Four titles were a possibility for China on finals day, but managed just half that tally as the host nation took down higher seeds to ensure two titles for the host nation whilst Lee Chong Wei ensured a title for Malaysia in the men’s singles.
Lee Chong Wei started 2013 perfectly with a two game victory over China’s Du Pengyu, with the Malaysian failing to drop a game after his opening round scare to Wang Zhengming and will go into his home Super Series event on a high. Sung Ji Hyun claimed Korea’s only singles title with a two game victory over the 5th seeded Wang Shixian to avenge her 2010 defeat in this event to the Chinese player.
Lee and Ko defeated Boe and Mogensen in the men’s doubles final, but not before losing the opening game 21-19 but a far dominant display from the Korean’s in the next two games ensured Lee and Ko’s meteoric rise up the rankings continued. Wang and Yu defeated Ma and Tang in the first final of the day in a straightforward two game match for the 2011 World Champions first title of 2013.
Ma Jin fell short in the mixed doubles final also, losing with her partner Xu Chen to the world and Olympic champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei. The top seeded pair did take the opening game but failed to capitalise and lost the next two games to ensure a 12th defeat to Zhang and Zhao in their 14 encounters to date.
Finals Day Results:
Even with all the Chinese withdrawals that have marred the week’s play, they still have a chance at four of the five titles in Seoul. Only the men’s doubles will not feature a Chinese pair but instead have Korean and Danish interest in tomorrow’s final. Lee Yong Dae will look to go one better than last year after suffering defeat to Cai and Fu in the 2012 final.
Lee Chong Wei has rarely been troubled on route to the final and Wong Wing Ki did little to challenge the top seed in a one-sided semi final. Du Pengyu will be the Malaysian’s opponent in the first Super Series final of 2013 after his two game victory over Sony Dwi Kuncoro, who returned to the top 10 in the world rankings this week.
Wang Shixian will be the sole Chinese player in a women’s singles final as she looks to defend her title against Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun in a rematch of the 2010 final that the Chinese player won in two games. It is Wang Shixian’s fourth consecutive final in Korea and has won two of her three finals to date.
The world number 1 pairing of Boe and Mogensen takes on the form pair in Lee and Ko in the men’s doubles final. They have met once previously in China at the last Premier event of 2012, which the Danish pair won in two games. Only the Danes have dropped a game this week, in their semi final victory over Hong and Shen whilst Lee and Ko defeated the second seeded Koo and Tan to reach the final.
The women’s and mixed doubles final will be all-Chinese affairs, both featuring Ma Jin. Ma and Tang take on the top seeded Wang and Yu after their three game victory over Pedersen and Rytter Juhl, seeded 2nd this week. It was their second win against a higher seeded pair after their victory over Matsutomo and Takahashi in the quarterfinals. The top seeded Xu and Ma take on Zhang and Zhao as they renew their rivalry that begun at this event two years ago. It will be their 14th meeting, with Xu and Ma failing to any matchups in 2012 and winning just 2 of the previous 13 encounters.
Semi Final Results:
A new year offers a new start and a new motivation after the obvious comedown from an Olympic year. The goals for the year alter from London 2012 with all eyes on Guangzhou and the World Championships in early August. Before the summer spectacle, the Super Series and Super Series Premier will pit the best against the best in 2013.
The world’s elite converge in Korea for the first Super Series Premier of the year with the biggest prize fund of the year on offer. 2013 is a year of change within the badminton world, with new events and the last of certain Super Series before the new 2014 schedule. London gains a GP Gold event in early October that leads as a build-up event to the Denmark/France Super Series later in the month.
It will be the last Super Series in Malaysia before it’s upgrade to Premier status in 2013 and China loses its Super Series event this year with Australia claiming Super Series status in 2014 but the China Super Series Premier remains. There will be no Peter Gade in 2013, retiring late last year with a last famous victory over Lin Dan. The double-Olympic champion will pick and choose his events as always and is a noticeable absence in Korea this week.
Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long will be the favourites for the title in the men’s singles but a wealth of Chinese talent looking to defeat the top seed in the opening event of 2013. Wang Zhengming will be the first to claim a victory over the Malaysian and a likely Chinese opponent in the semi final should Lee Chong Wei reach the last 4. Victor Axelsen takes on Taufik Hidayat as the old guard meets the new generation in the match of the opening round.
The women’s singles offers the expected Chinese dominance, with four seeds from the eight but like the men’s singles, a new generation coming through to the overthrow the Chinese hierarchy in the event. Ratchanok Intanon is the newest in line to attempt to defeat the world’s elite and Saina Nehwal will also continue her quest to become world number 1. Tine Baun plays her last Korea Open ahead of her retirement after the All Englands before Juliane Schenk takes over the mantle of the sole European threat at the Super Series level.
Lee and Ko’s meteoric surge up the rankings sees them seeded 6th but any thoughts of a dream final against Cai and Fu will be tempered with neither pair having an easy run to next Sunday’s final. Koo and Tan are the 2nd seeds in Korea and likely semi final opponents for the Koreans whilst Cai and Fu will probably have to defeat the top seeded Boe and Mogensen in order to reach the final.
The women’s doubles is the event to watch after the farcical events of the Olympics. Wang and Yu have returned to competitive action and their biggest rivals of the past few years have been split up to create two new partnerships. It offers Chinese a similar chance to dominate the doubles event as much as the singles with four partnerships that will likely feature in the top 10 in the coming months. Zhao Yunlei forms a new partnership with Cheng Shu, Tian Qing joins with Bao Yixin as well as Ma and Tang will offer Wang and Yu a stern test in 2013.
The mixed doubles offers the closest resemblance to 2012 with a similar field to the previous year. Chris Adcock and Gabby White are the top pairing from the six new English pairings whilst Jillie Cooper and Robert Blair will offer the only chance of Scottish success in the event. The usual suspects are all present in Korea, with Kamilla Rytter Juhl partnering Mads Pieler Kolding after Thomas Laybourn’s retirement after the London Olympics. Ma and Xu are the top seeds, with their Chinese rivals Zhang and Zhao seeded 4th in the 2013 opener.
Play begins in Korea on Tuesday, January 8.
The final match of the second day in Hong Kong gave us the first look at the present elite against the future elite as the world number 1 took on the 2010 world junior champion in the last of the second round games in the men’s singles.
Lee Chong Wei Into Last 8
For the opening portion of the match, there was little to separate the two players but Lee Chong Wei eventually progressed safely in two games against Viktor Axelsen, but there will be positives to be taken for the Dane ahead of next week’s China Open. Ajay Jayaram is the Malaysian’s quarter final opponent after the Indian’s victory over Hashim of Malaysia in three games. Lin Dan takes on Shon Wan Ho in his quarter final, with the Korean beating the 8th seeded Marc Zwiebler in his second round match.
Indian qualifier RMV Gurusaidutt has been the story of the bottom half of the draw, he impressed in qualifying and today provided the biggest victory over his career over the 7th seeded Du Pengyu of China. His reward is another Chinese player in the next round, the 2nd seeded Chen Long for a place in the semi finals. The fourth quarter final is a battle of the veterans of the game as Peter Gade takes on Chen Jin for the 11th time. Gade was forced to three games by Yamada in his second round match whilst Chen Jin disposed of Gade’s countryman Jan O Jorgensen in just two games.
Triple Threat From China
Three Chinese and three Japanese players started the last 16, only Ai Goto remains from the Japanese squad whilst all of the Chinese seeds are into the last 8. Ai Goto takes on the top seeded Wang Yihan tomorrow, with her record against the world number 1 far from stellar with just one game won in their four meetings to date. The only match not containing a Chinese player sees the 4th seeded Saina Nehwal take on Tine Baun as they meet for only the 4th time, with the Indian taking their most recent match at the Indonesia Premier event in June.
Bach and Gunawan match into quarterfinals
The 2005 world champions have managed once again to upset the worlds elite and reach the last 8 of a Super Series event. After their three game victory over Kawamae and Sato they have the unenviable task of taking on the world number 1 pairing of Cai and Fu, with the Chinese pair looking to continue their unbeaten run to 7 against the American pair. The two Korean threats of Lee and Jung as well as Ko and Yoo are on a collision course for the semi finals after both pairs won in two games to reach the last 8.
Win number 51 of the year was never in doubt for Wang And Yu, taking their streak of matches without the loss of a game to 8, dating back their semi final victory in Denmark last month. Tian and Zhao amassed their 41st win of the year and look set to meet their Chinese team-mates Wang and Yu in the final for the third straight Super Series event, who have been responsible for 6 of the 8 losses inflicted on Tian and Zhao.
Four of the remaining eight pairs in the mixed doubles are Chinese, with at least Chinese pair guaranteed in the last 4 from the all-Chinese quarter final of Zhang and Zhao against He and Yixin. The possibility of an all-Chinese semi final lies in the hands of Pan and Hong, who take on Chen and Cheng after both pairs progressed to the last 8 in two games. Ko and Eom of Korea take on the on form Danish pair of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen whilst Valeria Sorokina’s excellent week sees her in both the women’s doubles and mixed doubles quarter finals after defeating seeds in both her second round matches. Sorokina partners Nikolaenko in her quarter final in the mixed doubles against Xu and Ma of China.
The unlikely run of Kenichi Tago in last years All England pushed him into the spotlight for the first time, since then he has maintained his place in the top 25 in the world. He faces Lee Chong Wei for the 7th time tomorrow, with the last match taking place a year ago exactly in this event in 2010.
If the presence of the world number 1 Lee Chong Wei wasn’t enough to get him onto the TV Court, a match against Japan’s sole player left in the draw would surely be enough. Both players come into the match without losing a game in their opening two matches but the Malaysia will be the massive favourite with wins in the six previous matchups. Lin Dan’s understated start in the event has resulted in a pair of three game matches which he has progressed from, but faces Chen Jin in the quarter final with the lower seeded Chen Jin winning their previous match in China last week. Gade and Jorgensen ensure European interest in the last 8, with the 3rd seeded Gade taking on Simon Santoso and Jorgensen playing Chen Long in a Chinese-heavy bottom half of the draw.
Tai Tzu Pai pulled out of the biggest shock in the women’s singles with a three game victory over the 3rd seeded Wang Xin. Her reward is another Chinese opponent in the 6th seeded Liu Xin, with the winner of the match playing the match of the day in the women’s singles with top seeded Wang Yihan taking on Tine Baun in the other match in the top half of the draw. Wang Shixian against Juliane Schenk is another intriguing match, with Schenk’s victory over Wang Shixian putting the 2nd seed into a recent slump in form at the Sudirman in May.
The usual suspects are present in the men’s doubles, with Cai and Fu safely into the last 8, joined also by Koo and Tan, Ahsan and Septano, Kido and Setiwan who are also joined by Korea’s pairing of Lee and Ko, who take on the 6th seeded Kido and Setiawan in the quarter finals. Chandra and Gunawan are also a perennial contender, with the 7th seeds taking on Cai and Fu for a place in the semi finals.
The Chinese have usually three or more pairs in a women’s doubles quarter final draw, but this week it is down to just one unseeded pair in Yixin and Zhong. The Canadian Open winners take on the Japanese pair of Matsuo and Naito, who are seeded 6 this week and one of two remaining Japanese pairs in the draw. Another unseeded pair on a unlikely run is the Korean pair of Eom and Jung, who face their first seed of the week in the quarter final against Chen and Chien of Chinese Taipei. Tian and Zhao were Chinese’s big hope after Wang and Yu’s withdrawal but lost out to Danish pair of Rytter Juhl and Pedersen in two games to face the unlikely scenario of a non-Chinese winner in the women’s doubles.
Zhang and Zhao against Ma and Xu has been a matchup riddled with retirements, their previous two encounters both failed to reach the distance and with a third installment schedule for tomorrow, many are hoping for a replay of their Asian Championships matchup instead of their previous two anti-climatic results. Sato and Matsuo fly the flag for Japan as the sole pair left in the draw and take on Denmark’s Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen in the favourable side of the draw with the defeat of 2nd seeded Ahmad and Natsir to Chinese qualifiers Hong and Pan to open up the bottom half of the draw.
Korea took every opportunity on finals day and walked away with four titles, with Ko Sung Hyun taking two titles in the doubles.
Tommy Sugiarto was the one that stopped the Korean monopoly on the titles this week, defeating 15th seed Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in three games in the longest match of the day, with Sugiarto taking the title in three games 21-15 , 15-21, 21-17. The women’s title was won by Sung Ji Hyun, the 4th seeded also defeated her Thai opponent in the final in the 3rd seeded Inthanon Ratchanok, winning 22-20, 21-14 in 44 minutes.
The doubles was a Korean whitewash, with Ko and Yoo defeating their teammates Lee and Jung in a surprise victory with the 2nd seeds winning in two games, which levels their overall head to head at 3-3. Ha and Kim lost the opening game to Jauhari and Polii, only to fight back and take the 2nd game before the Indonesia pair had to retire at 2-0 in the deciding game to award the title to the Korean pair. Ko and Eom were the story of the mixed doubles, unseeded at the start of the week but defeated two seeds on route to the final before their best performance of the week in their victory over the top seeded Ahmad and Natsir in three games to claim the mixed doubles title.
The hope of a title remaining in Chinese Taipei ended today, with the defeat of Pai Hsiao Ma in the women’s singles and the top seeded Cheng and Chien crashing out of the women’s doubles.
They weren’t the only top seed to crash out, with Tien Minh Nguyen’s defeat to Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in two games and the Thai’s reward is a match with 6th seeded Tommy Sugiarto in the final. Sugiarto won the all-Indonesian semi final against Sony Dwi Kuncoro in 69 minutes and will take on the 15th seed in their first matchup for the title tomorrow.
Sung Ji Hyun ended Pai Hsiao Mai’s run at the semi final stage with a convincing two game victory, many expected an all-Korean final but Thailand’s 3rd seeded Inthanon Ratchanok defeated the 2nd seeded Bae Youn Joo in the other semi final in two games to book her place in the final against Hyun as the world number 12 and 13 do battle for the title.
There is one all-Korean final in the men’s doubles, as Lee and Jung take on Ko and Yoo. The top two seeds have progressed without much resistance this week and have quashed rumours that Lee and Ko were set to team up ahead of the Olympic Games next year. Jauhari and Polii ended the run of the top seeded Chinese Taipei pair of Cheng and Chien in one of the shortest matches of the day to set up a final against the 2nd seeded Kim and Ha who defeated the unseeded pairing of Hoo and Woon of Malaysia.
Lee and Ha’s run in the mixed doubles ended at the hands of Ahmad and Natsir, the top seeded Indonesians. However, one unseeded Korean pair did reach the final as Ko and Eom defeated their third seed of the week, this time it was the 3rd seeded Kurinawan and Bernadeth in their semi final as they continued their exceptional run this week of not losing a game to date.
The Korean squad has a massive interest going into the semi finals on Saturday, with a potential four titles on offer for Korea this week.
The only title that the Korean’s can’t win is the men’s singles, with Tien Minh Nguyen progressing in three games over Shon Wan Ho to end Korean interest in the event. Tommy Sugiarto is Nguyen’s main rival this week and the 6th seed will take on his team mate Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the semi final after the unseeded Indonesian defeated Malaysia’s Muhammed Hafiz Hashim in three games in their quarter final.
Pai Hsiao Ma has been the revelation in the women’s singles, after her defeat of the top seeded Cheng she added another victory over a seeded player in her victory over Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong in three games to reach the semi finals. Sung Ji Hyun is the opponent for the Chinese Taipei woman, with Korea also having interest in the other semi final with the 2nd seeded Bae Youn Joo who takes on Inthanon Ratchnok, seeded 3 this week.
The doubles are dominated by Korea, with three pairs in the last 4 of the men’s doubles including Lee and Jung who are the top seeded as well as the 2nd seeded Ko and Yoo with neither pair losing a game to date this week. Chien and Cheng are sole Chinese Taipei interest in the doubles in the women’s doubles and take on the 3rd seeded Jauhari and Polii of Indonesia. The 2nd seeds of Ha and Kim take on the unseeded Malaysia pair of Hoo and Woon in the other semi final.
The mixed doubles features two unseeded Korean pairs, with Lee and Ha defeating two seeds this week already in their route to the semi final. After defeating the 8th seeded Widianto and Natsir, they went on to beat the 4th seeded Lee and Chien but face their toughest task in the semi final as they take on the top seeded Ahmad and Natsir. The other Korean pair of Ko and Eom have also been in excellent form as they also defeated two seeds to reach the semi final, after their victory over the 2nd seeded Chen and Cheng they beat the 6th seeded Rijal and Susanto in two games to reach the semi finals against Kurniawan ad Bernadeth, seeded 3rd this week.