The all-conquering Chinese stormed into all five finals, three of being all-Chinese finals with only Taufik Hidayat as well as the partnership of Koo and Tan in the doubles breaking up the Chinese monopoly.
The mixed doubles final was the first meeting between Zheng and Ma, the 8th seed against the 6th seed He and Yu in the first of the all-Chinese finals. The match went in the favour of Zheng and Ma from the start, only giving up the lead in the middle part of first game at 10-11 before winning 11 of the next 14 points to take the opening game 21-14. The second game was more of the same dominating play from the 8th seeds as they pulled out an early 7-2 advantage and took the second game and their first world title, winning the match 21-14, 21-10.
Taufik Hidayat entered the final in a superb run of form after his quarter final win over Lee Chong Wei and semi final against Park Sung Hwan. His opponent was also in excellent form after his three-game win over Peter Gade in the semi final. The match promised a lot but it was a one-sided encounter that was dominated by the Chinese player. Hidayat failed to even take a lead in the final, with Chen Jin winning 21-15, 21-13.
The second all-Chinese final was in the women’s singles as Wang Lin took on Wang Xin and unlike the previous two finals, it was a highly competitive encounter that went all the way to a third and final game. Wang Lin took the initiative in the final game and after a tight opening to the third game that seen her 8-10 down, she reeled off 5 points in a row to take a lead that she would never give up to win her first world title, taking the match 21-11, 19-21, 21-13 in 58 minutes.
Yu Yang had her chance for revenge after her mixed doubles defeat over Ma Jin in the women’s doubles final and duely delivered with the most one-sided of the matches on finals day in Paris. The 21-9, 21-17 victory was a 39 minute encounter and was the third win in a row for Yu and Du over their Chinese team-mates.
Cai and Fu usually always deliver an memorable final such as last year, this year they took on the top seeded Koo and Tan of Malaysia for a chance of a clean sweep of titles for China. They lost their opening game to the top seeded Malaysians, only to fight back to take it into another deciding game like the 2009 final. There was no repeat of the 2009 final as the 5th seeds dominated the 3rd game to retain their world championship and complete the Chinese sweep as well as five wins for the lower seed in the matches played today.
The possibility of a European winner in Paris ended today as the Chinese juggernaut was in a relentless mood as they stormed into eight of the ten finals places for tomorrow.
Peter Gade’s dream of making the world championship final was but a game away but Chen Jin stormed back in the next two games, allowing the Dane just 19 points from the last two games as it was the Chinese player who won their 71-minute encounter 19-21, 21-11, 21-8.
Chen Jin’s opponent in tomorrow’s final is the enigmatic Taufik Hidayat who has returned his former greatness with a stunning week, capped of today in booking his place in tomorrow’s final with a hard fought two game victory over Park Sung Hwan, who defeated Lin Dan yesterday. The 5th seed is the only non-Chinese player in either singles final tomorrow.
Many people earlier in the week predicted an all-Chinese final in the women’s singles, with Wang Yihan almost certain to feature but it is the 7th seed Wang Lin who is in tomorrow’s final from the top half of the draw after a stunning performance over the European champion Tine Baun in a 31-minute masterclass by the 7th seed. Winning 21-11, 21-8 to reach the final.
The other semi final was an all-Chinese match between Wang Xin and Wang Shixian that was a far more even encounter than the first semi final. It was the 3rd seeded Wang Xin who took the deciding game 21-16 to book her place in the all-Chinese final against Wang Lin, who eventually won the 57-minute encounter.
Top seeded Koo and Tan’s performances of late had been poor and had not reached a final since March. This week they have been deserving of the top seeding after a fantastic two game victory over the 4th seeded Guo and Xu of China, taking the match 21-14, 21-18 in 39 minutes to book their place in tomorrow’s final. They will play the 2009 world champions and 5th seeds Cai and Fu in the final after their two game victory over the 2nd seeded Kido and Setiawan, winning 21-16, 21-13 in just 36 minutes and without dropping a game on route to the final, winning all four of their matches in two games.
The women’s doubles pits the top two seeds against each other for the world championship as Du and Fu, the 2nd seeds defeated the 3rd seeded Chien and Cheng of Chinese Taipei in two games to book their place in tomorrow’s final, for Yu Yang it was her second game of the day. Ma and Wang are also through to tomorrow’s final but spent over an hour on court after Ma Jin had already played in the days opening mixed doubles game. The top seeds battled back from losing the opening game 21-10 to defeat their teammates and 4th seeded Cheng and Zhao to progress into tomorrow’s final.
The mixed doubles will have two of the women’s doubles finalists in it also, with Ma Jin teaming up with Zheng Bo after their three game victory over Ko and Ha of Korea put the 8th seeded pair into the final, with Ma Jin spending over two hours on court today for her to progress into two world championship finals. For Yu Yang, her and partner He Hanbin spent a mere 29 minutes disposing of the 16th seeded Chien and Lee of Chinese Taipei to book their place in tomorrow’s final. Chien Yu Chin was another player playing in two semi finals today and was defeated both times by Yu Yang.
Tomorrow’s order of play starts with the mixed doubles, with the two pairs playing for the first time, in the world championship final. The men’s singles between Chen Jin and Taufik Hidayat is on next, with Chen Jin holding a 2-1 record ove the Indonesia, who defeated the Chinese player in 2007.
The women’s singles final is perhaps the most difficult to predict, with both players in excellent form and holding a 1-1 record against each other, both matches taking place within a week of each other in September of 2009. The women’s doubles has the top two seeds in it but it is the lower seeded pair that have the advantage in the head to head, leading 4-1 with Ma and Jin’s sole victory coming in November last year.
The men’s doubles final with be the 9th meeting between the pairs since 2007, with Cai and Fu taking the last three victories, most notably at the Uber Cup finals in May this year and the Chinese pair have won five of the last six encounters against the Malaysians and lead the head to head 5-3
Would Day 2 give us another shock? The answer would be yes. Kenichi Tago, the 2007 Scottish Open winner defeated 7th Seeded Joachim Persson in one of the longest games of the day, with Tago taking the deciding game 21-13.
There were routine wins for Widianto and Natsir in their opening round matches, as well as Bo Zheng and Ma Jin. Yu Yang and He Hanbin won in two games, with the second game taken to 22-20. 5th Seeded Xie Zhongbo and Zhang Yawen had a scare after looking the first game, but showed their ttue ability to take the next two games and progress to round 2.
Chen Jin, seeded 2 began his campaign against Eric Pang. There was no repeat of a Dutch victory like Palyama had done earlier as the Chinese seed won in two games. Taufik Hidayat also started his challenge against Switzerland’s Christian Boesgier, the Indonesian 4th seed comfortably progressed in two games.
Day 3 begins with both top seeds in the singles events on court. Zhou Mi plays Michelle Chan Ky on Court 1, and Lee Chong Wei is playing Ola Fagbemi on Court 2. Taufik Hidayat’s game against Mathieu Lo Ying Ping is the second game on Court 2.
Peter Gade begins proceedings against Sho Sasaki on Court 3, followed later in the day with Saina Nehwal and Wang Lin on Court 3 to play their second round matches.
Court 4 begins with Sony Dwi Kuncoro, seeded 6 against Przemyslaw Wacha of Poland. Followed later in the day with Lu Lan, Chen Jin and Lin Dan in second round action.
On Court 6, Tien Minh Nguyen plays Frenchman Brice Leverdez to open play at 1pm local time. Followed by Boonsak Ponsana, seeded 16 and Wang Yihan starts her challenge in round 2 against Susan Egelstaff of Scotland.
The Mens and Ladies Doubles are in action also, with our first look at Cai and Fu of China, Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong of Malaysia and Lee and Jung of Korea. The big news in the Mens Doubles is the withdrawal of top seeds Kido and Setiawan due to injury.
The Mixed doubles will be one of the few events where anyone from ten seeds could win the title. The Olympic Champions come into the event as top seeds, with the 2007 World Champions second seeds. The on-form couple coming into the tournament are also the third seeds.
2007 World Championship Winners: Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir
2008 Olympic Champions: Lee Jong Dae and Lee Hyo Jung
Lee Jong Dae and Lee Hyo Jung
Last Tournament: Indonesia Super Series (Finalists)
2nd Round Opponents: NO MATCH
The draw has opened out well for the top seeds, a first round bye as well as their second round opponents pulling out allows both partners to focus on their other discipline before taking to the court already in the round of 16.
However, this means their first match together is likely to be against 14th seeded Chinese couple Xu Chen and Zhao Yunlei. It could work in their favour or the two byes to the last 16 could be the worst thing to happen to the top seeds.
Other Seeds to Watch:
Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir
Last Tournament: Indonesian Super Series (Quarter Finals)
2nd Round Opponents: Aleksei Konakh and Alesia Zaitsava (BLR)
The 2007 World Champions have had an indifferent 2009 since their win early in the year in the Malaysia Super Series. They have reached the latter stages in the last few months without winning a competition since January.
Their big test will come in the last eight against Indian couple Jwala Gutta and Diju Valiyaveetil, a couple which beat them in the Korean Super Series this year.
Ma Jin and Zheng Bo
Last Tournament: Malaysian Open (Won)
2nd Round Opponents: Goh Liu Ying and Chan Peng Soon (MAL)
If you’re looking for the form couple, look no further. Winners of the last three Super Series events, beating the top seeded Lee and Lee in two of the Super Series finals. Ma Jin is arguably the most on-form doubles player in the world right now, winning both the level and mixed in Malaysia just 6 weeks ago.
A potential semi-final against Lee and Lee would be worthy of the final, if both make it to the last 4.
These are the “big three” who will be the favourites for the title, 4th seeded Yu Yang and He Hanbin of China are another couple with a real chance, but to make it through to the last four they have to beat 6th seeded Pedersen and Fischer Nielsen in the quarter finals.
Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg are seeded 11 and have made a run in this tournament in 2007 previously. The final four couples from the Beijing Olympics are all seeded in the top 5, with second seeded pair Zheng Bo and Gao Ling no longer playing together, Zheng Bo’s new partnership with Ma Jin has them seeded 3rd.
The two Danish couples ranked 6th and 7th are also strong contenders, it’s perhaps the most open draw at this years World Championships.