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.
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.
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.
Marc Zwiebler claimed the European title against an unlikely opponent in Henri Hurskainen whilst two other potential German titles were undone by their Danish opponents on finals day.
Marc Zwiebler needed to defeat just a single Danish player on route to his European title, with Axelsen and Gade both falling to his opponent in the final Henri Hurskainen. His victory over Jan O Jorgensen was the catalyst for his success this week and had little trouble in defeating his Swedish opponent in his most one-sided victory over the week, winning 21-15, 21-13.
Tine Baun repeated her success over Juliane Schenk from two years in the longest match of the day, with the top seeded Dane taking the title in 68 minutes winning 21-19, 16-21, 21-19. There was another Danish success over Germany in the men’s doubles final, with Boe and Mogensen defeating Fuchs and Roth in a very one-sided final with the Danes winning 21-11, 21-11 in just 34 minutes. The all-Danish final in the women’s doubles was won by the top seeded Pedersen and Rytter Juhl defeating the 3rd seeded Damkjaer Cruse and Roepke in two games, but needing 5 chances to claim the second game.
Mateusiak and Zieba Take Mixed Title
The Polish pair came into this week on top form after taking the Dutch title, but few people expected them to repeat their success in Karlskrona. After defeating the top seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen in the quarter finals and a victory over Adcock and Bankier at the semi final stage they had little trouble in defeating Pieler Colding and Houmann to claim the European title in to games, winning 21-11, 24-22.
Peter Gade’s last run at the European Championships ends with a quarter final defeat to Sweden’s Henri Hurskainen as several Danish seeds crash out at the last 8.
Axelsen and Jorgensen Keep Danish Dream Alive
With Henri Hurskainen’s shock victory over Peter Gade, the hopes of a nation rested on Jan O Jorgensen and Viktor Axelsen. The 7th seeded Axelsen set up his semi final against Hurskainen with a two game victory over Dieter Domke whilst Jan O Jorgensen ensure there wouldn’t be another upset with his own two game victory over Mattias Wigardt. Jorgensen takes on the 4th seeded Marc Zwiebler after the German defeated Rajiv Ouseph in the only quarter final to have a pair of seeds play one another.
Tine Baun is also into the semi finals to keep the hope of five Danish titles alive. The top seed defeated Carolina Marin in three games to set up her semi final with the 7th seeded Linda Zechiri, who defeated Kristina Gavnholt to end the unseeded players run in the event. Jie Yao ensured there wouldn’t be two Bulgarians in the last 4 with a three game victory over Petya Nedelcheva to set up a semi final against Germany’s Juliane Schenk. The second seed defeated Sabrina Jaquet in her quarter final to set up her semi final with the 5th seeded Jie Yao.
Danish Dominance In Doubles
Boe and Mogensen reached the last 4 over Ivanov and Sozonov in two games to set up a semi final against Adcock and Ellis of England, who defeated the 3rd seeded Kindervater and Schoettler in a tight three game match to ensure Chris Adcock’s excellent week continues. Fuchs and Roth ensured at least one German presence in the last 4 with a victory over the 4th seeded Cwalina and Logosz and set up a semi final against the unseeded Danish pair of Bonde and Kristiansen who defeated Quere and Ronan of France.
Pedersen and Rytter Juhl relentless run to the last 4 continued with a 21-8, 21-7 victory over the on-form Piek and Tabelling and set up a semi final against Michels and Marinello of Germany who ended the run of Sweden’s Lennartsson and Wengberg in a two game quarter final. The other semi final sees Damkjaer Cruse and Roepke taking on the 2nd seeded Vislova and Sorokina, with the Russian pairing needing three games to progress against the 6th seeded Agathangelou and Olver of England.
The big shock in the mixed doubles was the loss of the top seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen, after they crashed out to the 7th seeded Mateusiak and Zieba in two games. The Polish pair take on Adcock and Bankier, who saved a match point in the third game to eventually come through their all-British clash with Robertson and Wallwork to reach the last 4. Laybourn and Rytter Juhl take on their team mates Pieler Kolding and Houmann to ensure a Danish finalist in the mixed doubles with the 8th seeded Danes defeating the 3rd seeded Nikolaenko and Sorokina in three games to advance to the last 4.
Two of the Dutch seeds in the doubles both crashed out earlier today as there were shocks throughout the draw in Karlskona.
Two Swedes Into Last 8
Henri Hurskainen and Mattias Wigardt are both into the last 8 to the delight of the home crowd but face their toughest tests of the week as they take on the top 2 seeds in the draw next. Hurskainen defeated Lukas Schmidt and Ivan Sozonov, who defeated their 5th seeded Pablo Abian in his second round clash but the Swede defeated the Russian in two games to set up his quarter final against Peter Gade. The top seed defeated Ville Lang in his second round clash and defeated the Ukrainian Valeriy Atrashchenkov in two games to reach the last 8.
Mattias Wigardt takes on Jan O Jorgensen after wins over Stilian Makarski and Vladimir Ivanov to reach the last 8. Jorgensen defeated Kari Gunnarsson and Eetu Heino in straight games to safely progress into the quarter finals. The other two quarter finals sees the 7th seeded Viktor Axelsen take on Dieter Domke, who ended the run of the 3rd seeded Hans-Kristian Vittinghus on route to the last 8. The only quarter final with two seeds involved is between the 4th seeded Marc Zwiebler and 6th seeded Rajiv Ouseph, with both players not losing a game on route to the last 8.
Two Seeds Gone In Women’s Singles
Pi Hongyan was the biggest casualty in the women’s singles, losing her opening match to Germany’s Karin Schnaase before losing out in the next round to Kristina Gavnholt. The unseeded Czech takes on the 7th seeded Linda Zechiri who progressed without the loss of a game. Tine Baun set up her quarter final against Carolina Marin with two solid performances against two past Scottish Open winners in Judith Meulendijks
and Elizabeth, whilst the 6th seeded Marin defeated Tatjana Bibik and Neslihan Yigit to reach the last 8 in impressive fashion.
Jie Yao has been clinical in reaching the last 8, defeating Ellinor Widh and Kirsty Gilmour with the loss of just 40 points to date. Her opponent in the quarter final, Petya Nedelcheva as dropped just 35 points as the 3rd seeded Bulgarian reached the last 8 with little resistance. The last quarter final sees Juliane Schenk take on Switzerland’s Sabrina Jaquet, who defeated the 8th seeded Agnese Allegrini in two games to set up her quarter final against Schenk.
Double Disappointment For The Dutch
8th seeded Bosch and Ridder crashed out to the French pairing of Quere and Ronan in the third round, with the French pair being rewarded with a quarter final against Bonde and Kristiansen of Denmark who defeated their team mates and 2nd seeds, Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen to reach the last 8. Boe and Mogensen are safely into the last 8, where they take on the Russian pair of Ivanov and Sozonov in their quarter final matchup.
Piek and Tabelling are one success story for the Dutch, reaching the last 8 after a third round win over Cooper and Gilmour of Scotland to set up a quarter final against the top seeded Pedersen and Rytter Juhl. However, there was disappointment for the 5th seeded Van Dooremalen and Jonathans as they lost out to Augustyn and Wojtkowska of Poland in two games, with the Polish pair taking on Damkjaer Cruse and Roepke in the their quarter final.
The mixed doubles got underway today, with all 8 seeds progressing into the quarter finals. The top seeded Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen take on the 7th seeded Mateusiak and Zieba after two straight forward victories. The 2nd seeded Danes Laybourn and Rytter Juhl take on Fuchs and Michels of Germany in their quarter final, with both pairs progressing without the loss of a game. The third Danish pair, 8th seeds Pieler Colding and Houmann take on the 3rd seeded Russian pairing of Nikolaenko and Sorokina, with the 3rd seeds needing just a single victory to progress into the last 8 after the withdrawal of Careme and Fontaine.
The last of the quarter finals is an all-British clash between the 4th seeded Adcock and Bankier against the 6th seeded Robertson and Wallwork. Whilst no ranking points are on offer this week, it is still a massive match with the Olympics just 100 days away. They are separated by just 10 spots in the world rankings and both pairs have taken a match in their two encounters previously this year.
Play began on Monday evening in the Telenor Arena in Karlskrona with a single match with resulted in a win for Sweden’s Magnus Sahlberg. The first full day of action seen just a sole seed crash out of the five events.
Dane Loom Large
The full compliment for the second round was completed today after Sahlberg’s win on Monday evening with four Danes in the draw. The top four seeds begin their campaigns tomorrow, with Peter Gade taking on Ville Lang whilst Jan O Jorgensen takes on Iceland’s Kari Gunnarsson. Hans Kristian Vittinghus is the 3rd seed this week and takes on Dieter Domke of Germany whilst Domke’s teammate, Marc Zwiebler takes on Petr Koukal of the Czech Republic after both Domke and Koukal defeated Scottish opponents in their opening round.
Viktor Axelsen completes the four, with the 7th seeded taking on Eric Pang who defeated France’s Brice Leverdez in one of the tightest games of the day, with the Dutchman taking the deciding game 23-21 after saving two match points.
The men’s doubles is a similar story with three Danish pairs into the last 16. Boe and Mogensen were relentless in their 21-5, 21-4 victory over Charalambidis and Orlis of Greece and take on the Polish pair of Moren and Szkudlarczyk in the 3rd round. The other two Danish pairs play against one another as Bonde and Kristiansen take on the 2nd seeded Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen with a likely match against the 8th seeded Bosch and Ridder awaiting in the quarter finals.
Last week’s Dutch Open runners up De Ruiter and Khodabux take on the 5th seeded Ivanov and Sozonov of Russia in one of the matches of the day whilst another Dutch pairing in the last 16, Arends and Jelle taking on Fuchs and Roth of Germany, seeded 7 this week.
White and Wallwork Out
The only seed to crash out to date is the 8th seeded Wallwork and White in the women’s doubles, defeated by Piek and Tabelling who came within 2 points of winning the Dutch Open last week. The Dutch pair take on the Scottish pair of Cooper and Gilmour in the second round after coming through against their Estonian opponents Margus and Talviste 21-10, 21-8. The top seeded Pedersen and Rytter Juhl progressed safely into round 2, as well as the second seeded Russian pair of Vislova and Sorokina who set up a second round clash with the Swedish pair of Ekberg and Hogstrom.
The eight seeds in the women’s singles start their campaign tomorrow, with Tine Baun starting with a potentially tricky encounter with Judith Meulendijks whilst the second seed Juliane Schenk also has a tough opener against Denmark’s Line Kjaersfeldt. Karin Schnaase takes on the 4th seeded Pi Hongyan in another exciting second round encounter, whilst the 3rd seeded Petya Nedelcheva faces a tough last 16 clash against Karina Jorgensen or Anastacia Prokopenko should she defeated Slovenia’s Spela Silvester in her opening match of the week.
Three of the biggest rivalries in the game are to be renewed on the finals stage as China’s hope to claim 5 titles ends today.
Lee Takes On Lin
The top two players in the world will meet for the 28th time and the 4th time at the All Englands. Both have secured their place in the final without the loss of a game this week and Lee Chong Wei complete their route to the finals with a victory over Lee Hyun Il, whilst Lin Dan defeated Kenichi Tago to reach tomorrow’s final. Lee Chong Wei has never strung two victories together against Lin Dan, he will hope to change that after defeating Lin Dan in Korea in their previous encounter in January.
All Chinese Finals In All England
Wang Yihan takes on Li Xuerui tomorrow’s women’s singles final after the world number defeated Wang Shixian in her semi final whilst Li Xuerui beat Tai Tzu Ying in the second of the semi finals. The 7th seed does not hold a good record against the top seeded Wang Yihan in previous encounters, losing all of her previous four encounters. Wang and Yu renew their rivalry with Tian and Zhao in the women’s doubles final, with both pairs meeting little resistance on route to the final. It will be their 9th meeting with Wang and Yu winning their last 7 matches.
The 21st Encounter
Cai and Fu take on Lee and Jung for the 21st time in the All England final, with their historic rivalry tired at 10 wins apiece. Cai and Fu have won the previous two matches but this is their first meeting in the All England final, with both pairs not losing a game this week on route to tomorrow’s final with Lee and Jung being especially impressive in their victory over Boe and Mogensen in their semi final.
The mixed doubles final is the only final without Chinese interest, with Laybourn and Rytter Juhl ending the run of the 2011 champions Xu and Ma at the semi final stage in a two game victory. The 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir will be the Danes opponent in the final after ending the run of the Malaysian pair of Chan and Goh. It will be their 3rd meeting with the Danish pair taking their most recent match in China last November.
There were no excuses of a 3am finish today, with play ending well before midnight on Day 2 with the loss of several seeds over all 5 events.
Taufik Returns To Super Series Latter Stages
Both Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan have progressed without much fuss into the quarter finals, winning their second round matches in two games. Top seeded Lee Chong Wei takes on the unseeded Rumbaka of Indonesia in his quarter final after toppling the 6th seeded Sho Sasaki in two games. Lin Dan takes on Taufik Hidayat in one of the matches of the third day, with the Indonesian defeating Chen Jin in the second round to progress to his first Super Series Premier quarter final of 2012. It will be a massive boost to the Indonesian’s rankings with the qualification period for the London Olympics ending in just over 2 months time.
Chinese Threats Loom Large
Four of the remaining eight players in the women’s singles are the Chinese seeds, with that number set to decrease by at least one going into Saturday’s semi finals. Wang Yihan takes on Tine Baun in the quarter finals in the pick of the matches but the all-Chinese match between Wang Shixian and Jiang Yanjiao has it’s own sub plot. The Chinese number 3 and 4 are battling for the last place in the Olympic team, so this match will have massive implications on who might progress to the Olympics. Li Xuerui is the only Chinese player on the bottom half of the draw and takes on Saina Nehwal in the quarter finals.
Massive Chinese Presence In Doubles
The Chinese have three pairs in the men’s doubles quarter finals, with Cai and Fu reaching their quarter final against Ahsan and Septano without the loss of a game so far this week. Lee and Jung will have to reverse their defeat against Hong and Shen to progress into the last 4, with the unseeded Chinese pair defeating Koo and Tan of Malaysia to reach the last 8. The 5th seeded Chai and Guo take on the Danish 3rd seeds Boe and Mogensen in the pick of the men’s doubles quarter finals, with the Danish pair defeating the 5th seeds last year on route to their victory at the 2011 All Englands.
Two of the newer pairings for China face off in the women’s doubles quarter final, with Ma and Zhong taking on Huan and Tang with a likely semi final against Wang and Yu looming large. Both pairings have defeated a seed to reach the last 8, with Ma and Zhong defeating Fujii and Kakiiwa in their opening round match whilst Huan and Tang defeating Chien and Cheng of Chinese Taipei, seeded 8. The top two seeds have had little trouble in reaching the quarter finals, with both pairs needing around a hour to book their places in the quarter finals.
The GB Olympic sub-plot is very much still alive this week, with Bankier and Adcock defeating the Korean pair of Yoo and Jang to reach the last 8, only to be followed soon after by their rivals Robertson and Wallwork who defeated the 5th seeded Chen and Cheng to also book their place in the quarter finals. Adcock and Bankier take on the world number 9 pairing of Chan and Goh whilst Robertson and Wallwork take on the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir with the reward for another victory each is a semi final match against one another. Xu and Ma are the sole Chinese pair left in the mixed doubles and they take on the Russian pair of Nikolaenko and Sorokina who have regained the form of late last year to reach the last 8. There is also an all-Danish quarter final with Laybourn and Rytter Juhl taking on Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen for a place in the last 4.
From 10am on Wednesday, all the way to Wang Xin’s entrance onto court at 2.15am local time that topped one of the longest and most dramatic days of badminton in recent memory.
Gade Crashes Out
Peter Gade walked onto court at 1.15am local time, 5 hours later than scheduled and after claiming the first, the 4th seed hoped to get off court in double quick time. Rajiv Ouseph took the second game and with it came the realisation that the end of Gade’s history at this event was coming to an end. After going 12-1 down in third, he mounted three minor comebacks before losing the deciding game 21-14.
The likes of Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan were most likely asleep whilst play ended, with both securing a place in the second round tomorrow with routine two game victories. Kenichi Tago defeated Viktor Axelsen in two games in a match that could be repeated countless times in the next decade, with these two players highly regarded as the future of the game. Tago takes on Kazushi Yamada in an all-Japanese second round match. Taufik Hidayat takes on Chen Jin in the second round in one of the matches of the day, with both players progressing in two games today.
5 From 16 For China
Am almost full compliment of Chinese players reached the last 16 in the women’s singles, with Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian booking their places in the second round. Juliane Schenk, Tine Baun and Saina Nehwal leading the non-Chinese charge with Schenk and Nehwal needing three games to progress and the 8th seeded German finishing her game just before 2am local time.
Wang Xin was another big name casualty today, arriving on court at 2.15 local time against Sung Ji Hyun of Korea and failing to produce anything like her best in a 21-8, 21-13 defeat to the world number 12. Li Xuerui is the only Chinese player left in the bottom half of the draw, after battling back from a game down to defeat Bulgaria’s Linda Zechiri.
Bankier and Adcock Strike Again
Ko and Yoo were another big name to crash out on the opening day, with the Korean 4th seeds losing out to Fang and Lee of Chinese Taipei in two games. Lee and Jung had little trouble in reaching the second round, neither did Cai and Fu in their straight forward win over Liu and Ng of Canada. Boe and Mogensen are the main European threat this week and progressed to a second round meeting against Kido and Setiawan tomorrow. Adcock and Ellis kept local interest alive in the competition with a opening round win, but take on the 2nd seeded Lee and Jung in the second round tomorrow.
Wang and Yu made light work of Wallwork and White in their return from a 2-month hiatus, whilst their team mates Ma and Zhong surprised the 4th seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa with a three game victory. The third Chinese pair through is the unseeded pair of Huan and Tang, the German Open winners set up a second round match against Chien and Cheng of Chinese Taipei after their three game victory in the opening round. The fourth Chinese pair are the 2nd seeded Tian and Zhao, who defeated Chin and Wong of Malaysia to reach the second round.
Adcock and Bankier defeated Zhang and Zhao for the second time this year to reverse the result of the 2011 world championship final. A stunning three game victory sees them topple the world number 1 pairing in both Super Series Premier events this year and set up a second round clash with Yoo and Jang of Korea. Lee and Ha were another seeded pair to crash out today, with the 7th seeds losing out to Sato and Matsuo of Japan in two games. Ma and Xu cruised into the second round as one of only two Chinese pairs left in the draw, with He and Yixin defeating Fuchs and Michels of Germany to also reach the last 16. Robertson and Wallwork are also into the last 16, where they will take on the 5th seeded Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei as they battle with Adcock and Bankier for the GB spot at the 2012 Olympics.
The world’s elite descend on Birmingham for the last Premier event of the Olympic qualifying year and also the last visit for some of the world’s greatest players set to retire in London in less than 6 months time.
Gade’s Last Run
Gade confirmed on Sunday evening that this would be his last All England as a player. The 4th seed starts with a first round match against his opponent at the 2011 World Championships, England’s Rajiv Ouseph. Gade has won the previous 7 encounters against Ouseph, all in two games. Top seed Lee Chong Wei is also in Gade’s half of the draw, taking on the dangerous Wang Zhengming in his opening round match but the world number 1 has won all four of their matches in two games also.
Lin Dan enters the tournament as the form player with his fantastic run in Germany last week, he takes on India’s Ajay Jayaram in his opening round match for their first meeting. The bottom half of the draw is loaded with Chinese threats with Chen Jin and Chen Long all likely to make deep runs this week. Taufik Hidayat has dropped to 12th in the world rankings and has been displaced as Indonesia’s #1 player by Simon Santoso. His status as Indonesia’s number 2 should remain unless Tommy Sugiarto defeats Chen Jin in his opening round match, with Hidayat taking on Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon in the first round.
Chinese Strength On Show
China have only brought a mere 6 players for the women’s singles, with all of them ranked inside the top 10 in the world. Liu Xin is the only unseeded of the six and takes on Michelle Li of Canada before a likely second round match against top seeded Wang Yihan.
Should the Chinese team allow their players to play one another, this could be a fascinating week of play with six players attempting to qualify for potentially three spots in the Olympics. Wang Xin and Wang Shixian hold the other two qualifying places and both have tough openers. Wang Xin takes on the world number 12 Sung Ji Hyun of Korea whilst Wang Shixian takes on the world number 10 and world silver medalist
Cheng Shao Chieh.
Tine Baun and Juliane Schenk lead the European charge, with Baun taking on Fu Mingtian of Singapore in her opening round match whilst Juliane Schenk takes on the world number 13 Bae Youn Joo in her opening round match. The sub-plots begin on Tuesday when qualifying takes place with Susan Egelstaff and Elizabeth Cann fighting for the GB spot at the Olympics, both have been in poor runs of form but could play each other in the final qualifying round on Tuesday night in what could be a decider for the Olympic spot.
China The Nation To Beat
China hold the top seed in all three doubles events, with Cai and Fu on route to take on Lee and Jung for their 21st encounter. Last week’s winners Hong and Shen are in Lee and Jung’s half of the draw also as well as Boe and Mogensen of Denmark. Cai and Fu’s main threat in their half in the Korean pair of Ko and Yoo, their world championship opponents.
Wang and Yu have been off the radar for almost 2 months after their stunning loss to Ha and Kim in Korea, they still remain the top seeds in the women’s doubles and will face a qualifier in their opening round. Their main rivals Tian and Zhao start with Chin and Wong of Malaysia, the world number 14 pairing. Ha and Kim are the 3rd seeds this week and are in the bottom half of the draw and have a rematch of their opening round in Germany last week against Sari and Yao of Singapore who defeated them in three games.
The mixed doubles offers another Zhang and Zhao against Adcock and Bankier rematch in the first round, after meeting in the first round in Korea with the British pair coming up on top. Adcock and Bankier are also in a tight qualification fight against Robertson and Wallwork who take on the world number 11 Thai pairing of Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul in the opening round. Xu and Ma are the second seeds this week and start with under the circumstances an “easy” game against the world number 31 pairing of Kim and Jung of Korea. The Danish contingent could face off in the quarter final, but the 3rd seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen take on the new Chinese partnership of Jiaming and Huan. Last week’s German Open winners Laybourn and Rytter Juhl await a qualifier in their opening round.