20 matches were scheduled for Friday, but only 19 took place as the all-Chinese match between the top seeded Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang and the 6th seeded Zhao Yunlei and Cheng Shu resulted in a wakover victory for the top seeds. Another asterisk will put next to another victory between two Chinese pairs.
Lee Chong Wei successfully reached the last 4 with a two game victory over Hu Yun and takes on Wong Wing Ki in the first of the semi finals. Sony Dwi Kuncoro has been having a renaissance in the past few months and continues his excellent form with a victory over Takuma Ueda to reach the last 4. His opponent in the semi final will be Du Pengyu of China, with the Indonesian holding a 3-1 advantage in their head to head, defeating the Chinese player in their most recent matchup in China just 2 months ago.
Saina Nehwal was the latest big name casualty in the women’s singles, losing to China’s Li Han in three games as the world number 26 continues her incredible rise up the world rankings. Sung Ji Hyun will be her opponent in the semi finals, with the world number 7 being Korea’s last chance of a singles title in Seoul this year. The second semi final will also be a tightly contested match between te enigmatic Wang Shixian and the future of Japanese badminton, Minatsu Mitani. Mitani has rised to world number 10 and defeated Wang Shixian in the last meeting in China in September but a victory for the 5th seed would edge her back closer towards the top 4 in the world rankings.
Lee and Ko safely progressed into the semi finals as they look for their second title of their new partnership. They take on Koo and Tan in the semi finals, who defeated the Korean pair on their Super Series debut in Denmark last year. Since then Lee and Ko have avenged that defeat and broke into the top 10 of the world rankings. Top seeded Boe and Mogensen take on the 7th seeded Hong and Shen in the second semi final, with the Danes holding a 2-1 head to head lead against the Chinese pair but their only victory came at this event 12 months ago.
Jung and Kim ended any possibility of an all-Chinese semi final with a victory over Bao and Tian to set up a semi final against Wang and Yu. It will the first time since their Olympic farce that these two pairs will be against one another. Ma and Tang ensure there is still a possibility of an all-Chinese final in the event, but they will take on the 2nd seeded Danish pair of Pedersen and Rytter Juhl in their semi final but the Chinese pair hold the advantage in their head to head, winning their only matchup to date at the French Open last year.
Ma Jin and Christinna Pedersen are the last two players left this week capable of taking two titles and in the mixed doubles they are on separate sides of the draw. Ma and Xu take on the 5th seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in the first semi final with the Chinese pair winning all 4 of their matchups so far. Olympic champions Zhang and Zhao take on the Danish pair of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen with the 6th seeds claiming two victories at the Super Series finals at the end of 2012 to take a 6-4 advantage in their head to head.
Day 3 Results:
Denmark and China will be pleased with the performance of their players, whilst several nations like England and Germany suffered a number of defeats to reduce their chances of a title going into the weekend.
Zwiebler and Schenk Through
Despite all of the poor results for the German squad today, they have two excellent chances of winning the singles titles on home turf. Marc Zwiebler defeated Andre Tedjono in a lengthy two game match and takes on Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus for a place in Sunday’s final. The other semi final sees Wang Zhengming of China take on Eric Pang of Holland, with the 3rd seeded Chinese player impressing in his two game victory over Rajiv Ouseph in his quarter final.
Juliane Schenk progressed to the last 4 with a victory over Petya Nedelcheva in two games and takes on the 4th seeded Li Xuerui, with the German player holding an excellent record against Chinese players this year. Yao Jie defeated Tine Baun in her quarter final match to compound the recent run of poor form for the Dane, the Dutch 7th seed takes on Sayaka Sato in her semi final match after she defeated Linda Zechiri in two games.
China and Denmark Impressive In Doubles
Boe and Mogensen’s walkover allowed them to rest ahead of their semi final against Liu and Qiu of China, seeded 6. The Chinese pair ended the run of Germany’s Kindervater and Schoettler and there was another shock in the bottom half of the draw as Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen crashed out to the unseeded Thai pairing of Issara and Jongjit in two games. The unseeded Thai’s take on Adcock and Ellis, who were the player or pair to win for England today.
The top two seeds in the women’s doubles progressed safely into the last 4 with a pair of easy victories whilst in the mixed doubles, several seeds crashed out such as Robertson and Wallwork to the unseeded pair of Liu and Cheng. He and Yixin ensure a double involvement in the semi finals day with a tight three game victory to set up a semi final against Laybourn and Rytter Juhl, who defeated the 6th seeded and world silver medalist pairing of Adcock and Bankier in a tight two game victory.
Even without their top players, China were well represented on finals day with at least two titles guaranteed ahead of play.
Their first success came in the women’s doubles, as Tian and Zhao convincingly defeated their team-mates and 7th seeded Cheng and Yixin 21-7, 21-8 to claim their first title together since the Malaysian Open in January. In the mixed doubles, the 4th seeded pairing of Lee and Chien proved too strong for Widianto and Marissa of Indonesia as the Chinese Taipei pair won 21-10, 23-21 in just 31 minute to secure the title.
The closest match of the day came in the women’s singles, where 7th seeded Li Xuerui took on the 2nd seeded Jiang Yanjiao. It was the world number 6 Jiang who took the opening game 21-14 but her opponent and world number 16 stormed back to take the second game by the same margin of 21 points to 14. The momentum was clearly with the 7th seed as she stormed into an 11-5 lead and never looked back as she claimed the title and a invaluable victory over her Chinese team mate, winning the third game 21-14 to take the title.
Chen Long made it a triple success for China as he claimed the men’s singles title in impressive fashion, defeated the 3rd seeded Lee Hyun Il 21-8, 21-19 to end the Korean’s run of victories over Chinese opponents this week. Lee and Jung have begun their preparation for the world championships well with a two game victory over Chandra and Gunawan, seeded 4th this week. The Korean pair are looking to claim their first world title after being denied the last three years by top pairings and this is an excellent start to their campaign to be world champions, with 3 wins over seeded opponents this week.
As we enter the quarter-finals stage of the Li Ning China Masters Super Series China has a firm grip on almost every draw in this tournament. In the men’s singles China has 4 of the remaining players. Hardly surprising is the fact that Peter Gade is the only non Asian player left in the tournament except for France’s Pi Hongyan who first played for China. Gade will play Boonsak Ponsana, and if he’s successful there, Chen Jin. For the most part I’m sure that Gade is happy simply to be on the other side of the draw from Lin Dan. The world champion Lin Dan will play Park Sung Hwan in his quarter-final match.
A big surprise in the women’s singles was the upset of Denmark’s top player Tine Rasmussen to the Chinese qualifier Wang Xin in three close games 17-21, 21-16, 21-14. Wang Xin will now play Pi Hongyan as she enters her first ever Super Series quarter-final. Elsewhere in the draw Hong Kong’s Wang Chen had to retire after losing the first set and trailing 5-0 in the second game, no word on what happened.
The men’s doubles is missing a lot of the world’s top pairs, in fact there were 3 byes in the draw which indicates that there were not enough entries to fill the draw. A terrible thing to see, but certainly a great opportunity for some new teams to earn some very valuable experience and world ranking points as the Super Series are worth a great deal. The safe money at this stage is on a finals encounter between Malaysia’s Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah vs China’s Fu Haifeng and Cai Yun.
The women’s doubles features only two non Chinese pairs, but certainly the favourites Cheng Shu and Zhao Yunlei are unlikely to falter before facing the second seeds Ha Jung Eun and Kim Min Jung. The mixed nationality pairing of Charmaine Reid and Nicole Grether were unable to maintain their momentum as they fell to the second seeds in two quick games. Finally the mixed doubles is almost certainly a lock for China with 7 out of 8 remaining pairs.
After a week of hard work the finals are here and China looks primed for domination. With only one event out of their reach, China has 3 guaranteed golds and a chance at the fourth. Mens singles, womens singles, and womens doubles are all in the bag now for China, and Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng will certainly do their best to capture a fourth for the day, and their second for their careers.