to take over from the semi-final withdrawals, then their performances on finals day certainly made more desirable headlines as China won all four of their matches in the final.
Chen Long stunned the world number 1 Lee Chong Wei with a three game victory in the men’s singles final, the 73-minute match started with an unlikely 21-8 win for Chen Long but the Malaysian was equally impressive in his 21-10 second game but Chen Long rallied back to stun Lee Chong Wei and take the title 21-18 in the third.
There was further success in a pair of one-sided victories in the women’s singles and men’s doubles, Wang Yihan defeated Juliane Schenk in two games as well as Cai and Fu beating Ahsan and Septano in a tight two game match to take the Chinese tally to 3 titles. There was a fourth title for the young Chinese pair of Chong and Bao over the 5th seeded Chien and Cheng of Chinese Taipei, after losing the opening game and saving two match points the Chinese pair battled back to clinch the second game and then the third game to claim an unlikely fourth title in Japan.
The only non-Chinese final seen Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei take on the Danish pair of Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen, after sharing the opening two games Cheng Wen Hsing ensured that she would take one title this week and from 14-14 in the third game the Chinese point strung four points together to ensure a decisive lead that they wouldn’t surrender and took the third game 21-15 to claim the title.
The double withdrawal of Liu Xin and Lin Dan marred a day of excellent matches as the Chinese have their sights set on London 2012 and getting as many players as possible to qualify for the Olympics.
Chen Long received a walkover over Lin Dan and will face Lee Chong Wei who defeated Peter Gade in two games whilst in the women’s singles, Liu Xin’s withdrawal means that Wang Yihan will play Juliane Schenk, who defeated Saina Nehwal in convincing fashion to reach the final.
Cai and Fu survived a real test against Koo and Tan to reach the men’s doubles final where they will take on the 4th seeded Indonesian pair of Ahsan and Septano who beat their team-mates Kido and Setiawan in another tight three game match. China are represented in the women’s doubles too by Bao and Zhong who defeated their three Japanese seed of the week , this time it was the 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa who were defeated in three games in a 91 minute match. Their opponents in the final will be the 5th seeded Chien and Cheng of Chinese Taipei who ended the run of the unseeded Hong Kong pairing of Poon and Tse in two games.
Cheng Wen Hsing is also into the final of the mixed doubles with a two game victory over the top seed and world champions Zhang and Zhao with her partner Chen Hung Ling and will take on Danish pair of Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen who defeated Fuchs and Michels in an all-European semi final in a tight three game match to reach the final.