Play began on Monday evening in the Telenor Arena in Karlskrona with a single match with resulted in a win for Sweden’s Magnus Sahlberg. The first full day of action seen just a sole seed crash out of the five events.
Dane Loom Large
The full compliment for the second round was completed today after Sahlberg’s win on Monday evening with four Danes in the draw. The top four seeds begin their campaigns tomorrow, with Peter Gade taking on Ville Lang whilst Jan O Jorgensen takes on Iceland’s Kari Gunnarsson. Hans Kristian Vittinghus is the 3rd seed this week and takes on Dieter Domke of Germany whilst Domke’s teammate, Marc Zwiebler takes on Petr Koukal of the Czech Republic after both Domke and Koukal defeated Scottish opponents in their opening round.
Viktor Axelsen completes the four, with the 7th seeded taking on Eric Pang who defeated France’s Brice Leverdez in one of the tightest games of the day, with the Dutchman taking the deciding game 23-21 after saving two match points.
The men’s doubles is a similar story with three Danish pairs into the last 16. Boe and Mogensen were relentless in their 21-5, 21-4 victory over Charalambidis and Orlis of Greece and take on the Polish pair of Moren and Szkudlarczyk in the 3rd round. The other two Danish pairs play against one another as Bonde and Kristiansen take on the 2nd seeded Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen with a likely match against the 8th seeded Bosch and Ridder awaiting in the quarter finals.
Last week’s Dutch Open runners up De Ruiter and Khodabux take on the 5th seeded Ivanov and Sozonov of Russia in one of the matches of the day whilst another Dutch pairing in the last 16, Arends and Jelle taking on Fuchs and Roth of Germany, seeded 7 this week.
White and Wallwork Out
The only seed to crash out to date is the 8th seeded Wallwork and White in the women’s doubles, defeated by Piek and Tabelling who came within 2 points of winning the Dutch Open last week. The Dutch pair take on the Scottish pair of Cooper and Gilmour in the second round after coming through against their Estonian opponents Margus and Talviste 21-10, 21-8. The top seeded Pedersen and Rytter Juhl progressed safely into round 2, as well as the second seeded Russian pair of Vislova and Sorokina who set up a second round clash with the Swedish pair of Ekberg and Hogstrom.
The eight seeds in the women’s singles start their campaign tomorrow, with Tine Baun starting with a potentially tricky encounter with Judith Meulendijks whilst the second seed Juliane Schenk also has a tough opener against Denmark’s Line Kjaersfeldt. Karin Schnaase takes on the 4th seeded Pi Hongyan in another exciting second round encounter, whilst the 3rd seeded Petya Nedelcheva faces a tough last 16 clash against Karina Jorgensen or Anastacia Prokopenko should she defeated Slovenia’s Spela Silvester in her opening match of the week.
The European contingent took a massive hit today, with player crashing out of every event leaving just a handful of European hopefuls left in the draws.
8 Of The Best Remain
Even without Lee Chong Wei or Peter Gade, the quarter final lineup has plenty of intrigue. The re-emergence of Taufik Hidayat is both unexpected but welcome as he refuses to give up on an Olympic spot. Shon Wan Ho is Hidayat’s quarter final opponent, whose run has been highly impressive in dropping just 61 points in three matches. Viktor Axelsen continues to appear in the later rounds of these events but takes on Lee Hyun Il of Korea in his quarter final. This will be a fantastic test of how good the Danish teen is. Chen Long is also through to the last 8, taking on Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in the quarter finals after the Dane defeated the 7th seeded Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam.
Chinese Withdrawals Open Up Draw
The withdrawals of Wang Yihan and Jiang Yanjiao are somewhat strange in their timing, with having the opportunity to progress without the loss of a Chinese player which is often the reason for such withdrawals during events. Wang Shixian and Liu Xin remain in the draw to add further question marks, with Wang Shixian taking on Juliane Schenk and Liu Xin taking on Saina Nehwal in tough quarter final matches.
Adcock and Bankier Claim Tight Victory
The all-British encounter was talked about as being the potential deciding game on who would make the Olympics for Team GB. After 68 minutes and saving 3 match points, with the world number 14 pairing of Adcock and Bankier progressing 25-23 in the third game. Their reward is a quarter final against the unseeded Japanese pair of Hayakawa and Matsutomo whilst the other match in the top half is a rematch of the All England semi final with Ahmad and Natsir taking on Chan and Goh.
The top seeded Chai and Guo crashed out to the unseeded pairing of Goh and Teo of Malaysia who take on the 5th seeded Indonesian pair of Chandra and Gunawan. There is one Chinese pair left in the draw, the unseeded pair of Hong and Shen take on the 8th seeded Japanese pair of Endo and Hayakawa. The world number 13 and 14 pairs have played twice previously with both pairings claiming a victory.
6 of the 8 seeds in the women’s doubles are safely into the quarter finals, with the top seeds Ha and Kim taking on the 7th seeded Chien and Cheng of Chinese Taipei. The sole European hope lies with the 5th seeded Pedersen and Rytter Juhl who take on one of the unseeded pairs in Chin and Wong in their quarter final.
Peter Gade’s withdrawal today and Lee Chong Wei’s pre-event withdrawal has opened the door for a Chinese victory on Sunday with 3 players into the last 16.
Strong European Showing
6 Europeans make up the last 16, with Jan O Jorgensen being the biggest name of the six. He also has the toughest task to reach the last 8 as he takes on Chen Jin in the third round. Vittinghus and Axelsen complete the Danish line-up, with the 14th seed taking on Tien Minh Nguyen whilst Axelsen takes on Sakai of Japan, who benefited from Gade’s retirement. Chen Long is the top seed and has progressed into the third round with little resistance and takes on Ueda of Japan in the last 16.
Chinese Seeds Loom Large
The four Chinese seeds are positioned in different quarters of the draw, making the chance of an all-Chinese semi final a real possibility. Wang Yihan, Liu Xin, Jiang Yanjiao and Wang Shixian all progressed into the last 16 with a potential seeded opponent for all waiting in the last 8. Juliane Schenk is the big European hope in the draw but has a tough second round match against Eriko Hirose of Japan before considering a quarter final against Wang Shixian.
All British Showdown
Ahmad and Natsir continue on their form from the All Englands with a straightforward win but the story of the second round tomorrow will be the all-British clash between Adcock and Bankier against Robertson and Wallwork. The world number 17 and 19 will face off in what could potentially be the deciding match on who represents GB at their home Olympics. Robertson and Wallwork lead the head to head 1-0 but both pairs are in excellent form with both reaching the All England quarter finals.
The seven seeds that started the day in the men’s doubles all progressing without many problems, with Hashimoto and Hirata needing three games to reach the last 16. Seven seeds remain in the women’s doubles too, with the 4th seeded Maeda and Suetsuna crashing out to Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul of Thailand in two games in the opening round.
The 2012 Olympics signals the end of four legendary careers, with the hope of a last great battle between Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan for the Olympic gold on August 5, 2012. August of this year provided with perhaps the greatest advertisement for the game that there has ever been as Lee Chong Wei took on Lin Dan for the 2011 World Championship.
Malaysia expected as Lee Chong Wei had two match points to claim his first world title, only for Lin Dan to break a nations heart with his refusal to be beaten. A nation distraught as China claimed a clean sweep in London as Lin Dan ripped off his top in celebration after his historic victory. It was the defining image of 2011, that the Chinese were still the nation to beat and that Lin Dan will still the man to beat.
As much as the Chinese tactics are questionable on how they get so many players to qualify, there is little doubting they are the nation to beat going into next years Olympics. Malaysia and Lee Chong Wei’s last chance waits in London once more, in the arena that robbed him of a world title 12 months previously.
From the stunning mistake by Lin Dan at 19-19 in the third game, to his net play and smashes that saved the two match points before his precise pushes into Lee Chong Wei’s forehand that forced the errors that led to the match point and the eventual winning point, it was an absolute master class on the greatest stage by both players. They simply are the best two players in the world and the only two men capable of winning gold in London.
Fighting For Gold
Lee Chong Wei was the overall best player of 2011; winning almost every event he entered and claimed his first All England title against Kenichi Tago in March. The last three months have seen him lose to China’s Chen Long no less than three times which is the only real worry for the Malaysian going into 2012. He will undoubtedly play a full schedule going into the Olympics, with the chance of a second All England title looming large.
Lin Dan goes into 2012 in top form, winning his last three events including the Super Series Finals earlier in December. He won the opening Super Series Premier in Korea in January and followed it up with Asian Games gold, an event that Lee Chong Wei did not play. The top two in the world played each other 5 times in ranking events, with Lin Dan winning four of the five meetings with Lin Dan holding a 18-8 advantage in their 26 meetings to date.
Gade’s Last Chance
Peter Gade celebrated his 35th birthday this month but there was little to celebrate on the court for the Dane as he failed to claim a single title in 2011 as Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei proved too strong throughout the year in a recurring theme for Europe’s number 1. In his 12 meetings with the top two players, he won just three games and failed to win a single match.
His record against the top two is 32-4, with his last victory over Lin Dan over 18 months ago and almost three years since his last win over Lee Chong Wei. His chances of a stunning upset and a Danish gold in London look grim whilst in the Super Series events he will be a perennial contender and will reach the latter stages of most of the events he participates in, but his chances of gold in London are slim.
Taufik’s Fall From Grace
The decline of Taufik started in May of this year when his #2 ranking slipped to 3 and then came the double defeat to Marc Zwiebler in the US and Canada Open. The foundation of his ranking came from his Denmark and France Super Series victories in 2010. His defeat in the second round to Viktor Axelsen in Denmark followed by his opening round loss to Wang Zhengming in France ensured Hidayat’s decline out of the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time in recent memory.
He ended the year with a whimper, losing all three games in the Super Series Finals and taking just a single game against Kenichi Tago. He will start 2012 with a world ranking of 12, still inside the qualifcation zone for the Olympics but he is currently the #2 ranked player from Indonesia with Simon Santoso ranked 7 in the world and Tommy Sugiarto a threat to Hidayat’s qualification also, ranked 17th in the world.
The Chinese Threat
The 2009 world champion Chen Jin as well as the new star of Chinese badminton, Chen Long are just the tip of a massive Chinese threat going into any major tournament in 2012. With 5 Chinese players inside the top 16, there is a massive internal battle within the Chinese squad to claim one of a potential three spots in the Olympics, should China manage to get three players inside the top 4 in the world.
Chen Long is clearly the new star of Chinese badminton, the 22-year old begun this year well outside of the top 10 and his stunning loss to Kevin Cordon in the opening round of the world championships could have derailed his promising career. However, he returned to form later in the year with a trio of titles including a Super Series Premier title in China before his milestone victory over Lee Chong Wei in Japan the next week. This became a recurring theme, with another victory over Lee Chong Wei in Denmark and then finally in their most recent matchup in the Super Series Finals. He is the main threat to the top two in the world going into 2012.
Chen Jin claimed just a single title this year, in the Singapore Super Series after a Lin Dan walkover in the final and without Lee Chong Wei even in the draw. His two runner-up medals were defeats to Lin Dan and Chen Long to firmly establish himself as the third force of Chinese badminton now.
Du Pengyu and Wang Zhengming are the two wild cards of Chinese badminton. They have all but been eliminated from being able to qualify for the 2012 games but will be vital in ensuring a massive Chinese presence at the London Olympics. Ranked #10 and #14 in the world will put them in a position of being seeds in some events but potentially facing one of the seeds in the Premier events of 2011, like Wang Zhengming taking on Taufik Hidayat in the French Super Series in October. They will also play a role in ensuring Chinese success at these events, with the Chinese squad allowing walkovers to occur in all-Chinese matchups, meaning more rest for the higher ranked Chinese players in their big events.
The Breakout Stars of 2011
2011 seen the emergence of Sho Sasaki, Lee Hyun Il, Simon Santoso and Marc Zwiebler into the top 16 players in the world. 29-year old Sho Sasaki has been grinding away a career that seen him ranked as low as 40 in June of this year after a string of opening round losses to start 2011. He then reached the semi finals in the Indonesian Super Series Premier and followed that with a win in the US Open in July. An excellent run to the last 8 of the world championships boosted his ranking into the top 10 and finishes the year with his highest ever world ranking of 7. A lot is expected of Sasaki in 2012 with impressive victories over Lin Dan and Du Pengyu in 2011 but has to ensure no opening round upsets that marred his 2011 season.
Lee Hyun Il ended his career after the Beijing Olympics, only to be talked back into playing competitively just 20 months ago. Ranked 196th in May of 2010, he has returned to the world’s top 10 going into 2012, winning his last two events of 2011. A former world number 1 in 2004, his return to the top 10 is nothing short of stunning with victories over Chen Jin, Wang Zhengming , Du Pengyu and Simon Santoso confirming his top 10 status. He will benefit in 2012 with being seeded for most of the early Super Series events of the year to bolster his place in the top 10.
Simon Santoso was touted to overtake Taufik Hidayat as Indonesia’s number 1 in the summer after Hidayat’s poor run in the US and Canada Open. He entered the world championships ranked 19th but his run to the semi finals in China and Macau, that featured a victory over Peter Gade seen Santoso become the top ranked Indonesian player and ensured his place in the top 10 in December. His victory over Hidayat in the China Masters saw the passing of the guard to the 26-year old.
Marc Zwiebler has cemented his place as Europe’s number 2 behind Peter Gade, but his double victory over Taufik Hidayat has pushed him into the spotlight. Ranked as high as 11 earlier in the year, he has levelled out within the 15-17 ranking in the later half of the year following his Canada Open success. Big things are expected of Zwiebler in 2012 as he is set to take on the mantle of Europe’s #1 after the Olympics.
The New Breed
Denmark’s future lies with Viktor Axelsen, the 2010 junior world champion and current European junior champion carefully scheduled his 2011 calender, with a victory in Spain before his greatest moment of his career in the Denmark Open as he defeated Taufik Hidayat in his hometown to reach the last 8 of a Super Series for the first time. He took a game off Peter Gade in his quarterfinal before losing out in three games but that propelled him onto the world stage. He played the Hong Kong and China Masters in the latter half of 2011 and will likely take on a full schedule in 2012 as he looks to improve on his ranking of 36.
Wong Wing Ki’s victory over Lin Dan in Denmark was the 21-year old’s first breakthrough victory of his career and a series of promising results to end 2011 has him just outside the top 20 in the world going into 2012. He has been competitive against the world’s elite throughout the last year with only his standout victory against Lin Dan to show for it, he will hope to have several more impressive wins in 2012.
The European Hopefuls
Pablo Abian, Rajiv Ouseph have been the powerhouses of the EBU circuit, whilst Jan O Jorgensen has been reaching the latter stages of the Super Series towards the end of 2011 after a health scare during the week of the Denmark Open.
Pablo Abian started 2011 just inside the top 50 in the world before taking four titles in the first half of the year, including a victory over Viktor Axelsen in Sweden in January to claim his first title. Opening round defeats in the Denmark and France Open will have to be improved on in 2012 to break into the world’s elite.
Rajiv Ouseph will go to the London Olympics as GB’s only chance of a medal in this event but his success in 2011 has came in Europe, with victories in Ireland and Scotland, choosing to play the European events instead of the Super Series Premier event in China. He goes into 2012 in need of a notable run in a Super Series to boost his confidence ahead of the pressure of performing on home soil after a poor attempt this year in a 21-8, 21-18 defeat to Peter Gade in the opening round of the 2011 world championships.
Jan O Jorgensen is a former top 10 player whose health scare in Denmark forced him into a layoff of 4 weeks that seen him dip to 19 in the rankings. Three quarter final appearances in Super Series events in 2011 will be the very minimum he will need to ensure his place at the Olympics ahead of Viktor Axelsen, as the two battle it out to be Denmark’s number 1 after Gade’s retirement.
However, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus is also a contender in the debate. Ranked outside the top 30 at the start of 2011, the Dane took the Dutch Open title in April to push him into the top 25 and another victory in the Bitburger Open sees him inside the top 20 and finished the year with a close match with Chen Long of China. The performance in the China Open will be one that Vittinghus hopes to emulate throughout 2011 to ensure his name is in the discussion over Denmark’s top men’s singles player.
The Asian Contingent
The rarely spoken about Tien Minh Nguyen has been inside the top 10 in the world for almost two years without any major runs in the Super Series, the Vietnamese player earns his ranking points from the GP Gold series of events but did put have a good run at the world championships, eventually losing out to Peter Gade in three games at the quarter final stage. Defeats to Sho Sasaki and Jan O Jorgensen in the latter part of 2011 still raise question marks over Nguyen’s true ability and significance within the rankings.
Park Sung Hwan’s year was cut short with an injury after the world championships. After surgery on his knee in September there was further complications after it was revealed that the Korean had circulation problems in his shoulder but is expected to return to action in the opening months of 2012. He was ranked inside the top 10 before his lay off due to injury.
Boonsak Ponsana is another player in the Tien Minh Nguyen mould in that he was almost discounted as a threat in the opening half of 2011 when he was ranked 6th in the world, mostly due to ranking points gained through the GP Gold series. His quarter final defeat to Lee Chong Wei is the highlight of a poor year for the Thai player that has seen him crash out of the top 10 but surgery has sidelined Ponsana for most of the second half of 2011, with 2012 seeing the Thai player hopefully return to the court.
The End Of An Era
Regardless of the results in London, Lee Chong Wei and Peter Gade have confirmed their intentions to retire after the Olympics. Lin Dan and Taufik Hidayat likely to follow suit, especially should Lin Dan claim his second Olympic title. Hidayat’s dip in form will likely be a contributing factor especially with his place in London far from guaranteed.
2012 will provide us with the end of an era and the chance to crown a new world number 1 after the Olympics. Whether that is Lee Chong Wei winning gold for Malaysia, Lin Dan retaining his Olympic title or the dream finale to Peter Gade’s stunning career, the countdown has begun. There is no more putting off talking about the likely retirement of these four players, for it is now a matter of months, not years now.
The 2012 season starts in just a few weeks, with the Korean Open Super Series Premier being moved 3 weeks to the first week in January, with the Malaysian Open Super Series the next week to ensure an exciting start to the year. The doubleheader of the Indonesia Premier and Singapore Super Series will be the final event before the run-in to the Olympics in late July.
Then, another 6 week break before the China Masters and the first opportunity to survey the aftermath of the 2012 Olympics. The year ends with the China Open Premier and the Hong Kong Super Series in late November to conclude what is likely to be a historic year of badminton.
Finals day had it’s share of surprises on offer, with several Chinese players deciding to play to increase their chances of making the Olympic squad as well as past world champions all featuring on Sunday.
Mixed Day For Chinese
Hans-Kristian Vittinghus unlikely victory over Wang Zhengming is a clear message to anyone that forgot about him in this Olympic year, with Gade’s pending retirement and the arrival of Viktor Axelsen. The 21-18, 21-10 victory was enough for the Dane to claim the men’s singles title. Li Xuerui ensured at least one title for the Chinese this week, with a fantastic 21-8, 21-9 victory over Yao Jie after her impressive victory over Juliane Schenk in the semi final stage.
Doubles Shocks For Seeds
The Thai pairing of Issara and Jongjit have undoubtably been the story of the week, after their win over the 8th seeded Bosch and Ridder, they have systematically defeated every opponent in the shortest time possible. Their victory over the 2nd seeded Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen was a real shock, but they defeated Adcock and Ellis in the semi final to ensure a third victory over seeded pairs this week before completing their stunning week with a two game victory over Liu and Qiu of China, their fourth victory over a seeded pair this week.
Fujii and Kakiiwa secured the women’s doubles title with a straight forward two game victory over Wengberg and Lennartsson and claiming the title without the loss of a game this week. Goh and Chan completed a day of surprises with a victory in the tightest of circumstances over the 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl. The Malaysians secured the victory in a 73-minute match that saw them save four match points before converting on their third opportunity.
With an excellent field present in Madrid this week, the first full day of action has provided some unlikely results in the singles events as well as some success for some of the future stars of the game.
Viktor Axelsen’s impressive win over 6th seeded Eric Pang was the talking point of the men’s singles draw, with the teenager defeating one of top European players in two games to book his place in the quarter finals. Top seeded Tommy Sugiarto was relentless in his 21-15, 21-3 win over Joachim Persson and sets up a quarter final against Spain’s own Pablo Abian in the last 8. Second seeded Hans-Kristian Vittinghus is also safely into the last 8 after a pair of two game victories and sets up a quarter final clash with Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Jen Tao who defeated the 7th seeded Ville Lang in a convincing two game victory.
Susan Egelstaff, seeded 2 was the highest seed to start the week in the women’s singles and has had little trouble in reaching the last 8 and will take on the Sashina Vignes Waran, seeded 8th in the quarter final. There is also Spanish interest with Carolina Marin who is also through to the last 8 and takes on Ireland’s Chloe Magee in the quarter final after the retirement of Nicole Grether in the second round match. Olga Konon is the highest seed in the top half of the draw and has had little trouble on route to the last 8, where she will play Kristina Ludikova of the Czech Republic.
The three seeds that started the week in the men’s doubles are still in the draw at the last 8 stage, with 2nd seeded Cwalina and Logosz taking on the Spanish pair of Leal and Ojeda in tomorrow’s quarter final. 3rd seeded Bosch and Ridder take on the Austrian pair of Koch and Zauner who came through a tight three game match against Gilmour and Campbell of Scotland. The only seed in the top half of the draw is 4th seeded Kasbauer and Zurwonne who came through a three game match to set up a quarter final against the Japanese pairing of Saeki and Taohata.
The top seeded Van Dooremalen and Jonathans are safely into the last 8 and take on the Spanish pair of Jimenez and Rodriguez. There has been more good fortune for the Spanish with the pairing of Molina and Ojeda not having to play a match to reach the last 8, they take on the English pair of Langley and Smith who defeated the 3rd seeded Mexican pair of Gonzalez and Montero. The 2nd seeded Reid and Grether are into the last 8 but question marks over Grether’s injury in the singles could be a factor in their quarter final match against Diaz and Lee.
The top two seeds are safely through to the mixed doubles quarter finals and are also joined in the last 8 by the 4th seeded Magee’s of Ireland. There is an all-Spanish quarter final also, with Longo and Ojeda taking on Lorenzo and Marquez for a chance to take on the winner of the Durkinjak/Ponzanovic versus Ng and Gao matchup.
Picture Provided by Rene Lagerwaard
Denmark was in dominant form much of the week and that wouldn’t change on finals day of the FZ Forza Denmark International. The only final that didn’t feature all Danish players was the womens singles where Anastasia Prokopenko faced off against Agnese Allegrini. Prokopenko won the match and the championship with two straight games 21-15, 21-15.
The top seeded mens singles player Jan Jorgensen had a similarly straight forward win as was the case much of the week for the speedy Dane. A more straight forward path to the finals must have helped Jorgensen as he defeated his fellow countryman Hans Kristian Vittinghus in two games 21-15, 21-12. Vittinghus had to struggle through a number of 3 game matches to find his place in the final, and it appeared to have taken it’s toll on him.
In the womens doubles Line Kruse and Marie Røpke continued their amazing run by defeating their higher ranked compatriots Maria Helsbøl and Anne Skelbæk in two games 21-14, 21-14.
Maria Helsbøl would have to suffer disappointment once again in the mixed doubles when she and her partner Rasmus Bonde were defeated by second seeds Mad Pieler Kolding and Julie Houmann 21-13, 21-15.
Finally in the mens doubles in yet another all Danish affair Rasmus Bonde was able to make up for his mixed doubles loss when him and Anders Kristiansen won a close three game match over Mikkel Elbjørn Larsen and Christian Skovgaard 21-14, 19-21, 21-16.
Danish players provided the upsets of the day as four of the five events have turned into all-Danish finals, with 3 unseeded pairs reaching their respective finals.
Jan O Jorgensen continued his impressive run this week, with the top seed failing to drop a game the entire week on route to Sunday’s final. His opponent in the final is the 2nd seeded Hans-Kristian Vittinghus who survived two scares on Friday to progress into the last 8 where he regained his form and won his two matches today in two games to come into the final in some good form.
The only non-Danish final is between the 7th seeded Agnese Allegrini and 3rd seeded Anastasia Prokopenko. The Italian 7th seeded defeated the top seeded Linda Zechiri in the quarter final and then defeated Chloe Magee in two games to reach the final. The 3rd seeded Russian defeated the 6th seeded Olga Konon in the quarter final before taking on Judith Meulendijks, who whilst the match was finely posed at 13-8 in the third game had to retire to allow the progression of Prokopenko to the final.
The three doubles events are all Danish affairs, with unseeded Elbjorn Larson and Skovgaard taking on another unseeded duo in Bonde and Kristiansen who have defeated the 2nd and 3rd seeds to reach the final. Rasmus Bonde also featuring in the mixed doubles final with partner Maria Heisbol, Bonde and Heisbol take on the 2nd seeded Pieler Kolding and Houmann in the mixed doubles final. Maria Heisbol is also in the women’s doubles final with partner Anna Skelbaek and the 3rd seeded pair take on the 4th seeds in Kruse and Ropke for the title tomorrow.
The majority of the seeds have progressed safely through the opening two days of the Swiss Open with an excellent field present in Basel even with the loss of it’s Super Series tag for the 2011.
Jan O Jorgensen is the top seed this week and has safely progressed his opening two rounds without the loss of a game to Ville Lang and Christian Lind Thomsen to reach the last 16. His 3rd round opponent is Kazushi Yamada who is in excellent form since his victory over Taufik Hidayat last week in the All Englands. Also in this half of the draw is Park Sung Hwan who has been the pick of the players in his opening two rounds, with a pair of impressive victories for the 4th seed. Viktor Axelsen almost defeated the 16th seeded Hans-Kristian Vittinghus to reach the 3rd round, only for Vittinghus to battle back in the 3rd game to win the all-Danish match up.
Joachim Persson had shown a return to form in recent months but the manner of his defeat to Lee Hyun Il is a worrying sign to the 11th seed as he crashed out tamely in the second round, losing 21-10, 21-9 in just 21 minutes. 2nd seed Simon Santoso has been nothing but impressive in reaching the last 16 with two victory with the loss of just 42 points to date. Spain’s Pablo Abian is the pick of the unseeded Europeans left in the draw with a pair of good victories taking him to the last 16 where he will play Muhammad Hashim, the 9th seeded Malaysian.
Saina Nehwal didn’t have to wait long to get another shot to defeat Eriko Hirose as the pair meet in the 3rd round this week, with both players coming through their opening matches in two games. Juliane Schenk is Newhal’s main rival in the other half of the draw and has a tough second round match against Bae Sueng Hee of Korea. Ella Diehl is the biggest casualty of the opening round, with the 5th seed losing to Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying 21-9, 21-19. There is another Spanish story this week, this time with the European junior champion Carolina Marin who has progressed through qualifying and has reached the second round with a two game win over Nicole Grether.
Boe and Mogensen have continued in the form that won them their first All England title to set up a second round match against Bosch and Ridder of Holland in the second round. The strength of the men’s doubles draw is very high, with Lee and Jung also playing this week and progressing to the second round with a three game win over Endo and Hayakawa of Japan. Ko and Yoo of Korea are the second seeds this week and are into the last 16 after winning their all-Korean first round match against Kim and Kim.
Top seeded Cheng and Chien are hoping that the lack of Chinese pairings in the women’s doubles will improve their chances of success in Basel this week and have started with a two game victory in their opening round to set up a 2nd round match against Japan’s Misaki and Takahashi. The 2nd seeds this week are Jauhari and Polii who take on England’s White and Wallwork in the second round. The European challengers this week will be the 5th seeded Rytter Juhl and Pedersen, who take on Wang and Wang of America after their opening round triumph.
Lee Yong Dae is partnered up with a new female this week as the Korean squad try to find their best partnerships ahead of the Olympic qualification for London, Ha Jung Eun is partnering Lee Yong Dae this week and the 8th seeds start has been impressive, winning 21-10, 21-8 in their opening round match to set up a second round match against Valiyaveetil and Gutta of India. Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei are the top seeds this week and take on the Japanese pair of Ikeda and Shiota in round 2 after both won their opening round matches in two games. The main rival from the bottom half comes in the form of the 2nd seeded Wallwork and Robertson of England who defeated Kazuno and Takahashi in their opening round match to progress into the last 16.
Swiss Open Grand Prix
The partnership of Adcock and Bankier might be a new one, but the history of the players gave you an idea that it would be a successful one. Bankier reached #12 in the world with Robert Blair in 2008/9 and Adcock has been part of the GB Olympic set-up for a number of years.
They wasted little time in Ireland securing their second title in three weeks with a two game, 26 minute victory over Skovgaard and Andersen of Denmark, winning 21-13, 21-11. Scottish success was doubled as 2nd seeded Susan Egelstaff won her first title of 2010, defeating a Dane of her own in Karina Jorgensen, winning 23-21, 21-8.
The men’s singles was a much tighter affair, with Vittinghus and Abian sharing the opening two games and the third going all the way to 20-20 and beyond. It was the top seeded Dane that eventually came through, taking the third game 23-21 in their 57 minute matchup, which would be the longest match of the day.
The women’s doubles seen the top 2 seeds in the final, with Denmark doubling it’s tally for the week as 2nd seeded Heisbol and Skelbaek defeated the top seeded English duo of Olver and Agathangelou in a three-game, 48 minute matchup with the Danes winning in the third 21-15. Chris Adcock doubled his tally of wins in Ireland as he and partner Andrew Ellis defeated their more experienced team-mate Anthony Clark and his partner Chris Landridge in the men’s doubles final, with Ellis and Adcock winning 21-13, 21-16.