The news before play that Jan O Jorgensen had to put out of his quarter final because of heart problems put the days play into some sort of context. That as much as this sport means to the players, their health will always be their first priority.
Gade Into Semi Finals
Lee Chong Wei had the perfect birthday gift for himself, a victory over Chen Jin and a place in tomorrow’s semi final. His opponent will be Peter Gade, who beat Viktor Axelsen in three games to claim his place in the last four. Axelsen will take a lot of positives from this week, his victory against Taufik Hidayat and his performance in the second game against Peter Gade is enough evidence to confirm that he belongs at the elite level of world badminton.
Top Three Seeds Into Semis
Wang Shixian and Wang Xin both won their quarter finals in two games to ensure a matchup in the semi final to ensure at least one Chinese player in Sunday’s final. However, Wang Yihan’s walkover against Jiang Yanjiao has all the controversy that infuriates the fans in attendance and that threatens to overshadow performances on the court. Inthanon Ratchanok is Wang Yihan’s semi final opponent, with the Thai player claiming her third victory against Tai Tzu Ying to reach the last 4.
Danish Hopes Still Alive In Doubles
The resurgence of Boe and Mogensen this week will ask the questions of why it took so long for them to get out of their recent dip in form, but their biggest test comes in the semi final as they take on the top seed and world champions Cai and Fu. Neither pair has dropped a game this week and this is a massive match for the Danes in front of a home crowd to prove they are close to being the number 1 pair in the world once more.
The all-Korean semi final that was expected has failed to happen, with Kido and Setiawan upsetting the 4th seeded Ko and Yoo with three game victory after saving five match points in the second game and set up a semi final against Lee and Jung of Korea who defeated Liu and Qiu in two games to progress.
The top two Chinese seeds in the women’s doubles have yet again been too strong for their opponents, with both pairs coming through their matches with the loss of just 48 points between them. The top seeded Wang and Yu take on their first seeded pair of the week in Ha and Kim, seeded 6 whilst Zhao and Tian take on the unseeded Danish pair of Kruse and Roepke for a place in Sunday’s final.
Much like the men’s doubles, the top seeded Chinese pair will be the ones to beat with three outstanding performances to date and have a Danish pair in their way in reaching Sunday’s final. Zhang and Zhao take on the 3rd seeded Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen in the first mixed doubles semi final with neither pair dropping a game and both winning their quarter finals impressively. The other semi finals has Lee and Ha of Korea taking on Xu and Ma of China, with the Chinese pair ending the run of the 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl in a lopsided victory for the 5th seeds to end the Danes superb week at the quarter final stage.
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 unlikely run of Kenichi Tago in last years All England pushed him into the spotlight for the first time, since then he has maintained his place in the top 25 in the world. He faces Lee Chong Wei for the 7th time tomorrow, with the last match taking place a year ago exactly in this event in 2010.
If the presence of the world number 1 Lee Chong Wei wasn’t enough to get him onto the TV Court, a match against Japan’s sole player left in the draw would surely be enough. Both players come into the match without losing a game in their opening two matches but the Malaysia will be the massive favourite with wins in the six previous matchups. Lin Dan’s understated start in the event has resulted in a pair of three game matches which he has progressed from, but faces Chen Jin in the quarter final with the lower seeded Chen Jin winning their previous match in China last week. Gade and Jorgensen ensure European interest in the last 8, with the 3rd seeded Gade taking on Simon Santoso and Jorgensen playing Chen Long in a Chinese-heavy bottom half of the draw.
Tai Tzu Pai pulled out of the biggest shock in the women’s singles with a three game victory over the 3rd seeded Wang Xin. Her reward is another Chinese opponent in the 6th seeded Liu Xin, with the winner of the match playing the match of the day in the women’s singles with top seeded Wang Yihan taking on Tine Baun in the other match in the top half of the draw. Wang Shixian against Juliane Schenk is another intriguing match, with Schenk’s victory over Wang Shixian putting the 2nd seed into a recent slump in form at the Sudirman in May.
The usual suspects are present in the men’s doubles, with Cai and Fu safely into the last 8, joined also by Koo and Tan, Ahsan and Septano, Kido and Setiwan who are also joined by Korea’s pairing of Lee and Ko, who take on the 6th seeded Kido and Setiawan in the quarter finals. Chandra and Gunawan are also a perennial contender, with the 7th seeds taking on Cai and Fu for a place in the semi finals.
The Chinese have usually three or more pairs in a women’s doubles quarter final draw, but this week it is down to just one unseeded pair in Yixin and Zhong. The Canadian Open winners take on the Japanese pair of Matsuo and Naito, who are seeded 6 this week and one of two remaining Japanese pairs in the draw. Another unseeded pair on a unlikely run is the Korean pair of Eom and Jung, who face their first seed of the week in the quarter final against Chen and Chien of Chinese Taipei. Tian and Zhao were Chinese’s big hope after Wang and Yu’s withdrawal but lost out to Danish pair of Rytter Juhl and Pedersen in two games to face the unlikely scenario of a non-Chinese winner in the women’s doubles.
Zhang and Zhao against Ma and Xu has been a matchup riddled with retirements, their previous two encounters both failed to reach the distance and with a third installment schedule for tomorrow, many are hoping for a replay of their Asian Championships matchup instead of their previous two anti-climatic results. Sato and Matsuo fly the flag for Japan as the sole pair left in the draw and take on Denmark’s Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen in the favourable side of the draw with the defeat of 2nd seeded Ahmad and Natsir to Chinese qualifiers Hong and Pan to open up the bottom half of the draw.
The chances of Chinese success were great going into finals day with eight of the ten places on finals day coming from the host nation, but a pair of retirements ensures there more controversy with the Chinese squad going into the upcoming Super Series events.
The men’s singles suffered the surprise defeat of Lin Dan to Chen Jin at the semi final stage, with the possibility of the 2009 world champion being allowed to progress to the final to boost his chances of reaching London 2012. His run went no further as the 3rd seeded Chen Long defeated him in two games to boost the 3rd seeds own chances of reaching the Olympics.
The women’s singles and doubles is where the retirements occured in the finals, with 2nd seeded Wang Shixian defeating the 4th seeded Jiang Yanjiao 8-5 in the second game before a retirement ended the match abruptly. It was a similar case to Chen Jin, with the 4th seed defeating the top seeded player unexpectedly before eventually losing in the final. Wang Shixian’s recent form has been poor, with two early exits before a 3rd round departure from the world championships whilst the ranking points from this event will ensure Jiang Yanjiao remains inside the top 5 in the world. There was a bigger surprise in the women’s doubles as unseeded Huan and Tang defeated the all-conquering top seeded pair of Wang and Yu. The pairing of Huan and Tang are a new pairing on the Chinese scene, recently put together after playing against one another in the junior world championships last year and could be considered a possibility of making enough ranking points to reach the Olympics after defeating the top two Japanese pairs on route to the final. The top seeds retired after losing the opening game 19-21.
Xu and Ma also had their own controversy in their semi final, with Zhang and Zhao retiring at 1-1 in the second game of their match. There was little deception in their impressive two game victory over Koo and Jang of Korea, but Korea would have the last laugh as 3rd seeded Lee and Jung defeated the top seeded Cai and Fu on their home ground in stunning fashion, winning 21-17, 21-10 to level the head to head at 8-8 between the best two pairs in the world.
With the obvious Chinese involvement in their home event, it has been Peter Gade who has ensured some European interest going into the weekend.
Gade’s 80 minute match against Du Pengyu got off to the worst stuff when the 5th seeded Chinese player took the opening game, but the experienced Dane battled back to ensure his place in the last 4 by winning the next two games to set up a semi final with Chen Long. The other semi final sees the last two world champions battle it out as Chen Jin takes on Lin Dan, with the top seed look to be back to his best form with a 21-15, 21-6 demolition of the 6th seeded Sho Sasaki.
The women’s singles, as expected will see the top four players in the world battle it out in a Chinese monopoly of the semi finals. Both Baun and Schenk led the European charge going into the quarter finals but both were easily beaten by their Chinese opponents in Wang Xin and Wang Shixian, who now face off against one another. Top seeded Wang Yihan ended Saina Nehwal’s run at the last 8 with a 21-8, 21-12 victory and takes on the 4th seeded Jiang Yanjiao for a place in Sunday’s final.
Only Cai and Fu remain in the men’s doubles for the Chinese, with Korea taking two spots and Boe and Mogensen of Denmark ensuring some European interest going into the weekend. 4th seeded Ko and Yoo go up against the top seeded Cai and Fu with the recent form between the two pairs very much going in the Chinese pairs favour. The other semi final sees Lee and Jung take on Boe and Mogensen for a place in the final on Sunday.
The women’s doubles as expected still sees the top seeded Wang and Yu as overwhelming favourites, their two game victory over Jung and Kim puts them into the last 4. There was a shock with the 8th seeded Cheng and Pan losing out to their unseeded team mates Huan and Tang in three games but the other unseeded pair of Yixin and Zhong has no such luck against the 4th seeded Tian and Zhao who won in two games.
European interest is down to just one in the mixed doubles, with the 3rd seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen defeating Laybourn and Rytter Juhl in an all-Danish quarter final. British interest ended with the defeat of Adcock and Bankier as well as Blair and White with both losing to unseeded pairs in three games. Xu and Ma defeated Zhang and Zhao, but it was a reverse of the semi final with the top seeded Chinese pair having to retire due to injury.
The first post-World Championships Super Series in China was a perfect way for the host nation to bolster it’s place at the top of world badminton and to an extent they did, but one shock defeat leaves a bittersweet taste on a successful day for the host nation.
World Champion Lin Dan progressed safely into round 2 and was followed by Chen Jin, Zhou Wenlong, Chen Long, Du Pengyu and Wang Zhengming. Only Peter Gade and Kazushi Yamada were able to defeat Chinese opponents in the opening round as the European interest in the men’s singles shrunk to just two after the opening round. Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Peter Gade are Europe’s sole hopes this week with early exits for Rajiv Ouseph, Jan O Jorgensen and Marc Zwiebler.
Wang Shixian needed the full distance to reach the second round against Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, eventually coming through 30-29 in the final game in 71 minutes and saving eleven match points. There is a massive Chinese involvement in round 2 as expected, with Wang Yihan, Wang Xin, Jiang Yanjiao, Liu Xin and Yao Xue making up six of the sixteen remaining players. Tine Baun and Juliane Schenk will be Europe’s main hopes of an unlikely victory on Chinese soil.
The men’s doubles has but just 3 pairs from China, but the top seeded Cai and Fu will be the pair to watch. Hashimoto and Hirata defeated the 8th seeded Chandra and Gunawan to book their place in the last 16 but there were little surprises in the other matches in the opening round. The women’s doubles will be another event to watch for the all-conquering world champions Wang and Yu whilst Europe has it’s entire hope placed solely on Rytter Juhl and Pedersen’s shoulders for success.
The mixed doubles seen the biggest shock of the day as China’s 2nd seeds Jiaming and Ting to unseeded Indian pair Gutta and Valiyaveeti in three games. Their reward is a match against Lee and Ha of Korea, a pair that easily beat them in Switzerland earlier in the year. Last week’s winners Ko and Eom have the toughest task in round 2 as they take on the world champions and top seeded Zhang and Zhao for a place in the quarter final.
The fairytale at the start of the week was Kevin Cordon’s unlikely run to last 8 but even his heroics haven’t matched the performances of Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier this week as they are one match away from being world champions.
Lee Chong Wei defeated the current world champion in convincing style in the morning session to book his place in the final by the score of 21-13, 21-9. His opponent in the final will be the 2nd seeded Lin Dan who had to come through Peter Gade in three games, after the Dane took the opening game but Lin Dan responded in the second and reeled off seven straight points at 14-15 down in the third game to book his place against Lee Chong Wei. Their 24th meeting will be for a world title, with the pair splitting their last 4 matches but the Malaysian won their last encounter in the All England Championships in March.
Wang Yihan won the all-Chinese semi final against Wang Xin to take a 5-0 lead in their head to head matches. The 2nd seed will take on the 7th seeded Cheng Shao Chieh, who defeated Juliane Schenk in convincing fashion to continue her excellent run after defeating the top seeded Wang Shixian in the quarter final stage. Wang Yihan holds a 3-0 record against her Chinese Taipei opponent, with their most recent matchup in the Asian Games being won by Wang Yihan in two games.
The Korean pair of Ko and Yoo reached the men’s doubles final with a two game victory over Ahsan and Septano, the 7th seeded pair from Indonesia. Their opponents in tomorrow’s final will be the top seeded Cai and Fu who are looking for their 3rd straight world title after defeating the 3rd seeded pair of Lee and Jung in two games and taking the advantage in their head to head to 8-7 to the Chinese pair. Cai and Fu will go in as undoubted favourites with a 4-0 advantage in their head to head.
The women’s doubles final is an All-Chinese affair, with the top seeded Wang and Yu defeating the 3rd seeded Maeda and Suetsuna in two games to book their place in the final against the 5th seeded Tian and Zhao, who defeated the unseeded Indian pair of Gutta and Ponnappa. Wang and Yu have won every single match they have played in 2011 except one, against the pairing of Tian and Zhao in Malaysia early in the year but since then Wang and Yu have defeated their opponents in the final twice.
The mixed doubles final sees the top seeded Zhao and Zhang take on the story of the championships in the pairing of Adcock and Bankier, who defeated their 4th seeded pair this week to be their place in tomorrow’s final. Adcock and Bankier’s stunning victory over the second seeded Ahmad and Natsir booked their place in the final whilst the Chinese pair had to play just one game against the 6th seeded Xu and Ma before an ankle injury to Ma Jin cut the match short. The Chinese pair have won both their previous matches but one of their victories was a retirement and the other meeting was in 2010 that the Chinese pair won 24-22 in the deciding game.
Several nations saw their chances of a medal in London disappear today, but for some unlikely partnerships their dreams continue into the semi final stage. The first top seed also fell today in the women’s singles but the other four top seeds are guaranteed a medal at this years world championships.
Lee Chong Wei ended the run of the Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon in ruthless fashion to set up a semi final against the current world champion Chen Jin, who defeated Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus to reach the last 4. The other semi final is a potential classic as Lin Dan avenged his defeat to Sho Sasaki in two games whilst Peter Gade took 82 minutes to defeat the 7th seeded Tien Minh Nguyen to reach the last 4, but the Dane looked clearly exhausted at several points throughout the match, and has spent almost 3 hours on court in the previous two days to reach the semi final.
Wang Shixian crashed out of the world championships in tame fashion to the 7th seeded Cheng Shao Chieh of Chinese Taipei to devoid the top half of the draw of any Chinese involvement. Tine Baun also crashed out to the on-form Juliane Schenk in very poor fashion, losing to the 9th seeded Schenk 21-9, 21-11 in just 30 minutes. The other semi final is an all-Chinese clash with Wang Xin taking on Wang Yihan, with the higher seed Wang Yihan winning their previous 4 encounters. Wang Xin’s victory came against the 6th seeded Saina Nehwal whilst Wang Yihan ended France’s involvement this year with her two game win over Pi Hongyan.
The anticipated semi final clash between Cai and Fu against Lee and Jung will take place tomorrow, with both pairs coming through their matches in two games to set up their 15th meeting for a place in the world championship final. The other semi final also has Korean interest with the 5th seeded Ko and Yoo defeating the Commonwealth champions Koo and Tan in two games in the opening match on the TV court this morning. Their opponents are the 7th seeded Ahsan and Septano who defeated the Danish 2nd seeds of Boe and Mogensen in three games, taking the deciding game 24-22 to progress.
Wang and Yu are safely into the semi final stage with another two game victory over Naito and Matsuo and will take on another Japanese pairing in the semi finals in the shape of Maeda and Suetsuna who defeated Indonesia’s Jauhari and Polii in two games to reach the last 4. The other semi final sees the 5th seeded Tian and Zhao taking on the unseeded pair of Gutta and Ponnappa, with the Indian’s defeating the 12th seeded Marissa and Melati of Indonesia in three games to guarantee India a world championship medal.
Adcock and Bankier’s incredible continues into the weekend after their two game victory over the 4th seeded Tian and Jiaming, with Adcock sprinting off court in celebration after Jiaming served into the net at match point down. They have their toughest test in the semi final in the 2nd seeded Indonesian pair of Ahmad and Natsir, who defeated the 5th seeded Danish pair of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen in two games. The other semi final sees the top seeded Zhang and Zhao take on the 6th seeded Xu and Ma in an all-Chinese semi final. Zhang and Zhao defeated the 7th seeded Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei in two games whilst the 6th seeded Xu and Ma beat the unseeded Singapore pairing of Triyachart and Yao in two games also.
The emerging stories from this week is the unlikely run of Kevin Cordon of Guatemala and Britain’s last hope at success with Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier in the mixed doubles.
The day began with Lee Chong Wei sending a message to the rest of the field with his impressive 21-10, 21-5 victory over the 9th seeded Park Sung Hwan. His opponent in the quarter finals has been making his own headlines with his unlikely run to the last 8, Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon defeated Pablo Abian of Spain in a tight three-game 71 minute match that the Guatemalan won to book his place in the quarter final against Lee Chong Wei. Lin Dan had little problem against Lee Hyun Il but will not face his Chinese team-mate in the last 8, instead he will play Sho Sasaki who defeated Lin Dan in the Indonesian Premier event just 6 weeks ago. Denmark joins China in have two players in the last 8, with Chen Jin taking on Hans-Kristian Vittinghus whilst the 3rd seeded Peter Gade had to spend 75 minutes on court to defeat Simon Santoso in three games to set up the last quarter final against Tien Minh Nguyen, who defeated Boonsak Ponsana in two games.
Wang Shixian progressed safely into the last 8 and will take on the 7th seeded Cheng Shao Chieh who ended the run of Spain’s Carolina Marin in the 3rd round in two tight games. The first Chinese casualty came today, with the 4th seeded Jiang Yanjiao losing to the on-form 9th seeded Juliane Schenk and the German will play Tine Baun in the last 8 to ensure a European medal in the women’s singles. Wang Yihan needed three games to progress over Inthanon Ratchanok and takes on France’s Pi Hongyan who defeated the 16th seeded Sayaka Sato to reach the last 8. Saina Nehwal progressed in just 19 minutes after the retirement of Yip Pui Yin and will take on Wang Xin in the quarter final after the Chinese 3rd defeated Petya Nedelcheva in three games, after the Bulgaria took the opening game 21-16.
Cai and Fu have needed three games in both matches to start to reach the last 8 and a match against the 16th seeded Danish pair of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen, who defeated the 8th seeded Chandra and Gunawan in three games. Lee and Jung have been ruthless this week, defeating the 14th seeded Endo and Hayakawa 21-14, 21-5 and will take on the Chinese pair of Hong and Shen who defeated the 10th seeded Fang and Lee of Chinese Taipei. One of the matches of tomorrow will be the quarter final match of Ko and Yoo against Koo and Tan, with both the 4th and 5th seeds winning their third round matches in two games. Boe and Mogensen are the second Danish pair in the last 6 and will take on the 7th seeded Ahsan and Septano with both pairings winning in two games.
Wang and Yu are also safely into the last 8 with another two game victory and will take on the 7th seeded Matsuo and Naito of Japan. The second of three Japanese pairs in the last 8 are the 3rd seeded Maeda and Suetsuna who take on Indonesia’s Polii and Jauhari, who defeated the 16th seeded Yao and Sari of Singapore in two games. The second Chinese pair of Zhao and Tian take on Japan’s third pair in the draw in Fujii and Kakiiwa whilst the second Indonesian pair of Marissa and Melati take on the Indian pair of Gutta and Ponnappa who defeated their second seeded pair this week in three tight games.
China’s fourth top seed is also safely into the last 8 with a two game victory over Fuchs and Michels of Germany, seeded 13 this week. They will face the 7th seeded Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei who defeated the 2009 champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl of Denmark in three tight games to reach the quarter finals. The unseeded Singapore pairing of Triyachart and Yao take on the 6th seeded Xu and Ma of China in the second quarter final in the top half of draw whilst the 4th seeded Jiaming and Tian take on the British pairing of Adcock and Bankier, who defeated their second seed of the week in the 15th seeded Shiota and Ikeda of Japan. The second seeded Ahmad and Natsir take on the 5th seeded Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen in the last of the quarter final matches, with both players coming through in two games to reach the last 8.