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.
From 10am on Wednesday, all the way to Wang Xin’s entrance onto court at 2.15am local time that topped one of the longest and most dramatic days of badminton in recent memory.
Gade Crashes Out
Peter Gade walked onto court at 1.15am local time, 5 hours later than scheduled and after claiming the first, the 4th seed hoped to get off court in double quick time. Rajiv Ouseph took the second game and with it came the realisation that the end of Gade’s history at this event was coming to an end. After going 12-1 down in third, he mounted three minor comebacks before losing the deciding game 21-14.
The likes of Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan were most likely asleep whilst play ended, with both securing a place in the second round tomorrow with routine two game victories. Kenichi Tago defeated Viktor Axelsen in two games in a match that could be repeated countless times in the next decade, with these two players highly regarded as the future of the game. Tago takes on Kazushi Yamada in an all-Japanese second round match. Taufik Hidayat takes on Chen Jin in the second round in one of the matches of the day, with both players progressing in two games today.
5 From 16 For China
Am almost full compliment of Chinese players reached the last 16 in the women’s singles, with Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian booking their places in the second round. Juliane Schenk, Tine Baun and Saina Nehwal leading the non-Chinese charge with Schenk and Nehwal needing three games to progress and the 8th seeded German finishing her game just before 2am local time.
Wang Xin was another big name casualty today, arriving on court at 2.15 local time against Sung Ji Hyun of Korea and failing to produce anything like her best in a 21-8, 21-13 defeat to the world number 12. Li Xuerui is the only Chinese player left in the bottom half of the draw, after battling back from a game down to defeat Bulgaria’s Linda Zechiri.
Bankier and Adcock Strike Again
Ko and Yoo were another big name to crash out on the opening day, with the Korean 4th seeds losing out to Fang and Lee of Chinese Taipei in two games. Lee and Jung had little trouble in reaching the second round, neither did Cai and Fu in their straight forward win over Liu and Ng of Canada. Boe and Mogensen are the main European threat this week and progressed to a second round meeting against Kido and Setiawan tomorrow. Adcock and Ellis kept local interest alive in the competition with a opening round win, but take on the 2nd seeded Lee and Jung in the second round tomorrow.
Wang and Yu made light work of Wallwork and White in their return from a 2-month hiatus, whilst their team mates Ma and Zhong surprised the 4th seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa with a three game victory. The third Chinese pair through is the unseeded pair of Huan and Tang, the German Open winners set up a second round match against Chien and Cheng of Chinese Taipei after their three game victory in the opening round. The fourth Chinese pair are the 2nd seeded Tian and Zhao, who defeated Chin and Wong of Malaysia to reach the second round.
Adcock and Bankier defeated Zhang and Zhao for the second time this year to reverse the result of the 2011 world championship final. A stunning three game victory sees them topple the world number 1 pairing in both Super Series Premier events this year and set up a second round clash with Yoo and Jang of Korea. Lee and Ha were another seeded pair to crash out today, with the 7th seeds losing out to Sato and Matsuo of Japan in two games. Ma and Xu cruised into the second round as one of only two Chinese pairs left in the draw, with He and Yixin defeating Fuchs and Michels of Germany to also reach the last 16. Robertson and Wallwork are also into the last 16, where they will take on the 5th seeded Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei as they battle with Adcock and Bankier for the GB spot at the 2012 Olympics.
The world’s elite descend on Birmingham for the last Premier event of the Olympic qualifying year and also the last visit for some of the world’s greatest players set to retire in London in less than 6 months time.
Gade’s Last Run
Gade confirmed on Sunday evening that this would be his last All England as a player. The 4th seed starts with a first round match against his opponent at the 2011 World Championships, England’s Rajiv Ouseph. Gade has won the previous 7 encounters against Ouseph, all in two games. Top seed Lee Chong Wei is also in Gade’s half of the draw, taking on the dangerous Wang Zhengming in his opening round match but the world number 1 has won all four of their matches in two games also.
Lin Dan enters the tournament as the form player with his fantastic run in Germany last week, he takes on India’s Ajay Jayaram in his opening round match for their first meeting. The bottom half of the draw is loaded with Chinese threats with Chen Jin and Chen Long all likely to make deep runs this week. Taufik Hidayat has dropped to 12th in the world rankings and has been displaced as Indonesia’s #1 player by Simon Santoso. His status as Indonesia’s number 2 should remain unless Tommy Sugiarto defeats Chen Jin in his opening round match, with Hidayat taking on Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon in the first round.
Chinese Strength On Show
China have only brought a mere 6 players for the women’s singles, with all of them ranked inside the top 10 in the world. Liu Xin is the only unseeded of the six and takes on Michelle Li of Canada before a likely second round match against top seeded Wang Yihan.
Should the Chinese team allow their players to play one another, this could be a fascinating week of play with six players attempting to qualify for potentially three spots in the Olympics. Wang Xin and Wang Shixian hold the other two qualifying places and both have tough openers. Wang Xin takes on the world number 12 Sung Ji Hyun of Korea whilst Wang Shixian takes on the world number 10 and world silver medalist
Cheng Shao Chieh.
Tine Baun and Juliane Schenk lead the European charge, with Baun taking on Fu Mingtian of Singapore in her opening round match whilst Juliane Schenk takes on the world number 13 Bae Youn Joo in her opening round match. The sub-plots begin on Tuesday when qualifying takes place with Susan Egelstaff and Elizabeth Cann fighting for the GB spot at the Olympics, both have been in poor runs of form but could play each other in the final qualifying round on Tuesday night in what could be a decider for the Olympic spot.
China The Nation To Beat
China hold the top seed in all three doubles events, with Cai and Fu on route to take on Lee and Jung for their 21st encounter. Last week’s winners Hong and Shen are in Lee and Jung’s half of the draw also as well as Boe and Mogensen of Denmark. Cai and Fu’s main threat in their half in the Korean pair of Ko and Yoo, their world championship opponents.
Wang and Yu have been off the radar for almost 2 months after their stunning loss to Ha and Kim in Korea, they still remain the top seeds in the women’s doubles and will face a qualifier in their opening round. Their main rivals Tian and Zhao start with Chin and Wong of Malaysia, the world number 14 pairing. Ha and Kim are the 3rd seeds this week and are in the bottom half of the draw and have a rematch of their opening round in Germany last week against Sari and Yao of Singapore who defeated them in three games.
The mixed doubles offers another Zhang and Zhao against Adcock and Bankier rematch in the first round, after meeting in the first round in Korea with the British pair coming up on top. Adcock and Bankier are also in a tight qualification fight against Robertson and Wallwork who take on the world number 11 Thai pairing of Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul in the opening round. Xu and Ma are the second seeds this week and start with under the circumstances an “easy” game against the world number 31 pairing of Kim and Jung of Korea. The Danish contingent could face off in the quarter final, but the 3rd seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen take on the new Chinese partnership of Jiaming and Huan. Last week’s German Open winners Laybourn and Rytter Juhl await a qualifier in their opening round.
The story of the day was the hope of a title remaining in Germany with Juliane Schenk but at the end of play on Sunday, the storyline was nothing new as China took 4 of the 5 titles.
Danish Delight In Mixed
The only title not won by the Chinese was the mixed doubles, won by Laybourn and Rytter Juhl who defeated their higher seeded opponents Lee and Ha in a stunning 21-9, 21-16 victory to ensure one title would remain in Europe and giving the Danish pair a massive boost going into the All England Championships.
Four For China
Lin Dan was the overwhelming favourite at the start of the week and was rarely tested throughout the week, claiming victory in the final over Simon Santoso 21-11, 21-11 to claim the men’s singles title. Huan and Tang took the women’s doubles title with a two game victory over Jung and Kim of Korea. The Korean’s could have claimed three titles today also which was another storyline of the day as they left with none.
Hong and Shen stunned the top seeded Lee and Jung in the men’s doubles final, winning their tight three game match in 65 minutes to ensure Lee Yong Dae would leave Germany empty handed. Li Xuerui finished the run of Juliane Schenk at the final hurdle in the women’s singles final, a spirited performance from Schenk was to no avail as the 2nd seeded Chinese player took the title 21-19, 21-16.
Germany’s hope of a title on home soil lies with Juliane Schenk, the 3rd seeded topped the world number 2 Wang Xin to reach the women’s singles final.
Chinese Presence In Singles Finals
Lin Dan progressed into tomorrow’s men’s singles final with a straight forward two game victory over Tommy Sugiarto to stop any chance of an all-Indonesian final. Simon Santoso defeated Jan O Jorgensen in two games to set up a 10th meeting with Lin Dan, with his sole victory coming by way of walkover in 2007. Li Xuerui takes on Juliane Schenk in the women’s singles final after the 2nd seed topped Gu Juan in her semi final in two games.
Lee Going For Two Titles
Lee Yong Dae has successfully reached the mixed and men’s doubles finals, losing just two games on route to both finals. Lee and Jung defeated the Japanese pairing of Endo and Hayakawa but their 2nd seeded team-mates Ko and Yoo crashed out in the second semi final to the unseeded pair of Hong and Shen. This is the 6th meeting between the pairs, with the top seeded Koreans winning the previous 5 matches.
The 7th and 8th seeds will play in the women’s doubles final, with the 7th seeded Jung and Kim defeating the 2nd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa to reach the final. The second semi final saw the 8th seeded Huan and Tang defeating Cheng and Pan in an all-Chinese semi final. The 8th seeded Chinese pair hold a 1-0 advantage in the head to head in previous meetings.
Lee and Ha needed over an hour to defeat the unseeded Japanese pairing of Sato and Matsuo before booking their place in the mixed doubles final. Their opponent will be the 2009 world champions, Laybourn and Rytter Juhl who defeated the 2nd seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in the second semi final. This will be the first meeting between the world number 7 and 8 pairings.
The week begun with high hopes for Marc Zwiebler and Juliane Schenk, but going into the weekend there is only Juliane Schenk left in the draw from all of the German entries that started the week.
Jorgensen Keeps European Hopes Alive
Lin Dan progressed into the semi finals with a tough two game victory over Hans-Kristian Vittinghus where he will take on Tommy Sugiarto after the Indonesian defeated Ville Lang in his quarter final encounter. Simon Santoso ensured a double Indonesian threat with his victory over Shon Wan Ho but needed 79 minutes and also to save a match point to ensure his place in the last 4. Jan O Jorgensen defeated Wong Wing Ki in his quarter final in two game to ensure at least one European player still playing at the weekend.
Schenk Faces Toughest Task
Juliane Schenk claimed a three game victory over Inthanon Ratchanok in just over an hour to book her place in the semi finals. Her opponent in the last 4 is the top seeded Wang Xin, who needed three games to defeated Sung Ji Hyun which will give Schenk some hope of an upset tomorrow even though she has lost all of her three meetings with the world number 2 without taking a game in either. The other semi final sees Li Xuerui take on the unseeded Gu Juan of Singapore, with the added intrigue that Gu Juan beat the 2nd seed in their last encounter in China last September.
European Interest Down To 1
Only Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl have any hope of an Asian clean sweep in the doubles events, with the 4th seeds defeating Yoo and Jang in their quarter final and take on the 2nd seeded Thai pair of Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in the semi final. Lee and Ha take on the unseeded Japanese pair of Sato and Matsuo in the other semi final, with Lee Yong Dae looking for two titles this week.
Lee and partner Jung Jae Sung are through to the semi finals of the women’s doubles with a walkover against Kim and Kim in their quarter final match. They take on the unseeded pair of Endo and Hayakawa in their semi final match and the chance of an all-Korean final looms large with the 2nd seeded Ko and Yoo taking on Hong and Shen of China in the second semi final.
China have ensured a place in Sunday’s women’s doubles final, with Cheng and Pan taking on the 8th seeded Huan and Tang in the semi finals, with the seeded pair defeating the 3rd seeds Maeda and Suetsuna of Japan to reach the last 4. Fujii and Kakiiwa ensure at least some Japanese involvement, as the 2nd seeds take on the Korean pair of Jung and Kim in the other semi final.
It was a day of double disappointment for the German fans, as one of their unseeded doubles pairing crashed out but more surprisingly saw the exit of the 7th seeded Marc Zwiebler.
Lang Outlasts Thomsen
The opening match of the day turned out to be the highlight of the day, as Ville Lang and Christian Lind Thomsen played what could be the longest match of the year. The 104-minute encounter was one of the closest faught matches of the year to date, with the Finn coming through 19-21, 21-19, 21-16 to book his place in the last 8 against Tommy Sugiarto after the Indonesia defeated Lee Hyun Il in his third round match.
Hans-Kristian Vittinghus’ reward for defeating Marc Zwiebler in his third round match is a quarter final against the top seed Lin Dan. The Chinese top seed is the only seed remaining from the top 4, with 3rd seed Sho Sasaki losing out to Shon Wan Ho whilst the 2nd seeded Chen Jin was defeated by Wong Wing Ki in two games.
Schenk Into Last 8
The big German hope this week lay with the 3rd seeded Juliane Schenk and so far, she has progressed into the latter stages without much resistance. A tough test awaits in Inthanon Ratchanok but the German holds a 2-0 head to head record against the world number 11. The top two seeds have been just as impressive as Schenk, with Wang Xin taking on Sung Ji Hyun in her toughest match of the week to date whilst Li Xuerui takes on Hong Kong’s Chen Tsz Ka in her quarter final matchup.
Asian Dominance In Doubles
21 of the 24 pairs remaining in the three events are from Asia, with a lone Danish pair and two pairs from Germany making up the list. The men’s doubles is an all-Asia affair, with Lee and Jung taking on Kim and Kim in an all-Korean quarter final. The 2nd seeds Ko and Yoo take on the 5th seeded Hashimoto and Hirata of Japan in the last 8, but the Japanese pair have won their previous two encounters.
Marinello and Michels took full advantage of the loss of the top seeds by progressing to the last 8 after a victory over the pairing of Sari and Yao who defeated the top seeded Ha and Kim in the opening round. Their quarter final opponents are the unseeded Chinese pair of Cheng and Pan who defeated the 6th seeded Jauhari and Polii to reach the last 8.
The two European seeds in the mixed doubles still remain, with Laybourn and Rytter Juhl taking on the Korean pair of Yoo and Jang in their quarter final match whilst the 8th seeded German pairing of Fuchs and Michels also take on a Korean pair. The 3rd seeded Lee and Ha wait in the quarter finals with the winning pair being the sole seeded pair left in the top half of the draw after the exit of the top seeded Chen and Cheng to Korean’s Kim and Jung in two games.
Gade’s defeat to Kenichi Tago was a massive blow to the Danish squad but the heroics of Jan O Jorgensen in his three game victory over the World and Olympic champion Lin Dan stole the headlines on day 2.
Lee Chong Wei Takes On Taufik
The doubters over Taufik’s desire to continue to perform at the highest level have lessened of the past month, with a victory in India and his run this week to the last 8 after this victory over Tien Minh Nguyen. His opponent in the last 8 is the world number 1 Lee Chong Wei who defeat Kazushi Yamada in two games to reach the quarter finals.
The doubters have now focussed on Peter Gade. Two early exits in Korea and this week in Malaysia to Kenichi Tago have put question marks over Gade’s chances at the London Olympics. Jan O Jorgensen could well be a legitimate contender to take over the Danish number 1 spot ahead of the summer after a stunning three game victory over Lin Dan in one of the last matches of the day.
5 From 8 For The Chinese
Only Tine Baun stopped a full compliment of Chinese players entering the quarter finals, with the Dane defeating Liu Xin in two games to set up the only quarter final without Chinese interest against Saina Nehwal of India. Juliane Schenk doubles the European involvement in the latter stages, but takes on the 3rd seed Wang Shixian in her quarter final matchup. Two all-Chinese matchups make up the remaining quarter finals, with top seeded Wang Yihan taking on Li Xuerui in the first of the quarter finals whilst Wang Xin takes on Jiang Yanjiao in the more competitive of the two matches.
Seeds Topple Throughout The Doubles
Just two rounds in and the draws for all three doubles events have been decimated. Just three seeds remain in the men’s doubles, headlined by the 3rd seeded Chai and Guo who take on Kido and Setiawan to be the last remaining seed left in the top half of the draw. Hashimoto and Hirata are the last seeds left in the bottom half of the draw and they take on Kim and Kim of Korea in their quarter final match, with the Korean’s taking out the 4th seeded Koo and Tan to ensure their place in the last 8.
The women’s doubles is often the event where 8 seeds will make up the last 8 but not this week. Just five seeds remain with top seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa taking on the 7th seeded Rytter Juhl and Pedersen in the last 8. Hoo and Woon take on Zhong and Yixin in the only quarter final without a seed taking part and the only Chinese pair left in the draw. 2nd seeded Ha and Kim take on the final unseeded pair left in the draw, taking on Chin and Wong of Malaysia in their quarter final match.
Just three seeds remain in the mixed doubles also, with the Russian pair of Nikolaenko and Sorokina continuing their excellent form to start the year. Their reward for defeating the 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl is a quarter final against the current world champions, Zhang and Zhao of China. Xu and Ma take on Lee and Ha of Korea in the bottom half of the draw in a rematch of the Korean Open final, a match that the Chinese pair won in three games.