The best eight players and pairs are in Liuzhou this week for the final event of the 2011 Superseries season, with plenty of Chinese interest on home soil.
Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei Win Openers
The favourites from the two groups in the men’s singles both won their opening matches, but both needed three games to ensure a winning start this week. Lin Dan defeated Chen Long in a 62-minute thriller to open up Group B whilst Lee Chong Wei needed three games to defeat Sho Sasaki and ensure a win on the opening round of matches. Peter Gade tops Group A after an impressive 21-13, 21-9 victory over Simon Santoso and there was more disappointed for the Indonesians as Taufik Hidayat was defeated by Japan’s Kenichi Tago in the other Group B match, with Tago taking the deciding game 21-7 to share the top spot in the group with Lin Dan.
Wang Yihan Beaten Sung Ji Hyun
The big surprise in the women’s singles came in the Group A opener as world number 1 Wang Yihan lost to Sung Ji Hyun of Korea in a 72-minute match, after the Chinese number 1 took the opening game 21-13 but capitulated and lost the next two games to make her chances of making the semi finals increasingly difficult. Tine Baun tops the group after an impressive one-sided victory over Juliane Schenk, winning 21-12, 21-11 in just 27 minutes. Xin Wang needed just 26 minutes to defeat Sayaka Sato of Japan to top Group B whilst Saina Nehwal defeated Bae Youn Joo to start her campaign on a positive note.
Cai and Fu Defeated
The main news from the men’s doubles group was Cai and Fu’s defeat to Chai and Guo in their Group A opener, Ko and Yoo also suffered an opening game defeat, making their matchup on Friday potentially for the second position in the group. Lee and Jung survived their own scare against Koo and Tan but eventually won in three games to keep finishing top of their group a possibility. Wang and Yu top Group A in the women’s doubles with a 21-9, 21-11 victory over Poon and Tse whilst Tian and Zhao top Group B after a three game victory over Pedersen and Rytter Juhl in 58 minutes. Zhao and Zhang defeated their Chinese team-mates Xu and Ma in their opening match of the mixed doubles in Group A, with the world number 1 pairing winning the match in three games, needing 45 minutes to ensure a top two place in the group. Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen top Group B with a two game victory over Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand in a 21-15, 21-17 victory.
There was no suspicious circumstances over the five Chinese victories on finals day in Hong Kong as China cemented their place back at the top of world badminton going into their home Super Series next week.
Lin Dan and Wang Xin Claim Singles Titles
It was a surprise to see Lin Dan take on Lee Chong Wei this week, but there was no surprise in the final as Lin Dan defeated Chen Jin 21-12, 21-19 in 31 minutes to claim his first title since the world championships in London. Wang Xin ended the superb run of Tine Baun in the women’s singles in the one-sided final that the 3rd seed took 21-17, 21-14 in 30 minutes.
Chinese Revenge In Doubles
Cai and Fu’s recent history against their Korean opponents Lee and Jung had been poor, losing the last 2 Super Series finals against the 2nd seeded pair. Today however, was the top seeds day as they claimed a three-game 69-minute marathon with the Chinese pair winning the deciding game 21-19. Wang and Yu claimed their 8th victory over Tian and Zhao in the women’s doubles final, with the 2nd seeded pair retiring from a game down at 14-2 down in the second game to allow the top seeds to claim yet another title in a historic year for the Chinese pairing. Zhang and Zhao had been defeated twice previously by their Danish opponents Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen in previous Super Series in Denmark and France at the semi final stage. After the opening game, the Danes looked set to make it three straight victories over the world champions but the Chinese pair responded and took the next two games to take the title ahead of their home Super Series next week. The 64-minute, three game match was won 15-21, 21-17, 21-17 by Zhang and Zhao.
The best two players in the world met for the first time since the world championship final in August, and whilst that match was heralded as a classic, their most recent encounter in Hong Kong resulted in a one-sided victory for Lin Dan over Lee Chong Wei.
Lin Dan Too Strong
Much has been made of Lin Dan and of the Chinese squads withdrawals recently, but surprisingly the highly anticipated rematch between Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei took place. The match was a distinctly one-sided affair with Lin Dan winning in two games and put further doubt into the Malaysian that he can compete with the Chinese squad after a pair of losses to Chen Long in recent weeks also. However, Chen Long suffered his own disappointment in his semi final loss to Chen Jin to set up an all-Chinese final.
Baun Into Final
After a recent run of poor form in Denmark and France, few expected this sort of week from Tine Baun. Her three game victory over Wang Shixian was one of her best results of the year and sets up a final against the 3rd seeded Wang Xin, who also defeated her higher ranked opponent in Wang Yihan in just two games to set up tomorrow’s final.
Usual Suspects In Doubles
The finals of the three previous Super Series have rarely changed, with Cai and Fu set to take on Lee and Jung in the men’s doubles final for the third Super Series in a row. The same can be said of the women’s doubles as Wang and Yu look for their 7th victory over Tian and Zhao and in their third straight meeting in a Super Series final. The mixed doubles has the on form Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen taking on a Chinese pairing, this time it is the top seeded Zhang and Zhao in the final after defeating Xu and Ma at the semi final stages this week, the pair they beat in their previous two Super Series finals.
It was a mixed day for the Koreans, the Indians, the Danes and the Japanese but for the Chinese it was almost a perfect day in Hong Kong, with just two pairs losing on a day of success for the Chinese.
Gade Crashes Out
Chen Jin and Peter Gade met for the 12th time today, with Gade winning just 3 of their previous 11 matchups. Today did not add another win to that tally as the 2010 world champion defeated Gade in two games to book his place in the last 4 and inflict his 9th defeat upon the Dane. His opponent in the semi final will be Chen Long, with a guaranteed Chinese involvement in Sunday’s final.
Lee Chong Wei defeated Ajay Jayaram to book his place in the last 4, whilst Lin Dan defeated Shon Wan Ho in his quarter final to set up their dream semi final match. Question marks will loom over the match as to whether the world number 1 will take on the current world champion until the pair step onto court, with the Chinese squad looking to keep this matchup from taking place in an Olympic qualifying year.
Baun Breaks Up Chinese Monopoly
With the top three Chinese seeds all making into the last 4, only Tine Baun adds any sort of variety to what looks like a Chinese certainty in the women’s singles. Baun’s victory over Saina Nehwal was an unexpected one with the Dane’s form being up and down in the past month but it is a welcome surprise to the Danish squad after Gade’s exit from the men’s singles. Baun takes on the 2nd seeded Wang Shixian whilst the other semi final is an all-Chinese affair between Wang Yihan and Wang Xin, with the higher seeded Wang Yihan taking a 5-1 head to head lead into their 7th meeting.
Chinese Dominant In Doubles
Chinese can boast two pairs in the semi finals of each of the three doubles events. Cai and Fu as well the pairing of Zhang and Jiaming, predominantly known for their mixed doubles results are also through to the last 4 of the men’s doubles. The two Chinese pairs take on one another in the first of the semi finals whilst the other semi final is an all-Korean affair with Ko and Yoo taking on Lee and Jung for a place in Sunday’s final.
Wang and Yu continue their march to the final with another two game victory over the local pairing of Poon and Tse whilst their perennial opponents in the final also progressed into the last 4 as Tian and Zhao defeating Jung and Kim of Korea to reach the last 4. Zhao Yunlei is also into the last 4 of the mixed doubles with Zhang Nan as of both partners are set to play two semi finals matches tomorrow, Zhang and Zhao take on the Chinese Taipei pairing of Chen and Cheng in the first of tomorrow’s semi finals whilst Xu and Ma take on their nemesis of the past few weeks in Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen in the second of tomorrow’s mixed doubles semi finals.
Peter Gade’s Denmark Open ends at the hands of his perennial rival, Lee Chong Wei. There was more disappointment for the Danish fans with two pairs crashing out of the doubles at the semi final stage also.
Gade Crashes Out
Gade’s last run at a Denmark Open ends at the hands of the world number 1, with the Dane being competitive throughout the match unlike his previous few matches that have resulted in crushing defeats. Gade himself said he should have taken the second game in his post-match interview, after having four attempts to win the game. Chen Long is the other finalist tomorrow after defeating Sho Sasaki in a one-sided semi final that sets up a rematch of the Japan Open, that the Chinese 3rd seed won.
Chinese Dominance In Women’s Singles
Inthanon Ratchanok was the only player capable of stopping an all-Chinese final, but her resistance lasted just 36 minutes as world number 1 Wang Yihan defeated the unseeded Thai in two games to reach the final. The other semi final seen Wang Xin defeat Wang Shixian in another surprise loss for the world number 2, whose form has been hit and miss since the Sudirman Cup and her loss to Juliane Schenk in that event earlier this year.
Danish Delight In Mixed
The neutral’s dream final in the men’s doubles will take place tomorrow, much to the disappointment of the hometown fans who seen their 3rd seeded pair of Boe and Mogensen lose out to the top seeded Chinese pair of Cai and Fu in two games. Their opponents in tomorrow’s final are the Korean pair of Lee and Jung, who defeated Kido and Setiawan in three games to set up their 17th meeting between the world’s top two pairs.
The Chinese monopoly on the women’s doubles continues as Wang And Yu face off against Tian and Zhao, with the 2nd seeded pair mercilessly thumping the Danish pair of Kruse and Roepke 21-12, 21-5 to book their place against the world number 1 pairing who surprisingly dropped a game against 6th seeded Ha and Kim of Korea before progressing into tomorrow’s final.
The success story for Denmark came in the mixed doubles as Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen fed off the partizan crowd to inflict a stunning defeat on the top seeded pair of Zhang and Zhao after saving a match point at 20-19 in the third game before winning three consecutive points to complete their remarkable comeback. Their opponents in the final are another Chinese pair, the 5th seeded Ma and Xu who ended the run of Lee and Ha of Korea in a two game victory to reach the final and experience the same partisan Danish crowd that their team mates faced in tomorrow’s mixed doubles final.
The unlikely upset was dependant on Denmark getting off to a winning start and their stars to recover from recent dips in form. China turned out to be just too strong on the day, as they retained the Sudirman for their 8th success.
Ma and Xu put China into an early advantage with their two game victory over Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen, winning 21-14, 21-14 and leaving Peter Gade needing a victory over Lin Dan to give Denmark any chance of winning. Lin Dan was in no mood to give Denmark a chance to get back into the final, defeating Peter Gade 21-16, 21-11 to put China on the brink of victory.
The men’s doubles did provide a shock as Denmark broke up their world #1 pairing and played Carsten Mogensen with Jonas Rasmussen against Cai and Fu in the men’s doubles. The decision did not reap any rewards as the Danish pair lost 21-17, 21-13 and China took their third and decisive match to retain the Sudirman Cup.
The questions will be asked over Boe and Mogensen’s poor form this week as well as the shock defeats that some of the Chinese women suffered in the singles, both nations had plenty of positives from the week but the real disappointment was the world #1 Danish pair who simply didn’t turn up this week.