The 2012 Olympics signals the end of four legendary careers, with the hope of a last great battle between Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan for the Olympic gold on August 5, 2012. August of this year provided with perhaps the greatest advertisement for the game that there has ever been as Lee Chong Wei took on Lin Dan for the 2011 World Championship.
Malaysia expected as Lee Chong Wei had two match points to claim his first world title, only for Lin Dan to break a nations heart with his refusal to be beaten. A nation distraught as China claimed a clean sweep in London as Lin Dan ripped off his top in celebration after his historic victory. It was the defining image of 2011, that the Chinese were still the nation to beat and that Lin Dan will still the man to beat.
As much as the Chinese tactics are questionable on how they get so many players to qualify, there is little doubting they are the nation to beat going into next years Olympics. Malaysia and Lee Chong Wei’s last chance waits in London once more, in the arena that robbed him of a world title 12 months previously.
From the stunning mistake by Lin Dan at 19-19 in the third game, to his net play and smashes that saved the two match points before his precise pushes into Lee Chong Wei’s forehand that forced the errors that led to the match point and the eventual winning point, it was an absolute master class on the greatest stage by both players. They simply are the best two players in the world and the only two men capable of winning gold in London.
Fighting For Gold
Lee Chong Wei was the overall best player of 2011; winning almost every event he entered and claimed his first All England title against Kenichi Tago in March. The last three months have seen him lose to China’s Chen Long no less than three times which is the only real worry for the Malaysian going into 2012. He will undoubtedly play a full schedule going into the Olympics, with the chance of a second All England title looming large.
Lin Dan goes into 2012 in top form, winning his last three events including the Super Series Finals earlier in December. He won the opening Super Series Premier in Korea in January and followed it up with Asian Games gold, an event that Lee Chong Wei did not play. The top two in the world played each other 5 times in ranking events, with Lin Dan winning four of the five meetings with Lin Dan holding a 18-8 advantage in their 26 meetings to date.
Gade’s Last Chance
Peter Gade celebrated his 35th birthday this month but there was little to celebrate on the court for the Dane as he failed to claim a single title in 2011 as Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei proved too strong throughout the year in a recurring theme for Europe’s number 1. In his 12 meetings with the top two players, he won just three games and failed to win a single match.
His record against the top two is 32-4, with his last victory over Lin Dan over 18 months ago and almost three years since his last win over Lee Chong Wei. His chances of a stunning upset and a Danish gold in London look grim whilst in the Super Series events he will be a perennial contender and will reach the latter stages of most of the events he participates in, but his chances of gold in London are slim.
Taufik’s Fall From Grace
The decline of Taufik started in May of this year when his #2 ranking slipped to 3 and then came the double defeat to Marc Zwiebler in the US and Canada Open. The foundation of his ranking came from his Denmark and France Super Series victories in 2010. His defeat in the second round to Viktor Axelsen in Denmark followed by his opening round loss to Wang Zhengming in France ensured Hidayat’s decline out of the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time in recent memory.
He ended the year with a whimper, losing all three games in the Super Series Finals and taking just a single game against Kenichi Tago. He will start 2012 with a world ranking of 12, still inside the qualifcation zone for the Olympics but he is currently the #2 ranked player from Indonesia with Simon Santoso ranked 7 in the world and Tommy Sugiarto a threat to Hidayat’s qualification also, ranked 17th in the world.
The Chinese Threat
The 2009 world champion Chen Jin as well as the new star of Chinese badminton, Chen Long are just the tip of a massive Chinese threat going into any major tournament in 2012. With 5 Chinese players inside the top 16, there is a massive internal battle within the Chinese squad to claim one of a potential three spots in the Olympics, should China manage to get three players inside the top 4 in the world.
Chen Long is clearly the new star of Chinese badminton, the 22-year old begun this year well outside of the top 10 and his stunning loss to Kevin Cordon in the opening round of the world championships could have derailed his promising career. However, he returned to form later in the year with a trio of titles including a Super Series Premier title in China before his milestone victory over Lee Chong Wei in Japan the next week. This became a recurring theme, with another victory over Lee Chong Wei in Denmark and then finally in their most recent matchup in the Super Series Finals. He is the main threat to the top two in the world going into 2012.
Chen Jin claimed just a single title this year, in the Singapore Super Series after a Lin Dan walkover in the final and without Lee Chong Wei even in the draw. His two runner-up medals were defeats to Lin Dan and Chen Long to firmly establish himself as the third force of Chinese badminton now.
Du Pengyu and Wang Zhengming are the two wild cards of Chinese badminton. They have all but been eliminated from being able to qualify for the 2012 games but will be vital in ensuring a massive Chinese presence at the London Olympics. Ranked #10 and #14 in the world will put them in a position of being seeds in some events but potentially facing one of the seeds in the Premier events of 2011, like Wang Zhengming taking on Taufik Hidayat in the French Super Series in October. They will also play a role in ensuring Chinese success at these events, with the Chinese squad allowing walkovers to occur in all-Chinese matchups, meaning more rest for the higher ranked Chinese players in their big events.
The Breakout Stars of 2011
2011 seen the emergence of Sho Sasaki, Lee Hyun Il, Simon Santoso and Marc Zwiebler into the top 16 players in the world. 29-year old Sho Sasaki has been grinding away a career that seen him ranked as low as 40 in June of this year after a string of opening round losses to start 2011. He then reached the semi finals in the Indonesian Super Series Premier and followed that with a win in the US Open in July. An excellent run to the last 8 of the world championships boosted his ranking into the top 10 and finishes the year with his highest ever world ranking of 7. A lot is expected of Sasaki in 2012 with impressive victories over Lin Dan and Du Pengyu in 2011 but has to ensure no opening round upsets that marred his 2011 season.
Lee Hyun Il ended his career after the Beijing Olympics, only to be talked back into playing competitively just 20 months ago. Ranked 196th in May of 2010, he has returned to the world’s top 10 going into 2012, winning his last two events of 2011. A former world number 1 in 2004, his return to the top 10 is nothing short of stunning with victories over Chen Jin, Wang Zhengming , Du Pengyu and Simon Santoso confirming his top 10 status. He will benefit in 2012 with being seeded for most of the early Super Series events of the year to bolster his place in the top 10.
Simon Santoso was touted to overtake Taufik Hidayat as Indonesia’s number 1 in the summer after Hidayat’s poor run in the US and Canada Open. He entered the world championships ranked 19th but his run to the semi finals in China and Macau, that featured a victory over Peter Gade seen Santoso become the top ranked Indonesian player and ensured his place in the top 10 in December. His victory over Hidayat in the China Masters saw the passing of the guard to the 26-year old.
Marc Zwiebler has cemented his place as Europe’s number 2 behind Peter Gade, but his double victory over Taufik Hidayat has pushed him into the spotlight. Ranked as high as 11 earlier in the year, he has levelled out within the 15-17 ranking in the later half of the year following his Canada Open success. Big things are expected of Zwiebler in 2012 as he is set to take on the mantle of Europe’s #1 after the Olympics.
The New Breed
Denmark’s future lies with Viktor Axelsen, the 2010 junior world champion and current European junior champion carefully scheduled his 2011 calender, with a victory in Spain before his greatest moment of his career in the Denmark Open as he defeated Taufik Hidayat in his hometown to reach the last 8 of a Super Series for the first time. He took a game off Peter Gade in his quarterfinal before losing out in three games but that propelled him onto the world stage. He played the Hong Kong and China Masters in the latter half of 2011 and will likely take on a full schedule in 2012 as he looks to improve on his ranking of 36.
Wong Wing Ki’s victory over Lin Dan in Denmark was the 21-year old’s first breakthrough victory of his career and a series of promising results to end 2011 has him just outside the top 20 in the world going into 2012. He has been competitive against the world’s elite throughout the last year with only his standout victory against Lin Dan to show for it, he will hope to have several more impressive wins in 2012.
The European Hopefuls
Pablo Abian, Rajiv Ouseph have been the powerhouses of the EBU circuit, whilst Jan O Jorgensen has been reaching the latter stages of the Super Series towards the end of 2011 after a health scare during the week of the Denmark Open.
Pablo Abian started 2011 just inside the top 50 in the world before taking four titles in the first half of the year, including a victory over Viktor Axelsen in Sweden in January to claim his first title. Opening round defeats in the Denmark and France Open will have to be improved on in 2012 to break into the world’s elite.
Rajiv Ouseph will go to the London Olympics as GB’s only chance of a medal in this event but his success in 2011 has came in Europe, with victories in Ireland and Scotland, choosing to play the European events instead of the Super Series Premier event in China. He goes into 2012 in need of a notable run in a Super Series to boost his confidence ahead of the pressure of performing on home soil after a poor attempt this year in a 21-8, 21-18 defeat to Peter Gade in the opening round of the 2011 world championships.
Jan O Jorgensen is a former top 10 player whose health scare in Denmark forced him into a layoff of 4 weeks that seen him dip to 19 in the rankings. Three quarter final appearances in Super Series events in 2011 will be the very minimum he will need to ensure his place at the Olympics ahead of Viktor Axelsen, as the two battle it out to be Denmark’s number 1 after Gade’s retirement.
However, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus is also a contender in the debate. Ranked outside the top 30 at the start of 2011, the Dane took the Dutch Open title in April to push him into the top 25 and another victory in the Bitburger Open sees him inside the top 20 and finished the year with a close match with Chen Long of China. The performance in the China Open will be one that Vittinghus hopes to emulate throughout 2011 to ensure his name is in the discussion over Denmark’s top men’s singles player.
The Asian Contingent
The rarely spoken about Tien Minh Nguyen has been inside the top 10 in the world for almost two years without any major runs in the Super Series, the Vietnamese player earns his ranking points from the GP Gold series of events but did put have a good run at the world championships, eventually losing out to Peter Gade in three games at the quarter final stage. Defeats to Sho Sasaki and Jan O Jorgensen in the latter part of 2011 still raise question marks over Nguyen’s true ability and significance within the rankings.
Park Sung Hwan’s year was cut short with an injury after the world championships. After surgery on his knee in September there was further complications after it was revealed that the Korean had circulation problems in his shoulder but is expected to return to action in the opening months of 2012. He was ranked inside the top 10 before his lay off due to injury.
Boonsak Ponsana is another player in the Tien Minh Nguyen mould in that he was almost discounted as a threat in the opening half of 2011 when he was ranked 6th in the world, mostly due to ranking points gained through the GP Gold series. His quarter final defeat to Lee Chong Wei is the highlight of a poor year for the Thai player that has seen him crash out of the top 10 but surgery has sidelined Ponsana for most of the second half of 2011, with 2012 seeing the Thai player hopefully return to the court.
The End Of An Era
Regardless of the results in London, Lee Chong Wei and Peter Gade have confirmed their intentions to retire after the Olympics. Lin Dan and Taufik Hidayat likely to follow suit, especially should Lin Dan claim his second Olympic title. Hidayat’s dip in form will likely be a contributing factor especially with his place in London far from guaranteed.
2012 will provide us with the end of an era and the chance to crown a new world number 1 after the Olympics. Whether that is Lee Chong Wei winning gold for Malaysia, Lin Dan retaining his Olympic title or the dream finale to Peter Gade’s stunning career, the countdown has begun. There is no more putting off talking about the likely retirement of these four players, for it is now a matter of months, not years now.
The 2012 season starts in just a few weeks, with the Korean Open Super Series Premier being moved 3 weeks to the first week in January, with the Malaysian Open Super Series the next week to ensure an exciting start to the year. The doubleheader of the Indonesia Premier and Singapore Super Series will be the final event before the run-in to the Olympics in late July.
Then, another 6 week break before the China Masters and the first opportunity to survey the aftermath of the 2012 Olympics. The year ends with the China Open Premier and the Hong Kong Super Series in late November to conclude what is likely to be a historic year of badminton.
With China having more than half the remaining players in the draw, the few non-Chinese players will stand out over the weekend but some big names will not be around for the semi final stages in Shanghai.
Gade Out To Santoso
Simon Santoso’s run of good form this run has claimed another seed, the 4th seeded Peter Gade. The Indonesian defeated Gade in a three game 73-minute match to book his place in the last 4 where he will face Chen Long. The 2nd seed defeated his countryman Chen Jin in a one-sided quarter final to book his place in the semi finals. The other semi final is a repeat from last week that sees Lee Chong Wei take on Lin Dan after both secured two game victories in their respective quarter final matches.
Clean Sweep In Women’s Singles
The question in the women’s singles is now which of the four Chinese players will take the title on home soil. Wang Yihan is the top seed remaining and takes on Liu Xin in the bottom half of the draw, with both players winning in three games. Wang Xin will play Li Xuerui in the other semi final, with Wang Xin the other player of the four remaining not to drop a game in the quarter finals.
Chinese Interest Looms Large In Doubles
The men’s doubles is without a Chinese pair going into the last 4, with Cai and Fu pulling out before their match with Kawamae and Sato to set up a semi final against Ko and Yoo of Korea. Lee and Jung are the highest seeds left in the draw and take on Boe and Mogensen after they defeated Kido and Setiawan 28-26 in a 73-minute thriller. Wang and Yu are one of three Chinese pairs left in the women’s doubles with the top seeds taking the 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa in the first of the semi finals. The other semi final sees the 2nd seeded Tian and Zhao take on the unseeded pair of Tang and Xia for a place in Sunday’s final. China are also guaranteed a finalist in the doubles with Zhang and Zhao taking on qualifiers Jiaming and Xia, who defeated the Danish pair of Laybourn and Rytter Juhl to reach the last 4. The other semi final sees the 3rd seeded Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen take on the Thai pairing of Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul for a place in Sunday’s final.
It may have only been a few seeds that crashed out today, but the significance of the names have changed several of the draws appearance. New world number 1 Wang Shixian crashed out as well as Taufik Hidayat in what could be his last tournament as a Super Series seeded player.
Taufik Crashes Out
It has been an all too similar story this year for Hidayat, another early exit from a Super Series but the manner of his defeat as well as the opponent signals a change in the guard of Indonesian badminton. His 21-15, 21-10 loss to Simon Santoso could be the last time Taufik Hidayat is ranked above Santoso, with just two places separating the pair at the start of the week and Santoso’s reward is a quarter final match against Peter Gade, who defeated Du Pengyu in his second round match. Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan both progressed safely into the last 8, as did Chen Long and Chen Jin who now face each other for a place in the semi finals on Saturday.
Wang Shixian and Tine Baun Out
The weight of China was on Wang Shixian’s shoulders once more, and once more an early exit has been the result. A second round defeat to Inthanon Ratchanok again asks questions over Wang Shixian’s ability to cope with the added pressure of being world number 1. It was one of just two defeats for the Chinese squad that could have had as many as 7 of the last 8 in the women’s singles. Han Li lost out to Petya Nedelcheva whilst Yao Xue ended the run of the 7th seeded Tine Baun with a three game victory and a quarter final against the 3rd seeded Wang Xin.
Business As Usual For Top Seeds In Doubles
It is yet another tournament with the same names looking likely to meet in the final, with Cai and Fu looking ever the more likely to take on Lee and Jung for the fourth Super Series event running, with the 2nd seeded Korean’s coming through a scare against Liu and Qiu to reach the last 8. The women’s doubles looks like an all-Chinese affair for the 4th time also, as Wang and Yu look set to meet Tian and Zhao after both pairs won their opening matches today. Whilst in the mixed doubles there was a surprise as the 2nd seeded Xu and Ma crashed out to Chan and Goh of Malaysia, allowing the 3rd seeded Danish pair of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen a potentially easier route into Sunday’s final. Top seeded Zhang and Zhao had no trouble in reaching the last 8, where they take on Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei before a potential semi final clash with another Danish pair in Laybourn and Rytter Juhl, who defeated the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir in what was a successful day for the Danes in Shanghai.
The results from Hong Kong last week was a warning ahead of this week that China were back to their best. The opening day in Shanghai was yet another reminder as the top Chinese players as well as the future stars of this nation are set to dominate this week.
Gade Survives Scare
It was Peter Gade who came within a point of going out in a stunning upset to Shon Wan Ho of Korea, at 20-19 in the deciding game Gade reeled off three points in a row to survive his 82-minute ordeal and set up a second round clash with Du Pengyu of China. Lee Chong Wei and Kenichi Tago meet again this week, this time in the second round with both securing opening round victories. The world number 1 holds an 8-0 record against his Japanese opponent, with Tago winning just two games in the previous 8 meetings. Chen Long is the highest seed in the event for China and takes on Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in the second round tomorrow, with the winner set to play either Chen Jin or Wang Zhengming in the last 8.
Massive Chinese Contingent In Women’s Singles
China have no less than 8 players in the last 16 even with the loss of the 5th seeded Jiang Yanjiao in the opening round to Bulgaria’s Petya Nedelcheva. Top seed this week is Wang Shixian after regaining the world #1 spot and progressed safely into the second round against Thai qualifier Sapsiree Taerattanachai. Wang Yihan’s progression was tougher, defeating Ai Goto in two tight games and 3rd seeded Wang Xin was forced into a tight two game match by Yao Jie also. There is no less than 5 unseeded Chinese players, from Li Xuerui to qualifiers Han Li and Yao Xue, who takes on Tine Baun in the second round.
Little Trouble For Chinese Pairings
Three Chinese pairs in the men’s doubles are safely into the second round, with Cai and Fu taking on Hirobe and Kazuno, who defeated Hong and Chen in two tight games. The second seeded Lee and Jung are also into the last 16 and they also take on a Chinese pairing, the unseeded pair of Liu and Xiu who progressed easily into the second round after beating Liu and Ng of Canada. Boe and Mogensen are seeded 3 this week and defeated the on-form pairing of Bach and Gunawan in their opening round match.
Even with both the top two Chinese seeds receiving first round byes, there was still Chinese success in the women’s doubles as three unseeded Chinese pairs also progressed into the last 16. The most impressive of the victories was Cheng and Pan’s win over the 8th seeded Jauhari and Polii, whilst Tang and Xia as well as Xie and Yixin also progressed and take on seeded pairs in the last 16.
There was four Chinese victories in the mixed doubles also, with Zhang and Zhao receiving a bye whilst Xu and Ma came from a game behind against Ko and Eom of Korea to eventually progress into the last 16. Qualifiers Jiaming and Xia defeated te 6th seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand to set up their all-Chinese second round match against Hong and Pan. Lee and Ha were another seed that crashed out in the opening round, losing to the Danish pairing of Pieler Colding and Houmann to ensure three Danish pairs in the last 16 also, with Laybourn and Rytter Juhl beating Ikeda and Shiota of Japan and the 3rd seeded pair of Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen defeating Lee and Chien of Chinese Taipei to advance to the last 16.
There was no suspicious circumstances over the five Chinese victories on finals day in Hong Kong as China cemented their place back at the top of world badminton going into their home Super Series next week.
Lin Dan and Wang Xin Claim Singles Titles
It was a surprise to see Lin Dan take on Lee Chong Wei this week, but there was no surprise in the final as Lin Dan defeated Chen Jin 21-12, 21-19 in 31 minutes to claim his first title since the world championships in London. Wang Xin ended the superb run of Tine Baun in the women’s singles in the one-sided final that the 3rd seed took 21-17, 21-14 in 30 minutes.
Chinese Revenge In Doubles
Cai and Fu’s recent history against their Korean opponents Lee and Jung had been poor, losing the last 2 Super Series finals against the 2nd seeded pair. Today however, was the top seeds day as they claimed a three-game 69-minute marathon with the Chinese pair winning the deciding game 21-19. Wang and Yu claimed their 8th victory over Tian and Zhao in the women’s doubles final, with the 2nd seeded pair retiring from a game down at 14-2 down in the second game to allow the top seeds to claim yet another title in a historic year for the Chinese pairing. Zhang and Zhao had been defeated twice previously by their Danish opponents Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen in previous Super Series in Denmark and France at the semi final stage. After the opening game, the Danes looked set to make it three straight victories over the world champions but the Chinese pair responded and took the next two games to take the title ahead of their home Super Series next week. The 64-minute, three game match was won 15-21, 21-17, 21-17 by Zhang and Zhao.
The best two players in the world met for the first time since the world championship final in August, and whilst that match was heralded as a classic, their most recent encounter in Hong Kong resulted in a one-sided victory for Lin Dan over Lee Chong Wei.
Lin Dan Too Strong
Much has been made of Lin Dan and of the Chinese squads withdrawals recently, but surprisingly the highly anticipated rematch between Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei took place. The match was a distinctly one-sided affair with Lin Dan winning in two games and put further doubt into the Malaysian that he can compete with the Chinese squad after a pair of losses to Chen Long in recent weeks also. However, Chen Long suffered his own disappointment in his semi final loss to Chen Jin to set up an all-Chinese final.
Baun Into Final
After a recent run of poor form in Denmark and France, few expected this sort of week from Tine Baun. Her three game victory over Wang Shixian was one of her best results of the year and sets up a final against the 3rd seeded Wang Xin, who also defeated her higher ranked opponent in Wang Yihan in just two games to set up tomorrow’s final.
Usual Suspects In Doubles
The finals of the three previous Super Series have rarely changed, with Cai and Fu set to take on Lee and Jung in the men’s doubles final for the third Super Series in a row. The same can be said of the women’s doubles as Wang and Yu look for their 7th victory over Tian and Zhao and in their third straight meeting in a Super Series final. The mixed doubles has the on form Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen taking on a Chinese pairing, this time it is the top seeded Zhang and Zhao in the final after defeating Xu and Ma at the semi final stages this week, the pair they beat in their previous two Super Series finals.
It was a mixed day for the Koreans, the Indians, the Danes and the Japanese but for the Chinese it was almost a perfect day in Hong Kong, with just two pairs losing on a day of success for the Chinese.
Gade Crashes Out
Chen Jin and Peter Gade met for the 12th time today, with Gade winning just 3 of their previous 11 matchups. Today did not add another win to that tally as the 2010 world champion defeated Gade in two games to book his place in the last 4 and inflict his 9th defeat upon the Dane. His opponent in the semi final will be Chen Long, with a guaranteed Chinese involvement in Sunday’s final.
Lee Chong Wei defeated Ajay Jayaram to book his place in the last 4, whilst Lin Dan defeated Shon Wan Ho in his quarter final to set up their dream semi final match. Question marks will loom over the match as to whether the world number 1 will take on the current world champion until the pair step onto court, with the Chinese squad looking to keep this matchup from taking place in an Olympic qualifying year.
Baun Breaks Up Chinese Monopoly
With the top three Chinese seeds all making into the last 4, only Tine Baun adds any sort of variety to what looks like a Chinese certainty in the women’s singles. Baun’s victory over Saina Nehwal was an unexpected one with the Dane’s form being up and down in the past month but it is a welcome surprise to the Danish squad after Gade’s exit from the men’s singles. Baun takes on the 2nd seeded Wang Shixian whilst the other semi final is an all-Chinese affair between Wang Yihan and Wang Xin, with the higher seeded Wang Yihan taking a 5-1 head to head lead into their 7th meeting.
Chinese Dominant In Doubles
Chinese can boast two pairs in the semi finals of each of the three doubles events. Cai and Fu as well the pairing of Zhang and Jiaming, predominantly known for their mixed doubles results are also through to the last 4 of the men’s doubles. The two Chinese pairs take on one another in the first of the semi finals whilst the other semi final is an all-Korean affair with Ko and Yoo taking on Lee and Jung for a place in Sunday’s final.
Wang and Yu continue their march to the final with another two game victory over the local pairing of Poon and Tse whilst their perennial opponents in the final also progressed into the last 4 as Tian and Zhao defeating Jung and Kim of Korea to reach the last 4. Zhao Yunlei is also into the last 4 of the mixed doubles with Zhang Nan as of both partners are set to play two semi finals matches tomorrow, Zhang and Zhao take on the Chinese Taipei pairing of Chen and Cheng in the first of tomorrow’s semi finals whilst Xu and Ma take on their nemesis of the past few weeks in Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen in the second of tomorrow’s mixed doubles semi finals.
The final match of the second day in Hong Kong gave us the first look at the present elite against the future elite as the world number 1 took on the 2010 world junior champion in the last of the second round games in the men’s singles.
Lee Chong Wei Into Last 8
For the opening portion of the match, there was little to separate the two players but Lee Chong Wei eventually progressed safely in two games against Viktor Axelsen, but there will be positives to be taken for the Dane ahead of next week’s China Open. Ajay Jayaram is the Malaysian’s quarter final opponent after the Indian’s victory over Hashim of Malaysia in three games. Lin Dan takes on Shon Wan Ho in his quarter final, with the Korean beating the 8th seeded Marc Zwiebler in his second round match.
Indian qualifier RMV Gurusaidutt has been the story of the bottom half of the draw, he impressed in qualifying and today provided the biggest victory over his career over the 7th seeded Du Pengyu of China. His reward is another Chinese player in the next round, the 2nd seeded Chen Long for a place in the semi finals. The fourth quarter final is a battle of the veterans of the game as Peter Gade takes on Chen Jin for the 11th time. Gade was forced to three games by Yamada in his second round match whilst Chen Jin disposed of Gade’s countryman Jan O Jorgensen in just two games.
Triple Threat From China
Three Chinese and three Japanese players started the last 16, only Ai Goto remains from the Japanese squad whilst all of the Chinese seeds are into the last 8. Ai Goto takes on the top seeded Wang Yihan tomorrow, with her record against the world number 1 far from stellar with just one game won in their four meetings to date. The only match not containing a Chinese player sees the 4th seeded Saina Nehwal take on Tine Baun as they meet for only the 4th time, with the Indian taking their most recent match at the Indonesia Premier event in June.
Bach and Gunawan match into quarterfinals
The 2005 world champions have managed once again to upset the worlds elite and reach the last 8 of a Super Series event. After their three game victory over Kawamae and Sato they have the unenviable task of taking on the world number 1 pairing of Cai and Fu, with the Chinese pair looking to continue their unbeaten run to 7 against the American pair. The two Korean threats of Lee and Jung as well as Ko and Yoo are on a collision course for the semi finals after both pairs won in two games to reach the last 8.
Win number 51 of the year was never in doubt for Wang And Yu, taking their streak of matches without the loss of a game to 8, dating back their semi final victory in Denmark last month. Tian and Zhao amassed their 41st win of the year and look set to meet their Chinese team-mates Wang and Yu in the final for the third straight Super Series event, who have been responsible for 6 of the 8 losses inflicted on Tian and Zhao.
Four of the remaining eight pairs in the mixed doubles are Chinese, with at least Chinese pair guaranteed in the last 4 from the all-Chinese quarter final of Zhang and Zhao against He and Yixin. The possibility of an all-Chinese semi final lies in the hands of Pan and Hong, who take on Chen and Cheng after both pairs progressed to the last 8 in two games. Ko and Eom of Korea take on the on form Danish pair of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen whilst Valeria Sorokina’s excellent week sees her in both the women’s doubles and mixed doubles quarter finals after defeating seeds in both her second round matches. Sorokina partners Nikolaenko in her quarter final in the mixed doubles against Xu and Ma of China.
Peter Gade’s final run at the French Open title came undone at the second round stage with a surprise defeat to Hu Yun, but he wasn’t the only seed to crash out today.
Gade says farewell to Stade De Coubertin
Gade was frank in his report of his own play after his second round loss to Hu Yun, claiming that his conditioning wasn’t correct going into the week but didn’t expect to lose so early in the week. He wasn’t the only seed to lose in the second round, Du Pengyu also crashed out to Kenichi Tago of Japan but there is still a massive Chinese attendance in the quarter final stage, with two all-Chinese quarter finals taking place tomorrow.
Lee Chong Wei had little trouble defeating Brice Leverdez to end any hopes of a French victory this week, whilst the Malaysian takes on Shon Wan Ho of Korea in the last 8 after his victory over Tien Minh Nguyen in the second round. Lin Dan and Chen Jin both won in two games to set up their quarter final matchup, with question marks looming over whether the match will actually take place.
3 seeds remain in women’s singles
Sain Nehwal was the latest big name seed to crash out this week as the unseeded Li Xuerui beat the 4th seeded Indian in two tight games to ensure three Chinese players in the last 8. Wang Yihan was impressive in her victory over Gu Juan whilst 3rd seeded Wang Xin was pushed in two tight games before defeating Petya Nedelcheva to set up her quarter final matchup against the 6th seeded Juliane Schenk in the last 8.
Seeds crash out in doubles
Whilst the best two pairs in the men’s singles progressed in efficient style, there were some seeds that didn’t fare as well in the second round. 5th seeded Koo and Tan lost to the Danish pair of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen whilst the 7th seeded Kido and Setiawan lost to the English pairing of Ellis and Adcock whilst the 3rd seeded pair of Boe and Mogensen were the fortunate pair after Kim and Shin pulled out of the event before their second round encounter.
Wins 46 and 38 respectively for the top two pairs in the women’s doubles as Wang and Yu defeated Marinello and Michels of Germany to reach the quarter finals and a match against Marissa and Melati. Tian and Zhao were given a walkover against their Chinese team-mates Pan and Cheng and take on the 7th seeded Japanese pairing of Matsuo and Naito, who defeated the Russian pairing of Vislova and Sorokina to reach the quarter finals. Pedersen and Rytter Juhl had to retire in the second game of their second round match, allowing the 4th seeded Maeda and Suetsuna to advance into the last 8.
Zhang and Zhao were taken to three games by the Korean qualifiers Ko and Eom before eventually progressing to take on Yoo and Jang in the quarter finals tomorrow. The second seeded Ma and Jin progressed into two games against the world silver medalists Adcock and Bankier and take on the Indonesian pair of Widianto and Marissa in the last 8. Last week’s winners Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen progressed into the last 8 with a victory over Jongjit and Amitapal and will take on the Korean pair of Lee and Ha who beat the 5th seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in three games to reach the quarter finals.