Can Zweibler Keep The Momentum?

With the pending retirement of Lee Chong Wei looming after the 2012 Olympics, the Malaysian world #1 has focused all of his efforts this year claiming one of the few titles to elude him in his career. His performances this year has propelled him to the undoubted favourite for the title, even with Lin Dan in the draw. The Chinese 2nd seed has also allegedly set his retirement after the 2012 Games in London, with both players not even reaching 30. China’s big hope has hand picked the events he has played since his Olympic triumph in Beijing three years ago.

There is the European threat, with Peter Gade who never considered a retirement before the age of 30 but still looking to claim his first world title. He is seeded 3rd this year to break up the Asian dominance in the top seeds this year. The next generation could break through this year with the likes of Chen Long, Kenichi Tago and Du Pengyu all receiving seeds this year.

There are some players to watch also from the 48 unseeded players, Kazushi Yamada reached the last 8 in Paris last year, Shon Wan Ho was a top 16 this year and Spain’s Pablo Abian is one of the most consistent players on the EBU Circuit.

The Favourites:

Lee Chong Wei

Seeded – 1

2010 Result – Quarter Finals

1st Round Opponent – Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Thailand)

Likely Threats – Park Sung Hwan (Last 16) Chen Long (QF)

His performances in the past 8 months have put him at a level of invincibility that Lin Dan had going into the 2008 Olympics.  His opener against the world #32 Saensomboonsuk is s favourable start as Lee Chong Wei could have hoped for. He hold a 5-0 head to head advantage and has failed to drop a game in any of the five matches.

His 3rd round match if the seeds go according to plan is the world #9 Park Sung Hwan, who he holds an 11-1 head to head advantage against with that single victory for the Korean coming in 2004. Chen Long is a likely quarter final opponent,  but the Chinese player has only claimed a single win over the Malaysian in five matches and that was in 2009.

This event is ultimately Lee Chong Wei’s to lose.  With four Super Series victories in 2011 already to his name as well as winning two of their last three Super Series against Lin Dan.

Lin Dan

Seeded – 2

2010 Result – Quarter Finals

1st Round Opponent – Kestutis Navickas (Lithuania)

Likely Threats – Peter Gade (SF)

The 2009 world champion tamely crashed out last year and controversy had surrounded the Chinese player since.  Withdrawals before matches with Chinese players has been given as various injuries but losses to Sho Sasaki as well as Lee Chong Wei on numerous occasions have seen Lin Dan’s aura of invincibility disappear.

It will be his first meeting with Navickas on his opening round match, with a massive question mark looming over a potential quarterfinal match with Du Pengyu. Peter Gade should be his likely semi final opponent, who defeated him in the Swiss Open in 2010 but his overall record over the Dane is an impressive 14-3 in the Chinese players favour.

Lin Dan is capable of winning this event, if he turns up without the controversy that his plagued him for the past 12 months.

The Contenders

Peter Gade

Seeded – 3

2010 Result – Semi Finals

1st Round Opponent – Rajiv Ouseph (England)

Likely Threats – Simon Santoso (Last 16) Lin Dan (SF)

The 34-year old goes into the event knowing that he is capable of reaching the final of the world championships, a feat he accomplished ten years ago in Seville. His record against the top two seeds is poor, to say the least but his sole victory of Lee Chong Wei resulted in his last Super Series victory (Korean Open, 2009).

His opening match against England’s Rajiv Ouseph is a favourable one, with the Dane holding a 6-0 head to head advantage and the Englishman failing to claim a single game in any of the six defeats. His 3rd round match against Simon Santoso will be his first main test, with the Indonesian claiming a victory this year against Gade in Korea.

Chen Jin

Seeded – 6

2010 Result – Winner

1st Round Opponent – Raul Must (Estonia)

Likely Threats – Taufik Hidayat (QF) Lee Chong Wei (SF)

To say that Chen Jin was a surprise winner last year would be an understatement. It was so improbable that few could have believed that a Taufik Hidayat – Chen Jin final was possible. The two could potentially meet once again at the last 8 stage, with Chen Jin leading the head to head 3-1.

Raul Must is Chen Jin’s first opponent this week and their first meeting ever. Chen Jin’s recent form has been average, after inheriting the Singapore Open title with a Lin Dan withdrawal and three defeats to Sho Sasaki this year has seriously dented his credentials of retaining his world title.

Taufik Hidayat

Seeded – 4

2010 – Runner-Up

1st Round Opponent – Rodrigo Pacheco Carrillo (Peru)

Likely Threats – Chen Jin (QF) Lee Chong Wei (SF)

Taufik Hidayat took the decision to play the US Open and Canada Open in the build up to the World Championships and suffered a double dose of defeat from Marc Zwiebler, who defeated him in both tournaments.

His opening match against Peruvian Rodrigo Pacheco is one of the easiest matches the Indonesian could have faced and has already defeated the world #61 previously in the world championships, albeit eight years previously.

Hidayat has to prove he is capable of competing with the top 10 players once again and put the double disappointment of the US and Canada Open behind him.

The Outsiders

Marc Zweibler

Seeded – 14

2010 Result – 3rd Round

1st Round Opponent – Valeriy Atrashchenkov (Ukraine)

Likely Threats – Chen Long (Last 16) Lee Chong Wei (QF)

No player is coming into the event on a better run of form than the German, two victories in the US Open and Canada Open has put him well inside the top 20 in the world and with a very favourable opening two rounds before his biggest test against Chen Long.

Kazushi Yamada

Unseeded

2010 Result – Quarter Finals

1st Round Opponent – Daniel Paiola (Brazil)

Likely Threats – Du Pengyu (Last 32)

He appeared from almost nowhere in 2010 before losing out to Peter Gade in the quarterfinals, his run last year was a warning to all of the top players that the world championships is the premier event of the year and anyone can beat anyone on their day, can Yamada repeat the feat in 2011?

Sho Sasaki

Seeded – 11

2010 Result – Did Not Play

1st Round Opponent – Brice Leverdez (France)

Likely Threats – Du Pengyu (Last 16) Lin Dan (QF)

His impressive 2011 has made him into a player that nobody wants to face, Lin Dan, Chen Jin, Boonsak Ponsana , Park Sung Hwan and Tien Minh Nguyen have all lost to Sasaki in 2011. His second round match could be easier than his opener against Leverdez, who Sasaki was ranked lower than 12 month previously.

Kenichi Tago

Seeded – 15

2010 Result – 2nd Round

1st Round Opponent – Ajay Jayaram (India)

Likely Threats – Chen Jin (Last 16) Taufik Hidayat (QF)

His heroics in the 2010 All England proved he could play with the best in the world, his impressive wins over Zweibler and Santoso in the Sudirman was a reminder just a few months ago that he is a player not to be taken likely. His most recent match against his potential 3rd round opponent was a victory over Chen Jin in his run the 2010 All England final.

Play begins on August 8, with two days of first round matches.

Men’s Singles Draw:

The first major shock of the tournament took place in the men’s singles as Lin Dan was defeated by Sho Sasaki in a tame two game defeat.

 

Lin Dan Out

Lin Dan’s defeat to Sho Sasaki was the only blip in a good day for the Chinese in the men’s singles. Sho Sasaki’s victory over Lin Dan set up a quarter final match against Chen Jin, which will stop the question about Lin Dan potentially pulling out of a second Chen Jin encounter within a week. Lee Chong Wei is safely into the last 8 where he will take on Tien Minh Nguyen, who narrow beat Wang Zhengming in the tightest of matches, winning 22-20 in the deciding game.

 

Chen Long and Du Pengyu face off in the quarter finals, to ensure at least one Chinese player in the last 4 but the match of the day for tomorrow will be 3rd on the main court on Friday as local favourite Taufik Hidayat takes on Peter Gade for a place in the last 4. Gade has been impressive in his two victories and Taufik has bounced back well from his three game opening round matchup. It will be their 17th meeting, with Taufik holding a 9-7 advantage on the head to head, but Gade took their last matchup in three tight games at the 2010 All England Championships.

 

Wang Shixian Out

There was further disappointment for the Chinese camp as top seeded Wang Shixian joined Wang Xin in an early round defeat today, after the world #1 lost out to Cheng Shao Chieh of Chinese Taipei in two games. Her prize for defeating the top seed is a quarter final match against another Chinese player, 7th seeded Liu Xin who defeated her team mate Li Xuerui in three games to book her place in the last 8. The other match in the top half of the draw sees Saina Nehwal take on Tine Baun in a match that both players will feel they can win as well as being their best chance at a Superseries Premier title with the early exits of the top two Chinese seeds. Juliane Schenk’s recent form since the Sudirman Cup has continued in her two game victory of Sayaka Sato to set up a quarter final match against Wang Yihan.

 

Qualifiers Stun Lee And Jung

Home field advantage was never more evident than in the shock 21-17, 21-17 victory for the Indonesian qualifiers Pratama and Saputra over the 2nd seeded Lee and Jung. Their reward is a quarter final match over Chai and Guo of China, seeded 8 this week. Top seeded Boe and Mogensen have returned to somewhere near the form that took them to the world number 1 spot and take on the 7th seeded Kido an Setiawan in the last 8 after both pairs recording two game victories.

 

Wang And Yu Storm Into Last 8

The top seeded Chinese pairing of Wang and Yu have been unstoppable through the opening two rounds, dropping just 33 points on route the last 8 and they take on the 5th seeded Ha and Kim in the quarter finals. There was another unlikely victory, with Marissa and Melati defeating the second seeded Cheng and Chien in two tight games to reach the last 8 where they will take on the unseeded Chin and Wong of Malaysia.

 

Asians Supreme In Mixed

Just the 2009 world champions remain for European interest in the mixed doubles. 8th seeded Laybourn and Rytter Juhl take on the 2nd seeded Thai pairing of Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in their toughest match of the week so far. There were victories for the top seeded Zhao and Zhang as well as 5th seeded Jiaming and Tian, who face off against one another in an all-Chinese quarter final. There is more Chinese interest in the draw as He and Yu take on the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir in the quarter finals.

 

Friday’s Results:

Lee Chong Wei Returns With Power
After skipping over the recent Singapore Super Series last week we are treated to the return of Lee Chong Wei to the Super Series circuit.  A lot of speculation has been going around about whether Lee Chong Wei will be able to repeat his victory over Lin Dan at the All Englands or if it was an isolated incident of Lee not crumbling under pressure.  So far the Malaysian shuttler doesn’t seem bothered as he easily brushed aside local hopeful Tommy Sugiarto 21-16, 21-8.  Indonesia’s top player and local hero Taufik Hidayat had a scare in his first round against Daren Liew 30-28, 21-23, 21-12.  Hidayat will have a greater test in his next match against Bao Chunlai.  One of the few surprises of the day was Boonsak Ponsana’s withdrawal for unknown reasons.

China Smoothly Through
China’s womens shuttlers had mixed fortunes on day 1 with top seeded Wang Shixian moving smoothly passed Ai Goto 21-9, 21-17 while her compatriot Wang Xin fell in three games to Tai Tzu Ying 15-21, 21-15, 21-19.  Korea’s fifth seeded Bae Youn Joo fell to Juliane Schenk 15-21, 22-20, 21-14 while the remaining seeds went through with only a few serious challenges.

Mogensen and Boe Return After Singapore Withdrawal
After pulling out in Singapore Denmark’s Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen are hoping to erase that memory here in Indonesia and are off to a good start.  They ousted their Japanese opponents Hirokatsu Hashimoto and Noriyasu Hirata in two games 21-11, 22-20.  While not an upset on paper the crowd was no doubt disappointed to see former Indonesian hero Tony Gunawan and his current American partner Howard Bach lose to Germany’s Johannes Schoettler and Ingo Kindervater 22-20, 21-15.

Womens Doubles Maintain Status Quo
The only upset in the womens doubles came in the loss of Japan’s Maeda Miyuki and Suetsuna Satoko.  The Japanese pair fell to Korea’s Kim Ha Na and Jung Kyung Eun with little resistance 21-13, 21-12.  China’s top seeds Wang and Yu made short work of their first round opponents Dewi and Gozali 21-11, 21-8.

Finally in the mixed doubles we’re seeing similar unsurprising results as all of the seeded pairs are through with limited challenges.  Only seconds seeds Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam were stretched to three games against Germany’s Fuchs and Michele.

China has ensured itself one title in the mens singles, but even that had it’s share of drama.

Doubles Delight For China

Lin Dan pulled out of the men’s singles final to allow Chen Jin to claim the title but the questions over the withdrawal be asked all the way until next week’s Indonesia Premier series event. Wang Xin did take to the court in her final against the 6th seeded Tine Baun and defeated the European champion in two tight games to clinch China’s first title of the day, winning 21-19, 21-17.

Two More Titles In Doubles

Cai and Fu proved to be too strong for the unseeded Chandra and Gunawan as the 4th seeded claimed the men’s doubles title, winning 21-17, 21-13. Tian and Zhao ensured China’s fourth title of the week in the women’s doubles, defeating the 6th seeded Ha and Kim in two games, 21-13, 21-16. The mixed doubles title went to the Indonesia pair of Ahmad and Natsir after their victory over Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei in two tight games, with the 4th seeds winning 21-14, 27-25.

Finals Results:

The 17th meeting between Peter Gade and Lin Dan went the way of the Chinese 2nd seed, for the 14th time in their long standing rivalry. Peter Gade will take positives from the match after taking the opening game 22-20.

All-Chinese Final

Lin Dan’s response to losing the opening game to Peter Gade was everything you’d expect from the current Olympic champion as he levelled the match at 1-1 before completing his comeback in a 75-minute match, winning 20-22, 21-17, 21-15. His opponent in tomorrow’s final is the current world champion Chen Jin, who came into this week unseeded but has been in excellent form especially in his 21-17, 21-11 victory over his Chinese team mate Wang Zhengming.

Baun Stuns Wang

The week of shocks in the women’s singles continued as 6th seeded Tine Baun knocked out the top seeded Wang Shixian in convincing fashion to book her place in the final, winning 21-15, 21-16. The chance of an all-European final however, was not to be as Yao Jie lost out to the 3rd seeded Wang Xin in a one sided match that the Chinese woman won 21-13, 21-11.

Cai and Fu Progress

The last match of the day seen Cai and Fu even their head-to-head with Lee and Jung at 7-7 with their two game victory over the Korean pair, winning 21-16, 23-21.However another all-Chinese final was not on the cards as the unseeded Chandra and Gunawan stunned the 7th seeded Chai and Guo in the second semi final to progress to the final after their three-game, 72-minute victory that the Indonesian’s took 21-19, 24-26, 21-19.

Japanese Crash Out

The possibility of the top two Japanese seeds meeting in the final loomed large, but it was a nightmare scenario that took place for the duos. Fujii and Kakiiwa lost to the 6th seeded Ha and Kim in two games whilst later in the day Naito and Matsuo lost out to the 5th seeded Tian and Zhao in the second semi final in two games also to ensure a China – Korea final.

Zhao and Zhang Fall

The top seeded Zhao and Zhang were widely expected to win this week with the poor performances of the other seeds, but they lost out to the last remaining seed in the draw in Ahmad and Natsir in just two games, losing 21-23, 16-21. There was a guaranteed unseeded pair in the final from the second semi final, with Robertson and Wallwork taking on Chen and Cheng. It was the Chinese Taipei pairing that progressed into the final, defeating the English pair 21-12, 21-15.

Semi Final Results:

Wang Shows Axelsen The Door

The Chinese domination of recent years continued in Singapore this week, with chance to take all five titles this week looming large.

Lin Dan and Gade meet for 17th time

The top two seeds safely progressed into the last 4, with Lin Dan progressing by the narrowest of margins against Simon Santoso of Indonesia. The match latest one hour with the 2nd seed winning the deciding game 22-20, with Santoso saving five match points to reach 20-20. Peter Gade had less of a problem reaching the last 4, his 21-15, 21-15 victory over Du Pengyu is his third victory in two games this week as the Dane rolls back the years once again. The other semi final is an all-Chinese affair, with world champion Chen Jin defeating Lee Hyun Il in convincing fashion and takes on Wang Zhengming who defeated the second Danish player left in the event, 17-year old Viktor Axelsen in two games.

Dutch Delight For Yao Jie

The big surprise in the women’s singles is Yao Jie’s victory over the 2nd seeded Wang Yihan. The three game match took exactly an hour with the Dutch world number 18 taking the match 21-17, 16-21, 21-15. Her victory sets up another Chinese clash, this time with 3rd seeded Wang Xin who came through her quarter final with Gu Juan in straight forward fashion. The other semi final features the top seeded Wang Shixian, who needed 83 minutes to take her revenge on Juliane Schenk after the German defeated her in the Sudirman last month. Schenk had three chances to win the match in the deciding game at 20-17 only for the top seeded Chinese woman to string five points together to complete her unlikely and unbelievable victory. Her opponent in the semi final is Denmark’s Tine Baun, seeded 6 this week and had her own marathon match today against Cheng Shao Chieh before winning the match 22-24, 21-17, 21-13 to reach the semi final.

Top Two Meet In Semis

The long standing rivalry between Lee and Jung of Korea and Cai and Fu of China renews itself for a 14th time tomorrow, with both pairs progressing to the last 4 without dropping a game in either quarter final match or any match this week. The 2nd seeded Korean’s hold a 7-6 head to head advantage of the Chinese pair and have won their previous three encounters. The other semi final sees the unseeded Indonesian’s of Chandra and Gunawan take on the 7th seeded Chai and Guo of China, who ended the run of German’s Kindervater and Schoettler in their 21-15, 21-10 victory.

Top Seeds Tumble

Maeda and Suetsuna crashed out at the quarter final stage after being defeated by the 5th seeded Tian and Zhao of China in two games, there was success for Japan even with the top seeds loss as 4th seeded Naito and Matsuo cruised into the last 4 to face the Chinese pair who defeated their team mates. The other semi final has Japanese interest too in the 2nd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa, who take on the 6th seeded Ha and Kim of Korea, who defeated 3rd seeded Jauhari and Polii in three games to progress into the semi finals.

Third Time Lucky

The 2nd seeded Thai pair finally came undone against a British pair in the mixed doubles, with Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam defeating two British pairs to reach the last 8 but were defeated in two games by Robertson and Wallwork, who set up a semi final clash with the unseeded Chinese Taipei pairing of Chen and Cheng. The other semi final sees the top seeded Zhang and Zhao through by the narrowest of margins in an all-Chinese quarter final against He and Yu after saving six match points at 20-14 down to go on a run of eight points to clinch the deciding game 22-20. They take on 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir who ended the run of Lee and Ha in the quarter final stage in two games to reach the semi final.

Quarter Final Results:

Axelsen Playing Wang
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohEWm_Bj3M4[/youtube]

Photo Courtesy of http://www.renelagerwaard.nl

17-year old Viktor Axelsen has been touted as the future of Danish badminton, from his junior world championship success last summer to his first victory on the European circuit in Cyprus in October 2010. Today, he arrived on the world stage with his 23-21, 21-15 victory over the 7th seeded Bao Chunlai of China.

With just two months before the world championships in London, the men’s singles is seeing a new generation come through to challenge the old guard. Wang Zhengming defeated top seeded Taufik Hidayat in three games to set up a quarter final against Viktor Axelsen whilst in the other quarter final in the top half, Chen Jin will take on Lee Hyun Il after both players defeated their seeded opponent in the second round, meaning no seed is left in the top half of the draw. In fact, just two seeds remain with 2nd seeded Lin Dan defeating Jan O Jorgensen in two games and 4th seeded Peter Gade defeating Rajiv Ouseph of England to book their places in the last 8.

Wang Lin’s retirement during her second round match against top seeded Wang Shixian could be a real scare after coming back from serious injury, the current world champion was 12-8 down in the opening game when she chose to pull out of the match. Wang Shixian will take on Juliane Schenk in the last 8. Saina Nehwal’s run this week ends even more abruptly than last week, with a three game defeat to Cheng Shao Chieh of Chinese Taipei who takes on the 6th seeded Tine Baun in the quarter finals. Wang Yihan is safely into the last 8 with two victories and takes on Yao Jie in the quarter finals after the Dutch woman defeated the 5th seeded Bae Youn Joo of Korea in two tight games.

There was another two seeded casualties in the men’s doubles, with Kido and Setiawan losing out to Endo and Hayakawa of Japan in two games to set up a quarter final against Lee and Jung of Korea, who have been impressive in their opening two matches. The second seed to crash out is the 8th seeded Ahsan and Septano, who lost out to Chinese qualifiers Shen and Hong to set up an all-Chinese quarter final against Cai and Fu. Germany’s pairing of Kindervater and Schoettler have been impressive this week and defeated the Danish pairing of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen to reach the last 8 this week and a chance to play the 7th seeded Chinese pairing of Chai and Guo.

All 7 seeds that started the week remain in the women’s doubles draw, with Indonesia’s Marissa and Melati making up the field. The top half of the draw has been fairly straight forward for the four pairs, with all winning in two games today. The bottom half has been much more competitive, with 6th seeded Ha and Kim needing three games to progress to their quarter final match against Jauhari and Polii. The 4th quarter final between Vislova and Sorokina and Fujii and Kakiiwa could be a battle of fitness, with both being involved in a lengthy and closely fought three game match to reach the last 8.

Asia dominates the mixed doubles field, with only Robertson and Wallwork stopping a complete monopoly on proceedings. The super-competitive top half has two fantastic quarter final matches, with top seeded Zhao and Zhang taking on their team-mates He and Yu in an all-Chinese match. Whilst the second quarter final sees the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir take on the unseeded pairing of Lee and Ha, playing just their second event together. The Korean pair defeated the 7th seeded Mateusiak and Zieba to reach the last 8. The English pairing of Robertson and Wallwork will be the third British pairing to take on the 2nd seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam after the Thai pair defeated Adcock and Bankier in round 1, then Blair and White in round 2. Robertson and Wallwork will hope it is third time lucky for them.

Thursday’s Results:

Denmark’s best chance of a title ended before play even started today, with Boe and Mogensen’s withdrawal and it went from bad to worse in the doubles for the Danes.

Peter Gade was one Danish highlight, with a two game victory against Tommy Sugiarto and he has been joined in the last 16 by another two Danes. Jan O Jorgensen defeated Kenichi Tago in two games to set up a second round match against Lin Dan, who also progressed comfortably into round 2. Viktor Axelsen reversed the result from last week’s Thailand Open and defeated Wong Choong Hann in two tight games to reach the second round, where he takes on the 7th seeded Bao Chunlai. Taufik Hidayat survived an early scare to reach the second round where he takes on Wang Zhengming of China, whilst world champion Chen Jin also survived a scare in the opening round before progressing to take on the 8th seed Park Sung Hwan.

The women’s singles continues to entertain in the early rounds, with Saina Nehwal against coming through against the 2009 world champion Lu Lan in three games to reach round 2. The second round sees an intriguing all-Chinese match between top seeded Wang Shixian and Wang Lin, the current world champion. The other two Chinese seeds progressed safely into the second round from their half of the draw, whilst Tine Baun is the main European threat in the draw and faces Sayaka Sato of Japan in her second round match.

The big shock in the mens doubles is the defeat of 3rd seeded Ko and Yoo to unseeded German pairing Kindervater and Schoettler in three games, further opening up the top half of the draw. There were more surprises as the 5th seeded Lee and Fang lost out to Indonesia’s Chandra and Gunawan, to leave the 7th seeded Chai and Guo as the lone seeds remaining in the top half of the draw. The bottom half was more straightforward for the seeds, with all 4 coming through their match in two games to reach the last 16.

The new Chinese pairing of Ma and Pan lasted just 76 minutes this week, before falling to the top seeded Maeda and Suetsuna. All England semi finalists Ropke and Damkjaer Kruse progressed in the tightest of matches, winning 23-21 in the deciding game to reach the last 16 and a match with the Chinese pairing of Tian and Zhao. There are 4 Japanese pairs into the last 16, with one all-Japanese match set for the second round as 2nd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa take on the unseeded Misaki and Takahashi for a place in the last 8.

Denmark’s strength in the mixed doubles discipline was dealt a huge blow with all three pairings crashing out in the opening round. 5th seeded and 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl lost out to Sato and Matsuo of Japan in two games, whilst the 3rd seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen lost tamely to Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei 21-15, 21-15 and the third pairing of Pieler Colding and Houmann faired the best of the three, but still lost out to Japanese pairing of Ikeda and Shiota. Top seeded Zhao and Zhang survived a three game match to progress into the last 16 and are joined in the top half of the draw by two other Chinese pairs of Xu and Ma as well as He and Yu.

Wednesday’s Results:

Taufik Tops Draw in Singapore

The second of three events in June takes the world’s best to Singapore, with only Lee Chong Wei missing from the men’s singles field. China have all of their big names here this week ahead of next week’s Premier Series event in Indonesia too.

Taufik Hidayat is the top seed this week with Lee Chong Wei’s absence and could face a real battle to progress this week with three Chinese players in his half of the draw. Wang Zhengming likely waits in the second round with Bao Chunlai and Chen Long looming should the Indonesian progress into the weekend. Viktor Axelsen gets a second shot at Wong Choong Hann inside of a week and world champion Chen Jin is unseeded this week and is also in the top half of the draw. Lin Dan is the 2nd seed this week and starts his campaign aganinst Shon Wan Ho before likely taking on the winner of Jan O Jorgensen and Kenichi Tago. Peter Gade starts his campaign this week against Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia before likely quarter final match against Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand.

Saina Nehwal begins her campaign this week against Lu Lan, again. The 4th seeded Indian also has Tine Baun in her half of the draw, but the top seed is China’s Wang Shixian who could face Wang Lin in an all-Chinese 2nd round match. Wang Yihan and Wang Xin are the big threats from the bottom half of the draw, but there is unseeded threats in the way of Ai Goto, Eriko Hirose, Yao Jie and Pi Hongyan.

The big shock in the men’s doubles is the pre-event withdrawal of top seeded Danish pair Boe and Mogensen, with the pair in a poor run of form since their performance at the Sudirman Cup. The main beneficiaries are the 3rd seeded Ko and Yoo whose run in the top half of the draw has become all the more easier. The bottom half of the draw is headlined by Lee and Jung, seeded 2 and the 4th seeded Cai and Fu of China, who are set to meet at the semi final stages this week. The match to look out for tomorrow is the 6th seeded Kido and Setiawan taking on the unseeded Bach and Gunawan in the opening round.

With no Wang and Yu this week, the Japanese pair of Maeda and Suetsuna are top seeds this week. However they face a new Chinese partnership in Ma and Pan who are both accomplished players within the Chinese ranks and are playing their first event together. Tian and Zhao, last weeks winners in Thailand are also in the top half of the draw. The 2nd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa have less competitive half of the draw, with only Jauhari and Polii, Ha and Kim and Vislova and Sorokina as main threats to the Japanese pair.

The top half of the mixed doubles is loaded with potential winners, from the top seeded Zhang and Zhao to 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir and countless unseeded pairings capable of putting a good run this week together. Hashimoto and Fujii, He and Yu, Xu and Ma, Lee and Ha, Widianto and Marissa as well as Nikolaenko and Sorokina are all in the top half of the draw. The bottom half as a distinct European feel to it, from the 3rd seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen as well as the 5th seeded Laybourn and Rytter Juhl of Denmark. There are three British pairs in Robertson and Wallwork, Adcock and Bankier as well as German Open winners White and Blair but there is still a Chinese threat in the 6th seeded Jiaming and Tian.

The Draws:

Lee Hyun Il Ousts Chen Jin

The prospects of an all-Chinese final in the men’s singles loomed large but one man has singled handedly ended any thoughts of that happening this week and will take on his 4th Chinese player of the week in the final.

Lee Hyun Il has been on court for just short of five hours in his five matches, all of which have gone the full distance of three games. Wen Kai was his first Chinese casualty, then Wang Zhengming and today was his greatest result in his 79-minute victory over the 4th seeded Chen Jin by the narrowest of margins, winning 22-20 in the deciding game and saving a match point in the process. His opponent in tomorrow’s final has had a completely different route to the final. Spending just four hours on court and without dropping a game to date, Chen Long is in a superb vain of form but there could be one last great result from Lee Hyun Il.

The all-Chinese final has happened in the women’s singles, as the first major match in what is likely to be a year-long battle for an Olympic spot. 2nd seeded Jiang Yanjiao takes on 7th seeded Li Xuerui for the title and the chance to take an early step towards London 2012 along the way. Both players have been pushed to reach the final and this will be their first match against one another in the final.

Lee and Jung’s passage into the final was never in doubt this week, no dropping games along the way in what was supposed to set up an all-Korean final. That all changed with Ko and Yoo’s defeat to 4th seeded Chandra and Gunawan in two games but this result could favour the top seeded Koreans, who hold a 3-0 record against their Indonesian opponents tomorrow whilst their record against Ko and Yoo is 3-2, with the last victory going against Lee and Jung.

Even without Wang and Yu in the field, China have managed to get an all-Chinese women’s doubles final. Tian and Zhao are used to the latter stages of these types of events but recently joined forces in a remix of the doubles pairings ahead of London. Another new pair awaits in the final in Cheng and Yixin, as the 7th seeds ended the run of Malaysia’s Woon and Hoo in straight games to reach the final.

The mixed doubles final features an Indonesian pair and a pair from Chinese Taipei in one of the most unlikely final at the start of the week. 5th seeded Lee and Chien defeated the dangerous pairing of Xu and Ma in three tight games in 59 minutes, whilst the 8th seeded Widianto and Marissa took 62 minutes to defeat the unseeded pairing of Shin and Kim in three tight games.

Semi Final Results:

© Copyright Badminton Life Inc 2011

Head Office Edmonton, Canada

"Badminton Life" is a Trademark of Badminton Life Inc