Axelsen Hoping To Go One Further

Around this time last year the badminton world sat in awe of the young Viktor Axelsen after he brushed aside on opponent after another on his way to his first ever senior international final.  Now the Dane is back in familiar territory as he has found himself once again in the final of the Swedish International, and this time with a much less formidable opponent, an opponent who Axelsen easily disposed of earlier this fall.  The last time Pablo Abian played Viktor he lost 21-10, 21-7.  Hopefully for the crowd this time around will be a much closer match.  Abian has played well this week with a big win over the tall Dutch shuttler Eric Pang in three exceedingly close games 21-19, 19-21, 21-18.  Axelsen’s semi-final was less hostile as he defeated Kestutis Navickas 21-13, 21-14.

The women’s final should hold much less drama and excitement as both finalists hail from Japan.  Nevertheless respect is owed to both players who were required to overcome formidable opponents on their way to this stage.  Qualifier Mayu Sekiya defeated the top seed Judith Meulendijks in the second round, as well as third seed Susan Egelstaff to earn her finals spot.  Her compatriot Kaori Imebeppu defeated the female phenom Carolina Marin in her semi-final match 19-21, 21-16, 21-8 to earn her final spot.

In the mens doubles it appears that Denmark has much talent ready and waiting to fill the places of their top pairs should they retire anytime soon.  With Axelsen shining in the mens singles it looks like yet another young Dane is showing promise as Rasmus Fladberg and his partner Kim Astrup Sorensen have made their way into the finals after defeating Andi Hartono Tandaputra and Gert Kunka 21-18, 21-16.  On a side note Fladberg is the son of previous doubles world champion Steen Fladberg.  They will now face off against Lukasz Moren and Wojciech Szkudlarczyk who made their way through by defeating another Danish pair, Mats Bue and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen 21-15, 11-21, 22-20.

In the womens doubles we have the only top seed to survive through to finals day as Japans Rie Eto and Yu Wakita have gone on relatively unchallenged thus far.  They won relatively comfortably against Maria Helsbol and Anne Skelbaek 21-11, 21-13 in their semi-final match.  They will now place another Danish pair Line Damkjaer Kruse and Maria Ropke who defeated second seeds Heather Olver and Mariana Agathangelou due to a withdrawal part way through the match.

Heather Olver does however have an opportunity to make up for her disappointment in the doubles as she has found herself in the mixed final alongside partner Robin Middleton.  Olver and Middleton defeated Imam Sodikin Irawan and Cecilia Bjuner in three games 15-21, 21-12, 21-10.  Their opponents will be the Dutch pair Dave Khodabux and Samantha Barning.  Khodabux and Barning defeated Ireland’s Sam and Chloe Magee 21-16, 21-18.

Swedish International 2011 Draws

Swedish International 2011

After a quiet last few weeks the EBU circuit is back in action again this week in Stockholm for the Swedish International 2011.  In both the men’s and women’s singles events the Dutch have taken the top spots with Eric Pang and Judith Meulendijks sitting atop their respective draws.

Pang starts off his men’s singles campaign with a tough first round encounter against Ukrainian Dmytro Zavadsky who is known to be a scrappy contender.  Seeded second here is Lithuanian Kestutis Navickas who will likely face off against Denmark’s Peter Mikkelsen in the second round.  Mikkelsen surprisingly had to qualify, but was promoted to the main draw.  Other notables in the men’s draw include Pablo Abian of Spain, Ville Lang of Finland and of course all eyes will be on the young Danish world junior champion, Viktor Axelsen.  This time last year Axelsen gained attention by making it to the finals and upsetting numerous strong opponents on his way.

Meulendijks first major challenge will likely come in the quarter-finals against Denmark’s Karina Jorgensen who is fifth seeded.  Their half of the draw also holds Scotland’s Susan Egelstaff who appears to be a strong favourite to come through to the semi-finals stage.  The second seed Larisa Griga has an especially difficult starting match as she faces off against Spanish phenom Carolina Marin, a match which from the looks of things should be the toughest match on that half of the draw.

The men’s doubles draw lacks the usual punch expected in an EBU event with few big names present.  The top seeds are France’s Baptiste Careme and Sylvain Grosjean, while the second seeds are Russia’s Vitalij Durkin and Alexander Nikolaenko.  Of note is the large contingent of French players in the doubles draw as four pairs are present.

Japan look to be the favourites in the womens doubles with Rie Eto and Yu Wakita in the top seeded position, however England’s Heather Olver and Marian Agathangelou will be trying to upset the Japanese pair.  Japan also has another couple of pairs lurking unseeded in the draws, as does Denmark, so don’t be surprised to see a couple of upsets in the earlier rounds.

Finally in the mixed doubles it’s the Ukrainian pair of Valerly Atrashchenkov and Elena Prus taking the top spot while Baptiste Careme and Laura Choinet are second seeds.  England’s Robin Middleton and Heather Olver are unseeded, and no doubt a threat regardless of their lack of seeding.  Ireland’s Sam and Chloe Magee are also strong threats in the fourth seed position.

For full draws and ongoing results be sure to check back here again tomorrow, and also have a look at the draw page below:

Swedish International 2011 Draws

Gade Feeling Fit Again

The seeded players were all in fine form today, with only the 3rd seeded Chandra and Gunawan losing out in the men’s doubles to unseeded Adcock and Ellis of England. Peter Gade’s back injury was the big talking point of the day as to whether he would be able to play and defeat Carl Baxter.

Before Gade’s game, several seeds had already booked their place in the last 16. Rajiv Ouseph was first through with a comfortable victory over Kasper Ipsen, he was followed late in the morning by Joachim Persson, who came back from a game down to defeat Eric Pang. Gade’s return in the first of the evening matches was a stunning performance from the top seed, winning 21-11, 21-6 to book his place safely into round 2. He was joined later that hour by Jan O Jorgensen, who came through against Przemyslaw Wacha in three games. Viktor Axelsen however fell at the first hurdle this week, defeated handsomely by Du Pengyu 21-11, 21-11.

The women’s singles provided little shocks either, with all 8 seeds progressing safely. All except one, Pi Hongyan was forced into a third game by Tai Tzu Ying before coming through and progressing into round 2. The 3rd seed plays the Commonwealth bronze medals Elizabeth Cann in her second round match. Last week’s finalist Liu Xin also progressed into round 2 and will be a tough test for the 5th seeded Juliane Schenk in the second round.

The only seed to fall was the 3rd seeded Chandra and Gunawan, the only other seed to be in any danger in the opening round was the 5th seeded Conrad-Pedersen and Rasmussen who were taking to three games by their Malaysian opponents.  The mixed doubles was a similar affair, with the top seeded Gunawan and Marissa being taken to three games by the Russian pairing of Durkin and Vislova. Every other seed in the mixed doubles progressed to the last 16 without any of the other 7 seeds dropping more than 26 points on route to Thursday’s second round.

Day 1 Results

No less than four finals will have Japanese interest, with one all-Japanese final guaranteeing at least one success for Japan. Ajay Jayaram booked his place in the men’s singles final with a  two victory over the 14th seed, also from India, Anand Pawar. He will play the 5th seeded Sho Sasaki of Japan in the final, after ending the chances of local success with a two game victory over Eric Pang.

The chances of all 5 finals having Japanese interest ended when Ai Goto was defeated by top seed Yao Jie in two games to give the local crowd some home-grown interest in tomorrow’s final. Top seeded Yao takes on the 2nd seeded Juliane Schenk after defeating Olga Konon in three games to book her place in the final.

The men’s doubles will be an all-Japanese final, top seeded Hashimoto and Hirata defeated Kindervater and Schottler to book their place in the final. The unseeded pair of Hirobe and Kazuno defeated their 3rd seeded countrymen Sato and Kawamae in three games to set up tomorrow’s all-Japanese affair.

The top two seeds meet in the women’s doubles final, as Fujii and Kakiiwa ended the Swedish pair of Lennartsson and Wengberg’s excellent run this week with a two game victory for the top seeded Japanese pair. Second seeds Vislova and Sorokina averted another all-Japanese final with a two game victory over the 3rd seeds Matsuo and Naito to book their place in tomorrow’s final.

The mixed doubles final is another Russia – Japan affair, with the 3rd seeded Ikeda and Shiota defeating their 6th seeded countrymen of Hayakawa and Matsuo in an 81 minute thriller, after the 3rd seeds lost the opening game 30-29. They play the 4th seeded Sorokina and Nikolaenko in tomorrow’s final after they ended the run of local pairing of Bosch and Jonathans in two games to set up the second Russia v Japan final.

Day 4 Results

Picture Provided by Rene Lagerwaard

Pang Defeats Axelsen

Whilst Viktor Axelsen’s quest for title number 2 ended at the hands of Eric Pang, there was delight for India as they guaranteed themselves a place in the men’s singles final. Ajay Jayaram continued his excellent run whilst Anand Pawar defeated Ireland’s Scott Evans in just over an hour to book his place in the all-Indian semi final. Chetan Anand could not make it 3 Indians in the last 4, as he lost out to Sho Sasaki of Japan.

The big local hope is in the women’s singles, as Yao Jie made it through to the last 4 with a three-game victory over Ukraine’s Larisa Griga. She takes on Ai Goto of Japan, who defeated Pai Hsiao Ma in two games. The second semi final is an all-German affair with 2nd seed Juliane Schenk taking on Olga Konon after both came through comfortably in two games in their quarter finals.

The shock in the men’s doubles was the defeat of 6th seeded Endo and Hayakawa to unseeded German pairing of Schottler and Kindervater, losing 24-22 in the third game. The other seeded Japanese pairs had little trouble, with both the top seeded Hashimoto and Hirata as well as Sato and Kawamae making it through to set up a semi final clash against each other.

Wengberg and Lennartsson ended the 4th seeded Jonathans and Van Dooremalen’s dreams of a home victory to join the top 3 seeds in the semi finals of the women’s doubles. Both top seeds Fujii and Kakiiwa as well as 2nd seeded Vislova and Sorokina won in two games, with Matsuo and Naito coming through in three games to book their place in the last 4.

Japan will definitely have a finalist in the mixed doubles, with 3rd seeded Ikeda and Shiota defeating Vislova and Durkin in their quarter final and in the all-Japanese quarter final, the 6th seeded Hayakawa and Matsuo progressed through. The top half of the draw has local interest in Bosch and Jonathans, they take on the 4th seeded Nikolaenko and Sorokina of Russia in the semi final.

Day 3 Results

Picture Provided by Rene Lagerwaard

Pang Stands In Axelsen's Way

More seeds toppled as the 16 seeds that started the men’s singles has become just 5, with three unseeded players putting their names into the equation. Russia’s Ivan Sozonov defeated the last Danish seed in the draw, Christian Lind Thomsen in three games to leave Viktor Axelsen as the last Dane in the draw. His stunning 21-10, 21-7 win over the 15th seeded Pablo Abian is a real statement of intent for this week, he takes on 6th seeded Eric Pang in the last 8. Ajay Jayaram is the last of the unseeded trio, defeating 13th seeded Kestutis Navickas in two games to set up a match with Sozonov in the quarters.

The women’s singles boasts the same quota of seeds at the last 8 stage. Unseeded Chinese Taipei player Pai Hsiao Ma takes on the 3rd seeded Ai Goto in the quarters whilst the other two unseeded players face of in the 3rd of the quarter finals, as Iceland’s Ragna Ingolfsdottir takes on the newly nationalised Olga Konon of Germany, formerly of Poland. Yao Jie came through a tough test against Karina Jorgensen of Denmark to set up a match with Larisa Griga of Ukraine. The 4th quarter final sees Juliane Schenk take on Anastasia Prokopenko for a place in the last 4.

The men’s doubles got underway today and after two rounds there is a Japanese presence to the final 8, with 4 of the pairs being from Japan. All four pairs could make the last 4 as they all play in different quarter finals. Top seeded Hashimoto and Hirata take on Danes Elbjorn and Skovgaard in the first of tomorrow’s quarter finals.The 5th seeded Endo and Hayakawa take on the experience German pair of Kindervater and Schottler. The third of the seeded Japanese pairs, 3rd seeded Sato and Kawamae have the tough task of taking on the 8th seeded Russians, Durkin and Nikolaenko. The 4th Japanese pair, unseeded Hirobe and Kazuno take on the 2nd seeded Ellis and Mills of England.

The women’s doubles opening round was a brief affair, with all 8 of the matches being won in two games. All 4 of the seeded pairs are through to the last 8, with the top seeds Fujii and Kakiiaw and 3rd seeded Matuso and Naito giving the draw another Japanese vibe to it. The Japanese vibe continues in the mixed doubles, but it is without the top seeded Japanese pair, Hashimoto and Fujii losing out to the Dutch pairing of Bosch and Jonathans, leaving the Russian pair of Nikolaenko and Sorokina as the highest seeds in the top half of the draw, as the 4th seeds. The bottom half of the mixed draw is littered with Japanese pairings. Only the 7th seeded Russian pairing of Vislova and Durkin break into a Japanese monopoly, led by their quarter final opponents, Ikeda and Shiota who are seeded 2 for the event. The final match of the quarters is an all-Japanese affair between the 6th seeded Hayakawa and Matsuo and unseeded pair Hirobe and Matsutomo,

Day 2 Results

Taufik Hidayat Upset By Sho Sasaki

Japan was well represented at their home Super Series, but only the mainstays on the tour have survived into Round 2. 7th seeded Eriko Hirose is the big hope in the women’s singles and is through to Round 2 with a two game win over Cheng Shao Chieh on the opening day.

Kenichi Tago faught back from a game down to ensure his place in the second round, his reward is a match with top seeded Lee Chong Wei who was impressive in his 21-5, 21-9 opening round victory. On the other side of this half of the draw, Lin Dan secured his place in the last 16 with a two game win and will play Hu Yun of Hong Kong is his second round match.

Sho Sasaki was the story of the day for the local crowd; defeating 4th seeded Taufik Hidayat in three tight games to secure his place in the last 16 against Park Sung Hwan. There were wins for Jan O Jorgensen and Tien Minh Nguyen also, but the unlikely story in the draw is Takuma Ueda. The Japanese qualifier defeated Eric Pang to set up a dream last 16 match up with 2nd seeded Peter Gade, who defated Wong Wing Ki in two games today.

Round 2 in the women’s draw is full of intrigue, as the draw has top seeded Wang Yihan likely to play three of her Chinese team-mates on route to the final. Tomorrow sees her play the 2009 World Champion Lu Lan, with the winner to play the winner of Pi Hongyan and Jiang Yanjiao. Wang Shixian is the likely opponent in the last 4 for any of those four ladies.

The bottom half is more simple, with Tine Baun, Wang Xin and Eriko Hirose all winning comfortably. The only casualty is 8th seeded Yao Jie who was defeated in two games by Sung Ji Hyun of Korea, who will now play Japan’s Sayaka Sato in the round of 16.

The men’s doubles has been decimated with a trio of big name upsets in the opening round. 6th seeded Fang and Lee crashed out in a three game loss to Kim and Shin of Korea before Lee and Jung, seeded 7 lost tamely into two games to their Thai opponents, Anugritayawon and Prapakamol. Then the third shock of the day came with 3rd seeded Boe and Mogensen crashing out in three games also to the unseeded Malaysian pair of Chan and Lim. The top half of the draw has just one seed remaining, the top seeded Koo and Tan who progressed safely in two games.

The 2nd seeds Kido and Setiawan pulled out pre-event, as well as 4th seeded Guo and Xu. Leaving just the 5th seeded Cai and Fu and the 8th seeded Chandra and Gunawan in the bottom half of the draw. Both pairs progressed safely to the second round with two game victories.

The expectancy of all the of the 7 seeds that started the week making the second round was not a bold expectation, only the 6th seeded Pan and Tian pulled out pre-event to stop the clean sweep of seeds into the second round. The two Japanese hopes in the draw have a potential clash in the semi final as 2nd seeded Maeda and Suetsuna and 4th seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa both progressed into round 2. 5th seeded Wang and Yu are also a pair to watch, they are into the last 16 with a 21-11, 21-7 victory in round 1.

The mixed doubles almost has a full compliment of seeds remaining, with only the 4th seeds Thai pairing of Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul crashed out in the two games to the unseeded Korean pair of Yoo and Kim. There was little problems for the 2nd and 3rd seeded pairs, who came through their opening round matches against their Japanese opponents. 8th seeded Tao and Tian had to save a match point in their opening round match against Susanto and Rijal, coming through 25-23 in the third game.

Day 1 Results

Germany Goes 5 for 5

There was German interest in the four finals that took place, with the men’s doubles not taking place due to Fuchs and Roth pulling out of their final giving Kindervater and Schottler the title.

The all-German mixed doubles final seen unseeded Michael Fuchs and Brigit Overzier defeat their 4th seeded opponents Johannes Schottler and Sandra Marinello in two games, winning 22-20, 21-19. Sandra Marinello would team up with Birgit Overzier as the second seeds defeated the top seeded Dutch pairing of Lotte Jonathans and Paulien Van Dooremalen in three games to ensure a third title for Germany.

The top seeds in the singles were also German, with Marc Zwiebler defeating Eric Pang of Holland in two games to ensure title number 4 for Germany. The fifth title was the most impressive as top seeded Juliane Schenk defeated the second seeded Elizabeth Cann of England in a 23 minute demolition that the German #1 won 21-7, 21-5.

Finals Results

Pang Hopes To Stop Zwiebler

After 4 rounds of battle so far Marc Zwiebler’s path to the finals in Belgium has been somewhat matter of fact.  Only India’s Anand Pawar has posed much of a threat but even he failed to take a game off of the dangerous left hander.  His most recent victim Eetu Heino did not fair as well, losing quickly 21-7, 21-14 allowing Zwiebler a simple entry to the finals where he will now face Dutch shuttler Eric Pang who disposed of Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov in close two games 21-16, 21-19.

Neither of the womens singles finalists have yet to see much difficulty and have yet to drop a game en route to the finals.  That will change tomorrow when Germany’s Juliane Schenk faces off against England’s Elizabeth Cann.  Schenk defeated Anastasia Prokopenko 21-15, 21-7 while Cann defeated Scottish player Linda Sloan 21-17, 21-10 to seal her spot.  Once again the top two seeds have kept their billing.

The top two seeds would not however make it to the finals in the mens doubles when Koen Ridder and Ruud Bosch fell to Germany’s Ingo Kindervater and Johannes Schöttler 21-15, 12-21, 21-13.  Tomorrow they will be featured in an all German final against their compatriots Michael Fuchs and Oliver Roth who ousted their opponents Liu Yi and Terry Yeo Zhao Jiang 21-12, 21-18.

Once again it will be a first/second seed final in the women’s doubles and yet another Germany vs Holland match up with Lotte Jonathons and Paulien Van Dooremalen facing off against Birgit Overzier and Sandra Marinello.  Both teams found their way into the finals fairly easily with the top seeded Dutch pairing winning their match against Kim Buss and Claudia Vogelgsang 21-10, 21-15 and the German’s defeating Thamar Peters and Josephine Wentholt 21-6, 21-16.

Germany has at least one player in every final, but they are guaranteed a title in the mixed doubles as both pairs remaining are Germany.  Michael Fuchs and Birgit Overzier upset the top seeded Ukrainian pairing of Valerly Atrashchenkov and Elena Prus 21-19, 21-10 while Johannes Schöttler and Sandra Marinello defeated Kieran Merrilees and Kirsty Gilmour 21-12, 21-12.  From the looks of things Germany is likely to take home multiple titles this weekend.

Belgian International 2010 Draws

Marc Zwiebler

The EBU circuit first event of the new season started in Belgium this week, with many of the top seeds still having a hangover period after the World Championships last month. Top seeded Marc Zwiebler has reached the last 8 impressively in the men’s singles, defeating both opponents in games and conceding just 34 points over the two matches. The other seed to survive the opening two rounds is Anand Pawar of India, the 6th seed plays the top seed German in tomorrow’s quarter final.

The other two seeds play in the 4th quarterfinal as 7th seeded Ville Lang of Finland takes on 2nd seeded Eric Pang. Both have progressed to the last 8 without dropping a game, with Lang conceding 51 points and Pang 56 points to date.

The top seed in the women’s singles is also through to the last 8, Juliane Schenk stormed through her opening 2 matches without the loss of a game to set up a quarter final against qualifier Panuga Riou of England. The 2nd seeded Elizabeth Cann is also through to the last 8, as well as Anastasia Prokopenko. The 7th seeded Elena Prus is the 4th and final seed left in the draw, she plays Scotland’s Linda Sloan in tomorrow’s quarterfinals.

All 7 of the seeds that started the event today are safely into the last 8, only Ashmiran and Khakimov of Russia remain as the unseeded pair left in the draw. Top seeded Bosch and Ridder are safely through to face the 5th seeded Chopra and Kona of India. The top two seeds in the women’s doubles are also through to tomorrow’s quarterfinals, but there is local interest from Biesbrouck and Devooght who are through to the last 8.

Four of the eight remaining couples in the mixed doubles are German, leading to two all-German quarterfinals with one on each side of the draw. Top seeded Atrashchenkov and Prus are safely into the last 8 as well as the Scottish pair of Kieran Merrilees and Kirsty Gilmour, both are known for their singles play and this is their first tournament playing together.

Day 1 Results

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