With the pending retirement of Lee Chong Wei looming after the 2012 Olympics, the Malaysian world #1 has focused all of his efforts this year claiming one of the few titles to elude him in his career. His performances this year has propelled him to the undoubted favourite for the title, even with Lin Dan in the draw. The Chinese 2nd seed has also allegedly set his retirement after the 2012 Games in London, with both players not even reaching 30. China’s big hope has hand picked the events he has played since his Olympic triumph in Beijing three years ago.
There is the European threat, with Peter Gade who never considered a retirement before the age of 30 but still looking to claim his first world title. He is seeded 3rd this year to break up the Asian dominance in the top seeds this year. The next generation could break through this year with the likes of Chen Long, Kenichi Tago and Du Pengyu all receiving seeds this year.
There are some players to watch also from the 48 unseeded players, Kazushi Yamada reached the last 8 in Paris last year, Shon Wan Ho was a top 16 this year and Spain’s Pablo Abian is one of the most consistent players on the EBU Circuit.
Lee Chong Wei
Seeded – 1
2010 Result – Quarter Finals
1st Round Opponent – Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Thailand)
Likely Threats – Park Sung Hwan (Last 16) Chen Long (QF)
His performances in the past 8 months have put him at a level of invincibility that Lin Dan had going into the 2008 Olympics. His opener against the world #32 Saensomboonsuk is s favourable start as Lee Chong Wei could have hoped for. He hold a 5-0 head to head advantage and has failed to drop a game in any of the five matches.
His 3rd round match if the seeds go according to plan is the world #9 Park Sung Hwan, who he holds an 11-1 head to head advantage against with that single victory for the Korean coming in 2004. Chen Long is a likely quarter final opponent, but the Chinese player has only claimed a single win over the Malaysian in five matches and that was in 2009.
This event is ultimately Lee Chong Wei’s to lose. With four Super Series victories in 2011 already to his name as well as winning two of their last three Super Series against Lin Dan.
Seeded – 2
2010 Result – Quarter Finals
1st Round Opponent – Kestutis Navickas (Lithuania)
Likely Threats – Peter Gade (SF)
The 2009 world champion tamely crashed out last year and controversy had surrounded the Chinese player since. Withdrawals before matches with Chinese players has been given as various injuries but losses to Sho Sasaki as well as Lee Chong Wei on numerous occasions have seen Lin Dan’s aura of invincibility disappear.
It will be his first meeting with Navickas on his opening round match, with a massive question mark looming over a potential quarterfinal match with Du Pengyu. Peter Gade should be his likely semi final opponent, who defeated him in the Swiss Open in 2010 but his overall record over the Dane is an impressive 14-3 in the Chinese players favour.
Lin Dan is capable of winning this event, if he turns up without the controversy that his plagued him for the past 12 months.
Seeded – 3
2010 Result – Semi Finals
1st Round Opponent – Rajiv Ouseph (England)
Likely Threats – Simon Santoso (Last 16) Lin Dan (SF)
The 34-year old goes into the event knowing that he is capable of reaching the final of the world championships, a feat he accomplished ten years ago in Seville. His record against the top two seeds is poor, to say the least but his sole victory of Lee Chong Wei resulted in his last Super Series victory (Korean Open, 2009).
His opening match against England’s Rajiv Ouseph is a favourable one, with the Dane holding a 6-0 head to head advantage and the Englishman failing to claim a single game in any of the six defeats. His 3rd round match against Simon Santoso will be his first main test, with the Indonesian claiming a victory this year against Gade in Korea.
Seeded – 6
2010 Result – Winner
1st Round Opponent – Raul Must (Estonia)
Likely Threats – Taufik Hidayat (QF) Lee Chong Wei (SF)
To say that Chen Jin was a surprise winner last year would be an understatement. It was so improbable that few could have believed that a Taufik Hidayat – Chen Jin final was possible. The two could potentially meet once again at the last 8 stage, with Chen Jin leading the head to head 3-1.
Raul Must is Chen Jin’s first opponent this week and their first meeting ever. Chen Jin’s recent form has been average, after inheriting the Singapore Open title with a Lin Dan withdrawal and three defeats to Sho Sasaki this year has seriously dented his credentials of retaining his world title.
Seeded – 4
2010 – Runner-Up
1st Round Opponent – Rodrigo Pacheco Carrillo (Peru)
Likely Threats – Chen Jin (QF) Lee Chong Wei (SF)
Taufik Hidayat took the decision to play the US Open and Canada Open in the build up to the World Championships and suffered a double dose of defeat from Marc Zwiebler, who defeated him in both tournaments.
His opening match against Peruvian Rodrigo Pacheco is one of the easiest matches the Indonesian could have faced and has already defeated the world #61 previously in the world championships, albeit eight years previously.
Hidayat has to prove he is capable of competing with the top 10 players once again and put the double disappointment of the US and Canada Open behind him.
Seeded – 14
2010 Result – 3rd Round
1st Round Opponent – Valeriy Atrashchenkov (Ukraine)
Likely Threats – Chen Long (Last 16) Lee Chong Wei (QF)
No player is coming into the event on a better run of form than the German, two victories in the US Open and Canada Open has put him well inside the top 20 in the world and with a very favourable opening two rounds before his biggest test against Chen Long.
2010 Result – Quarter Finals
1st Round Opponent – Daniel Paiola (Brazil)
Likely Threats – Du Pengyu (Last 32)
He appeared from almost nowhere in 2010 before losing out to Peter Gade in the quarterfinals, his run last year was a warning to all of the top players that the world championships is the premier event of the year and anyone can beat anyone on their day, can Yamada repeat the feat in 2011?
Seeded – 11
2010 Result – Did Not Play
1st Round Opponent – Brice Leverdez (France)
Likely Threats – Du Pengyu (Last 16) Lin Dan (QF)
His impressive 2011 has made him into a player that nobody wants to face, Lin Dan, Chen Jin, Boonsak Ponsana , Park Sung Hwan and Tien Minh Nguyen have all lost to Sasaki in 2011. His second round match could be easier than his opener against Leverdez, who Sasaki was ranked lower than 12 month previously.
Seeded – 15
2010 Result – 2nd Round
1st Round Opponent – Ajay Jayaram (India)
Likely Threats – Chen Jin (Last 16) Taufik Hidayat (QF)
His heroics in the 2010 All England proved he could play with the best in the world, his impressive wins over Zweibler and Santoso in the Sudirman was a reminder just a few months ago that he is a player not to be taken likely. His most recent match against his potential 3rd round opponent was a victory over Chen Jin in his run the 2010 All England final.
Play begins on August 8, with two days of first round matches.
Men’s Singles Draw:
An excellent field has been whittled down to just 8 in each of the events, with a few unseeded players making headway in the event as well as the welcome return of China’s Wang Lin after a knee operation sidelined her for over 6 months.
Top seed Boonsak Ponsana progressed through both his matches to reach the last 8 and a match against the 9th seeded Tommy Sugiarto from Indonesia. Sugiarto defeated the 5th seeded Kazushi Yamada in his 3rd round match to progress into the quarters. Unseeded Takuma Ueda is also into the last 8 after his victory over the 3rd seeded Hu Yun to set up his quarter final match against Wong Choong Hann, seeded 8. The pick of tomorrow’s quarter final matches sees the 2nd seeded Tien Minh Nguyen taking on the 6th seeded Sho Sasaki, with the Japanese player in excellent form this week as he has progressed into the last 8 without the loss of a game.
Chinese interest is available in both halves of the women’s singles draw, with top seeded Liu Xin taking on Sayaka Sato of Japan in the top match of the quarter finals. In the bottom half, Wang Lin has returned to action with a stunning 21-19, 21-9 win over the 2nd seeded Yip Pui Yin in her opening round match, before defeating Ayana Kurihana in two games to book her place in the quarter final against Adrianti Firdasari of Indonesia, who defeating Ai Goto in her opening round match earlier in the week.
The seeds are well represented in both doubles events, with a distinct Japanese feel to both events. Hashimoto and Hirata are the top seeds in the men’s doubles and have been nothing short of impressive in reaching the last 8. The pick of the matches in the men’s doubles sees the 3rd seeded Malaysians Gan and Tan take on the 5th seeded Endo and Hayakawa of Japan. The top seeds in the women’s doubles, Fujii and Kakiiwa are through to take on the dangerous Malaysia pair of Chin and Wong in their quarter final match. Matsuo and Naito are the seeded Japanese seeds in the last 8, with the 4th seeded pair taking on Choo and Veeran of Australia in their quarter final match up.
The top 7 seeds are all present in the quarter final of the mixed doubles, with the 8th seeded Lee and Lun of the USA defeated by Tan and Ng of Malaysia, who take on Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul in the quarter final. The other Thai pair in the draw is the top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam who take on the 6th seeded Indonesian pair of Widianto and Natsir in their quarter final match.
Korean shuttlers won 7 of the 9 semi-final matches they were featured in today with only Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Joachim Fischer Nielsen and India’s Saina Nehwal denying their respective opponents. With Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen’s win over Lee Yong Dae and Ha Jung Eun they prevented Korea from having a finalist in all finals. The defeated the Korean pair in three very close games 15-21, 21-17, 22-20 and now play Britain’s Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork. The British pair defeated Indonesia’s Tantowi Ahmad and Lilyana Natsir 21-12, 22-20.
Saina Nehwal fought long and hard to prevent an all Korean final by defeating Bae Youn Joo in a 58 minute match. Nehwal won in three games 21-19, 13-21, 21-14 and will have yet another Korean opponent Sung Ji Hyun who had a more straight forward win over Juliane Schenk of Germany.
The remaining events will feature all Korean match ups, a testament to their dominance in Basel this week. In the women’s doubles Ha Jung Eun would avenge her mixed doubles loss with her partner Kim Min Jung by defeating Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl 21-13, 21-19. Next they will face their compatriots Jung Kyung Eun and and Kim Ha Na.
Lee Yong Dae may have been disappointed with his mixed doubles loss, however his mens doubles match went much better. Lee and his partner Jung Jae Sung easily defeated Indonesia’s Gunawan and Chandra in two games 21-12, 21-15. Their opponents will be Yoo Yeon Seong and Ko Sung Hyun who’s semi-final win was much more hard fought. The Korean pair won in three long games 15-21, 26-24, 21-17.
While it was a surprise on paper few would be surprised to hear Lee Hyun Il defeated second seeded Simon Santoso. In spite of his lower ranking the Korean shuttler has been quickly rising up the ranks again and showed he still has what it takes to take out top players with his 17-21, 21-10, 21-10 win over Santoso. Lee will play his compatriot Park Sung Hwan in the finals after Park defeated a tough Wong Choong Han 24-22, 21-13.
Swiss Open Grand Prix Results
Friday’s matches started with the second seeded Simon Santoso sneaking past Sho Sasaki in two close games 21-17, 21-18. Santoso now faces Lee Hyun Il in the semi-finals after Lee knocked out Pablo Abian in his quarter-final match 21-14, 21-12. This fate would escape the top seed Jan Jorgensen who fell to Wong Choong Han. Jorgensen seemed to struggle with the speed of shuttles throughout the match and could not find his depth as many shuttles fell long. Wong won in two straight games 21-11, 21-15 to book his place in the semi-finals against Park Sung Hwan. Park narrowly defeated his opponent AJay Jayaram 21-19, 21-19.
The womens singles event was yet another example of Korea’s strong showing in Basel. Sung Ji Hyun has made her way into the semi-finals and will now face Germany’s Juliane Schenk who ironically enough took out one of Korea’s other hopefuls Kim Moon Hi in two games 21-14, 21-17. On the far side of the draw yet another Korean is through to the semi-finals, Bae Youn Joo. Bae will now face India’s superstar Saina Nehwal who knocked out Petya Nedelcheva 22-20, 21-17.
Korea was omnipresent once again in the womens doubles with two pairs remaining at the semi-finals stage. Ha Jung Eun and Kim Min Jung are set to play Denmark’s Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen who took out the top seeds Cheng and Chien 21-17, 21-19. On the bottom of the draw yet another Korean pair is still in play with Kim Ha Na and Jung Kyung Eun set to play Indonesia’s second seeded pairing of Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii who easily defeated another Korean pair, Jang Ye Na and Kim Min Seo, 21-9, 21-7.
While Dutch pair Ruud Bosch and Koen Ridder may have pulled off a big upset by defeating top seeds Boe and Mogensen their winning ways would not continue as they lost a tough three game match against Chandra and Gunawan 16-21, 21-15, 21-17. The Indonesian pair now have a tough task on hand as they face Korea’s Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae. The bottom of the draw has another Korean pair as Ko Sung Hyun and Yoo Yeon Seong will be set to play Fang and Lee of Chinese Taipei.
Lee Yong Dae and Ha Jung Eun laid a thrashing on the top seeds Chen and Cheng in the mixed doubles winning in two decisive games 21-9, 21-5. The Korean power pair will play Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen in their semi-finals match. Britain’s only remaining players Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork made their way through to the semi-finals after beating Malaysia’s Chan and Goh 21-7, 18-21, 21-16. Wallwork and Robertson will play Indonesia’s Natsir and Ahmad in hopes of booking a place in the finals.
Swiss Open 2011 Results
Saina Newhal had the opportunity to avenge her defeat to Eriko Hirose from the All England today in Basel and it was an opportunity she took advantage of as several big names crashed out in the last 16 in the Swiss Open.
Jan O Jorgensen was one of the top seeds to progress today as he defeated Kazushi Yamada in three games to book her place in tomrorow’s quarter final against Wong Choong Hann, the 12th seed from Malaysia who defeated Dicky Palyama to progress. Park Sung Hwan wasthe first of two Korean successes as Lee Hyun Il defeated his counterpart from Korea, the 5th seeded Shon Wan Ho in a three game victory today. Pablo Abian also defeated the 9th seeded Muhammad Hafiz Hashim to book his place in the quarter final against Lee Hyun Il. 2nd seeded Simon Santoso is also into the quarter finals, where he takes on Sho Sasaki of Japan after both recorded two game victories today.
Juliane Schenk is the sole seed and European left in the top half of the women’s singles draw, with Yao Jie crashing out to Kim Moon Hi of Korea in three games and now takes on Schenk in the last 8. The bottom half of the draw still has three seeds, with Bae Youn Joo defeating Japan’s Sayaka Sato to reach the last 8 whilst the other quarter final sees the 6th seeded Petya Nedelcheva take on Saina Nehwal. Nedelcheva defeated Germany’s Karin Schnaase in two games whilst Saina Nehwal gained revenge for her defeated in the quarter finals last week to win this week in three games and reach the last 8 to take on the Bulgarian 6th seed.
The big shock of the day came with the All England champions and top seeds Boe and Mogensen crashed out to the Dutch pair of Bosch and Ridder in a three game match, with the Dutch’s reward being a quarter final match against the 7th seeded Chandra and Gunawan of Indonesia. Lee and Jung safely progressed into the last 8 where they take on the 8th seeded Germans Kindervater and Schoettler who defeated Malaysia’s Chan and Lim to set up their match with the 3rd seeded Koreans. The 2nd seeded Ko and Yoo had to battle through a tight three game match with Sato and Kawamae to reach the last 8 and a match against the 5th seeded Indonesian pair of Septano and Ahsan who also defeated a Japanese pair in their last 16 match in Hirobe and Kazuno.
Cheng and Chien struggled into the last 8 with a win over Misaki and Takahashi in three games and will take on the lone European pair left in the draw, the 5th seeded Pedersen and Rytter Juhl who defeated Wang and Wang of the USA to reach the last 8. Jauhari and Polii were taken to the brink of elimination before defeating White and Wallwork 24-22 in the deciding game of their match to reach the last 8, where they will take on the unseeded Korean pair of Jang and Kim who defeated the 8th seeded Rie and Wakita in three games.
Lee and Ha’s new partnership has been undefeated to date, with the 8th seeds winning both matches to date comfortably but face their toughest test against the top seeds Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei who came through a three game match against Ikeda and Shiota to reach the last 8. Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen defeated the German Open champions Blair and White in two games to reach the quarter finals and they are joined in the last 8 by another Danish pair, Pieler Kolding and Houmann who take on the 5th seeded pair of Ahsan and Natsir in their quarter final. 2nd seeded Wallwork and Robertson are also safely into the last 8 after a two game victory over Triyachart and Yao of Singapore.
Another two top seeds crashed out on a day of shocks in Paris as several big names crashed out on quarterfinals day.
The men’s singles suffered two major casualties, both on the top half of the draw as World #1 and top seed Lee Chong Wei was defeated by a re-energised Taufik Hidayat who continues his excellent run at this years event with a three-game, 61 minute victory over the Malaysian. Many expected a classic match against Lin Dan in the semi finals, only for Park Sung Hwan of Korea to end the Chinese 3rd seed run at the last 8. His 21-13, 21-13 win over Lin Dan sent shockwaves in the draw, piling pressure on Gade to seize the opportunity that the days play had offered him, a chance at the world championship.
Chen Jin awaited the winner of Gade’s match, securing his place in the last 4 with a three-game win over Hsueh Hsuan Yi of Chinese Taipei in 64 minutes. Peter Gade entered the arena as the clear fans favourite and delivered a masterful performance over Kazushi Yamada, winning in two games 21-19, 21-12 to set up a semi final clash with Chen Jin.
The second seed in the women’s draw crashed out as Saina Nehwal was comfortably beaten by the 6th seeded Wang Shixian of China, the two game 35 minute encounter was completely dominated by the Chinese player who rightfully deserved her place in the semi final in her first world championships. Her opponent in the semi finals is the 3rd seeded Wang Xin of China, who ended the hopes of a French world champion with her 21-13, 21-15 win over Pi Hongyan in 34 minutes.
The other semi final features Wang Lin of China, the 7th seed avenged the defeat of Wang Yihan today with a two game win over Eriko Hirose, winning 21-16, 21-17 to take on the last European in the draw, Tine Baun of Denmark. The 4th seed defeated the unseeded Cheng Shao Chieh in two games to set up her last 4 encounter with Wang Lin.
The top seeds in the men’s doubles are still in the competition, as Koo and Tan defeated last years finalists Lee and Jung in three games in a 72-minute encounter to set up a semi final against Guo and Xu who defeated Paaske and Rasmussen in two games to reach the last 4. The other semi final sees the second seeded Kido and Setiawan, who defeated the 6th seeded Fang and Lee take on the form duo of the competition and reigning champions, Cai and Fu of China. The 5th seeds defeated Mogensen and Boe in a clinical 41-minute, two game victory to set up a semi final against the 2nd seeds.
The top four seeds in the women’s doubles remain intact at the semi final stage, with top seeds Ma and Wang coming through their quarter final in three games over Ha and Kim of Korea to set up an all-Chinese semi final against 4th seeded Cheng and Zhao. The other semi final sees the 2nd seeded Du and Yu take on the 3rd seeded Cheng and Chien who have both reached the last 4 without the loss of a game this week.
The top seeds in the mixed doubles also fell today, with Widianto and Natsir losing to Zheng and Ma of China, the 8th seeds in two games. The 12th seeded Ko and Ha are also an unexpected pair to be still in the draw at this late stage, they defeated the 9th seeded India pairing of Diju and Gutta in two games in the first match on Court 2 today.
The other semi final is features another unlikely duo, the 16th seeded Lee and Chien of Chinese Taipei who defeated the 10th seeded Jiaming and Yawen in three games in just under a hour to book their place in the last 4. They will play He and Yu of China after their two game victory over the current world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl in 43 minutes.
As we head into the semi-finals of the New Zealand Open Grand Prix, a few countries are well represented. In the men’s singles Hong Kong has two remaining players as Yan Kit Chan and Wing Ki Wong face off against Kazushi Yamada and Andre Tedjono respectively. The unseeded Wing Ki Wong did well to upset England’s number one ranked player Andrew Smith in a lopsided match winning 21-9, 21-16.
In the women’s singles it’s Japan going strong with 3 out of the 4 remaining competitors. Eriko Hirose upset the top seeded Yip Pui Yin 21-11, 21-15 to book her place in the semis against her teammate Sayaka Sato. Meanwhile on the bottom of the draw Indonesia’s Maria Febe Kusumastuti will be facing the second seeded Japanese shuttler Megumi Taruno in hopes of upsetting Japan’s domination in the event.
For more results view the draw:
New Zealand Open Grand Prix 2009 Draws
After the first day’s results there have been few seeds slain, with the exception of France’s Brice Leverdez who lost to Indonesia’s Yoga Pratama and Lee Tsuen Seng who withdrew from the tournament. Surprising though was the loss of last week’s Australian Open Grand Prix winner Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka to Japan’s Kazushi Yamada 14-21, 21-16, 21-12.
Tomorrow might yield some interesting matches with R.M.V Gurusai Datt playing the top seed Yan Kit Chan, Koichi Saeki playing second seeded Andre Tedjono, and a few others worth keeping an eye out for.
The other events have yet to start at this point in time as a result of what seem to be some fairly small draws, so keep an eye out there as well, since we could see some other exciting matches.