Destination two for the Super Series takes the players to Kuala Lumpur and to world number 1 Lee Chong Wei’s homeland as he looks to successfully defend his title from 2012. A distinct lack of Chinese seeds throughout the draw has opened the opportunity for some of the lesser-known players to reach the latter stages this week.

Lee Chong Wei opened his campaign in spectacular style, demolishing Viktor Axelsen 21-8, 21-10 to set a marker for the rest of draw that he is in excellent form this week after his victory in Seoul on Sunday. Second seeded Kenichi Tago similarly had little problems in progressing to the second round but losses for Wang Zhengming and Tien Minh Nguyen in the first round has opened the draw out further with the 3rd seeded Nguyen losing in three games to Taufik Hidayat who could be a potential semi finalist against Lee Chong Wei.

Ratchanok and Schenk’s withdrawal ensured an even weaker draw in the women’s singles without any of the top Chinese players present this week. Top seed Saina Nehwal will not complain as she progressed into the second safely after a comfortable two-game victory. Tine Baun needed three games to defeat P.V. Sindhu in her second to last Super Series and will take on Sun Yu of China in the second round. The match of the second round will be the all-Korean clash between Sung Ji Hyun and Bae Yeon Ju after both recorded victories in their opening round matches. The lower ranking Bae holds a 2-1 advantage but Sung took their most recent matchup in the Korea Open two years ago.

Top seeded Koo and Tan set up an all-Malaysia second round match against Goh and Lim with a potential Malaysian opponent waiting in the next round in Hoon and Tan, seeded 5th this week. Lee and Ko are a potential semi final opponent, with the 6th seeded Korean’s defeating Fuchs smokeaway electronic cigarette and Roth of Germany in two games to reach the last 16. The only two Chinese pairs in the draw will meet in the second round with Qiu and Zhang taking on Chai and Liu in their first meeting.

The only top seeded Europeans, Pedersen and Rytter Juhl progressed in three games to set up a rare all-European match in the second round against Goliszewski and Michels of Germany. The second seeded Matsutomo and Takahashi dropped just 14 points on route to a second round match against England’s Olver and Robertshaw who benefitted from a retirement in their opening round match. Giving blood in the cause of reaching the second round is not common within badminton, but Jillie Cooper managed to do just that playing with Kirsty Gilmour on route to a two game victory over Ho and Yap of Malaysia. They take on the Korean pairing of Ko and Yoo in their second round match, who defeated the 7th seeded Jauhari and Polii of Indonesia. Two Chinese pairs remain massive threats for the title with Ma and Tang winning in three games and Bao and Tian needing three games also to reach the second round.

Chan and Goh survived a massive scare in their opening round match, needing to save three match points to remain in the competition against the Thai pairing of Prapakamol and Aroonkesorn. Their opponents in the second round are even more fortunate to be in the last 16, Pieler Kolding and Rytter Juhl saved seven match points over the course of two games to win 19-21, 24-22, 24-22 and ensure their place in the second round. The second seeded Danish pair of Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen take on a new Chinese pairing feature one half of the Olympic gold pairing of Zhao Yunlei and partner Qiu Zihan, who needed three games to progress past qualifers Lee and Chau of Hong Kong.

Day 1 Results:

Saina Wins, But India Falls To China

The host nation progressed into the semi final stage of the Sudirman Cup, whilst there was a surprise in the second quarter final as Korea defeated a Malaysian team that broke up the best men’s doubles partnership in the world to try and win two matches and defeat the Koreans.

Koo and Chin took on the Korean pair of Ko and Ha in the opening mixed doubles match in what looked like a calculated risk by Malaysia to win the opening match of the quarter final. However the Korean’s were too strong and took an early 1-0 lead in the rubber, winning 21-17, 21-17. Lee Chong Wei evened the score back up at 1-1 with a two game victory over Park Sung Hwan and then took a 2-1 lead as Tan partnered Hoon in an impressive three game victory over Lee and Jung to put Malaysia within one match of the semi finals.

Bae Youn Joo had other ideas, as she leveled the rubber at 2-2 with a two game victory over Tee Jing Yi. That left it up to Ha and Kim of Korea and Chin and Wong of Malaysia to ensure victory for their nation. They both exchanged a game each, leaving it down to a one game decider to clinch a place in the last 4 and it was the Korean’s who progressed with Ha and Kim winning the deciding game 21-10 to reach the last 4.

China were overwhelmingly expected to progress in their match over India, even if Saina Newhal was to beat one of the Chinese girls in the singles. They started perfectly with Cai and Fu winning the opening match in less than 30 minutes, but Wang Xin came undone against Saina Newhal and tamely lost in two games to the Indian to tie the rubber at 1-1. This was China’s second defeat in the women’s singles with Wang Shixian losing to Juliane Schenk in the group stage.

Lin Dan was quick to put China back in front with a two game victory and it was left to the doubles partnership of Wang and Yu to clinch the rubber for China, a partnership that had never lost to a non-Chinese pairing to date. Their 21-8, 21-13 victory was an expected victory as the host nation progressed into the semi final against Korea on Saturday.

Question marks over China’s women’s singles will buoy Korea’s chances in the semi final, with Korea defeating China in the Uber Cup final in 2010. Cai and Fu take on Lee and Jung again in what could be a deciding match on who progresses into Sunday’s final or it could be the mixed doubles match that decides this rubber.

Sudirman Cup 2011 Day 1

*Special thanks to Popeyee for allowing us to use their Flickr images*

Thursday’s Results:

Chong Wei's Win Not Enough For Malaysia

12 have been cut to just 8 as the group stages have been completed in the top tier of this years Sudirman Cup.

Group A was home to the host nation China and they failed to disappoint, winning both games against Japan (5-0) and Germany (4-1)to secure top spot in the group. Japan’s 4-1 win over Germany secured second place in the group but both of Germany’s victories came by the way of Juliane Schenk in the women’s singles, defeating Eriko Hirose and Wang Shixian in her matches.

Group B was over for Russia on Monday night with defeats to Malaysia and Indonesia that set up a winner take all match on Wednesday night to see who would top the group. Malaysia took an early 2-1 lead with victories in the men’s doubles through Koo and Tan before going to the brink of victory with Lee Chong Wei’s win in the singles. However Indonesia faught back to take the womens and mixed doubles and snatch a 3-2 victory to top Group B.

Chinese Taipei topped Group C by the narrowest of margins, winning their matches against both India and Thailand 3-2. India finished second in the group even with Saina Nehwal’s defeat in the Thailand match, a match that India claimed victory by 3 matches to 2 to book their place in the last 8.

Group D seen Korea top the group with a comfortable 4-1 win over England before defeating Denmark in the final match of the group in the final rubber of the match as Ha and Kim beat Ropke and Kruse to give Korea a 3-2 victory and top spot, leaving Denmark to settle for second place in the group.

Tomorrow sees the opening two quarter final matches, with Korea taking on Malaysia and the mouthwatering prospect of Koo and Tan taking on Lee and Jung in the men’s doubles. Neither men’s singles player for Korea has won a match this week and that looks all the more like to remain the same with Lee Chong Wei in their path. Malaysia’s main concern is in the mixed doubles, where they have failed to record a victory in their group and the Korean’s claiming two victories in this event.

The other quarter final sees China take on India in what is expected to be a one-sided matchup. Saina Newhal could claim an unlikely point in the women’s singles but events like the women’s doubles and men’s singles are expected to be landslide victories for the Chinese.

Group A-D Results:

Saina Falls At Final Hurdle

There was a pair of titles for the home nation in this week’s GP Gold, but disappointment in their quest for a third title.

The mixed doubles final was an unlikely feat for Malaysia to win this week, but 6th seeded Chan and Goh reached the final after defeating two higher seeded pairs in the route to the final. Their unlikely run was ended at the final hurdle by the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir who defeated the 6th seeded pair in a tight three game match which the Indonesian pair took 21-19 in the third.

Saina Nehwal’s return to form this week was also faulted at the last hurdle as 2nd seeded Wang Xin took the women’s singles title in another three game match today, after Newhal took the opening game 21-13, the Chinese player was simply too good in the next two games in winning them 21-8 and 21-14. The women’s doubles final was another lengthy match, but todays match eclipsed the match in India last weekend in it’s length. Maeda and Suetsuna won the match against the Japanese team-mates 21-18, 21-13 but the match took 76 minutes to complete.

The two Malaysian titles was at the end of play on finals day, with Lee Chong Wei with another stunning week of play, capped off with his 21-9, 21-19 victory over the 7th seeded Bao Chunlai. Koo and Tan were also not troubled in their match against the 4th seeded Chandra and Gunawan, comfortably winning 21-16, 21-7 to claim a second title for the home crowd.

Final Results:

Bao Chunlai Set To Face Lee Chong Wei

Lee Chong Wei as well as Koo and Tan were widely expected to reach the final on Sunday, few people expected there to be a third Malaysian interest on finals day from the 6th seeded Chan and Goh in the mixed doubles.

Lee Chong Wei’s stunning recent run of form continued as he defeated the 11th seeded Sho Sasaki 21-13, 21-14 to book his place in the final against 7th seeded Bao Chunlai. The Chinese player beat the 3rd seeded Tien Minh Nguyen in a three game match that lasted just under a hour to set up the final against the world #1.

Saina Nehwal has put her shock defeat in her home Super Series event last week behind her as she progresses into the final after defeating the 7th seeded Sung Ji Hyun in two games to back up her excellent win over Wang Lin in the quarter final. Her opponent in the final is perhaps the toughest test possible in the 2nd seeded Wang Xin, who will be keen to avenge the defeat of Wang Lin in tomorrow’s final. The 2nd seeded has been in excellent form this week, winning all four of her matches to date in two games.

Koo and Tan were practically pencilled in for the final before the week started, but as seen last week with Saina Newhal shocks can happen. After coming through the quarter finals in three games, they needed another three game match against Bosch and Ridder of Holland to reach the final but have avoided the pitfalls that amounted to Nehwal’s shock loss in her home event. Their opponents in the final are the 4th seeded Chandra and Gunawan, who defeated 8th seeded Cho and Kwon in a tight three game, 62 minute match to book their place in tomorrow’s final.

Japan have a monopoly in the women’s doubles final, with top seeded Maeda and Suetsuna looking for their second title in two weeks against the 5th seeded Naito and Matsuo who have been equally as impressive as the top seeds with both pairs not dropping a game between them in reaching the final.

The mixed doubles final has a third chance of local success with the 6th seeded Chan and Goh defeating a second higher seeded pair to reach the final. After defeating the top seeds in the quarters, they continued their outstanding week with a two game victory over the 3rd seeded Kurniawan and Bernadeth in just 26 minutes to book their place in the final. Their opponents are the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir, who defeated the 2nd seeded Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul of Thailand in their semi final match. Ahmad and Natsir lost the Indian Super Series final to Kurniawan and Bernadeth last week, which makes the final this week all the more intriguing.

Semi Final Results:

Chong Wei Through Smoothly In Malaysia

There was a double surprise in the quarter finals as Wang Lin and Jiang Yanjiao both crashed out of the women’s singles, whilst the Malaysian superstars progressed safely into the semi finals.

Lee Chong Wei is into the last 4 with a two game victory over Brice Leverdez and takes on the 11th seeded Sho Sasaki in the semi finals tomorrow after the Japanese player defeated Park Sung Hwan in is quarter final matchup. The other semi final is between the 7th seeded Bao Chunlai and Tien Minh Nguyen, seeded 3 who had mixed routes on route to the semi final. Tien Minh Nguyen won by walkover with Sony Dwi Kuncoro’s retiring early into the second game whilst Bao Chunlai defeated Lee Hyun Il in three games to reach the last 4.

Top seeded Saina Nehwal defeated Wang Lin in a tight three game match to reclaim her credentials as one of the best players in the world and her reward for her victory is a match against Sung Ji Hyun who defeated the 3rd seeded Jiang Yanjiao in the second surprise result in the top half of the draw. There is Chinese involvement in the bottom half of the draw in the 2nd seeded Wang Xin after her victory over Ai Goto in the quarter final. Wang Xin’s opponent in the semi final is the 4th seeded Bae Youn Joo who has been in excellent form this week and not dropping a game to date this week.

Bosch and Ridder have been the story of the men’s doubles but faces their toughest challenge against the top seeded Koo and Tan in the semi final. The Dutch pair defeated the 3rd seeded Ahsan and Septano to reach the semis whilst Koo and Tan defeated the 6th seeded Endo and Hayakawa in three games to reach the last 4. The other semi final is an all-seeded encounter between the 4th seeded Chandra and Gunawan who play the 8th seeded Cho and Kwon. The 4th seeds have made a difficult task of reaching the last 4, with a couple of three game matches to reach this stage.

Maeda and Suetsuna have been the class act in the women’s doubles this week and take on the the 4th seeded Jauhari and Polii and there is Japanese interest in the second semi final with 5th seeded Matsuo and Naito against the unseeded Chinese pairing of Ying and Yu who fought through another three game match to reach the last 4.

There was another local success as 6th seed Chan and Goh defeated the top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam to reach the semi finals this week, where they will take on the 3rd seeded Kurniawan and Bernadeth in their semi final match. The other semi final is between the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir who take on the 2nd seed Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul of Thailand who have been in excellent form since being taken to three games in their opening round match.

Quarter Final Results:

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