The first Super Series after the World Championships takes us to the homeland of 4 gold medallists in India last month. Lin Dan has improved his ranking after his world title but is still ranked just 4th for the event that starts on September 15.
Lin Dan begins his campaign against Rajiv Ouseph of England, who was part of the English team that pulled out of the World Championships. Lee Chong Wei remains top seed; he faces Christian Lind Thomsen of Denmark in Round 1. World silver medalist Chen Jin starts his campaign against Hong Ji Hoon of Korea.
Bao Chunlai will hope to put his nightmare in the World Championships behind him as he plays Alistair Casey of Scotland in Round 1 in front of a home crowd. The qualifying for the event is a Chinese-only affair, with 10 players hoping to make one of the 4 spots available to make the main draw.
Notably absent from the draw this week is the young rising star from Denmark, Jan O Jorgensen, after his strong performance at the recent World Championships. No word on why Jorgensen is not competing in this event.
Zhou Mi retains her number 1 seeding for the women’s singles and will play Jang Soo Young of Korea in the first round. World Champion Lu Lan plays Zhu Lin in an all-Chinese match in the opening round.
The Mens Doubles will be an event to watch as Lee and Jung are ranked 1 for the event, with Cai and Fu on the other side of the draw ranked 2. Another spectacular match would almost be guaranteed in front of a partisan Chinese support.
The Mixed Doubles is almost an all-Chinese draw with the obvious exceptions of Lee and Lee who are seeded 1 for the event. Anastasia Russkikh also appears in the draw, partnering Gan Teik Chai of Malaysia.
The tournament begins on September 15.
After some strong results and his notable win over Lee Chong Wei recently, Vietnam’s Tien Minh Nguyen has added another achievement to make his country proud by winning the SCG Thailand Grand Prix Gold. Nguyen made his way through the draw with relative ease, winning all of his matches without dropping a single game. In the final he defeated the local favourite Boonsak Ponsana with little resistance 21-16, 21-13. Certainly a result to boost his confidence for the World Championships coming next month where he is set for a rematch against Lee Chong Wei.
In the women’s singles China’s young upstarts did them proud with Liu Jian and Wang Rong both making it to the finals after going through the qualifying rounds. In the end it was Liu Jian who took the top prize after defeating her teammate 21-16, 21-18. I’m sure it’s highly likely that we’ll be hearing a lot more from these girls.
In the men’s doubles there was an all Malaysian final with the top seeded veterans Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah facing off against their younger teammates Chan Peng Soon and Lim Khim Wah. In spite of their experience, the top seeds were not able to take the title this day with the youngsters taking the title in three games 20-22, 21-14, 21-11.
As is usually the case the women’s doubles was an another all China final with Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen defeating their teammates Gao Ling and Wei Lili in three games 22-24, 21-17, 21-15. Finally in the mixed doubles was Thailand’s turn to take the prize with two pairs in the final. In the end it was Songphon Anugritayawon and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul winning over their teammates Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam 11-21, 21-17, 21-14.
Tuesday sees the beginning of the SCG Thailand Grand Prix qualifiers, with the field laden with Asian players as to be expected.
Local stars Boonsak Ponsana and Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk are the big attractions in the men’s singles, ranked 3 and 5 respectively. Choong Hann Wong is the top seed for the event, with Tien Minh Nguyen second seed. Nguyen is coming two excellent performances against Peter Gade and beating Lee Chong Wei in Singapore.
Zhou Mi leads the women’s seeds with countrywomen Wang Chen taking the second seed, with Porntip Buranaprasertsuk seeded 6 being the locals main hope for the ladies title.
Gao Ling makes another appearance in a ladies doubles draw, although her previous entry was in the US Open, which she and her partner Wei Yili pulled out of. Both the Ladies and Mixed doubles are expected to be local success with both top seeds coming from Thailand.
Only one European is in any of the five events, Anu Nieminen of Finland is seeded 5 in the Women’s Singles. Could she take the title out of Asia?
Qualifying begins on Tuesday at 2pm local time.
Monday sees the beginning of the US Open in California with several high profile players making the trip. Last years winner Andrew Dabeka has returned to defend his title and is ranked seventh in the Mens Singles.
Chinese great Gao Ling is playing Women’s Doubles this week and is seeded 2 with her partner Wei Lili. Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan are also back to retain their Men’s Doubles title and are ranked 7th.
However, the main attraction is in the Men’s Singles with top seed Taufik Hidayat. The Indonesian is in outstanding form with a win in India and making the final of the Indonesian Super Series just 3 weeks ago. Only second seed Dicky Palyama is seeded within the World’s top 20, but Palyama has unfortunately withdrawn from the tournament.
The Women’s Singles seeds are dominated by North Americans, with Anna Rice (World Ranked 49), Charmaine Reid (World Ranked 51), and three American’s also seeded for the event.
The second and third seed from the Women’s Singles will also team up this week in the Women’s Doubles with Charmaine Reid and Nicole Grether taking the top seed in the event.
Qualifying begins on Monday, with the Main draw starting on Tuesday.