17-year old Viktor Axelsen has been touted as the future of Danish badminton, from his junior world championship success last summer to his first victory on the European circuit in Cyprus in October 2010. Today, he arrived on the world stage with his 23-21, 21-15 victory over the 7th seeded Bao Chunlai of China.
With just two months before the world championships in London, the men’s singles is seeing a new generation come through to challenge the old guard. Wang Zhengming defeated top seeded Taufik Hidayat in three games to set up a quarter final against Viktor Axelsen whilst in the other quarter final in the top half, Chen Jin will take on Lee Hyun Il after both players defeated their seeded opponent in the second round, meaning no seed is left in the top half of the draw. In fact, just two seeds remain with 2nd seeded Lin Dan defeating Jan O Jorgensen in two games and 4th seeded Peter Gade defeating Rajiv Ouseph of England to book their places in the last 8.
Wang Lin’s retirement during her second round match against top seeded Wang Shixian could be a real scare after coming back from serious injury, the current world champion was 12-8 down in the opening game when she chose to pull out of the match. Wang Shixian will take on Juliane Schenk in the last 8. Saina Nehwal’s run this week ends even more abruptly than last week, with a three game defeat to Cheng Shao Chieh of Chinese Taipei who takes on the 6th seeded Tine Baun in the quarter finals. Wang Yihan is safely into the last 8 with two victories and takes on Yao Jie in the quarter finals after the Dutch woman defeated the 5th seeded Bae Youn Joo of Korea in two tight games.
There was another two seeded casualties in the men’s doubles, with Kido and Setiawan losing out to Endo and Hayakawa of Japan in two games to set up a quarter final against Lee and Jung of Korea, who have been impressive in their opening two matches. The second seed to crash out is the 8th seeded Ahsan and Septano, who lost out to Chinese qualifiers Shen and Hong to set up an all-Chinese quarter final against Cai and Fu. Germany’s pairing of Kindervater and Schoettler have been impressive this week and defeated the Danish pairing of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen to reach the last 8 this week and a chance to play the 7th seeded Chinese pairing of Chai and Guo.
All 7 seeds that started the week remain in the women’s doubles draw, with Indonesia’s Marissa and Melati making up the field. The top half of the draw has been fairly straight forward for the four pairs, with all winning in two games today. The bottom half has been much more competitive, with 6th seeded Ha and Kim needing three games to progress to their quarter final match against Jauhari and Polii. The 4th quarter final between Vislova and Sorokina and Fujii and Kakiiwa could be a battle of fitness, with both being involved in a lengthy and closely fought three game match to reach the last 8.
Asia dominates the mixed doubles field, with only Robertson and Wallwork stopping a complete monopoly on proceedings. The super-competitive top half has two fantastic quarter final matches, with top seeded Zhao and Zhang taking on their team-mates He and Yu in an all-Chinese match. Whilst the second quarter final sees the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir take on the unseeded pairing of Lee and Ha, playing just their second event together. The Korean pair defeated the 7th seeded Mateusiak and Zieba to reach the last 8. The English pairing of Robertson and Wallwork will be the third British pairing to take on the 2nd seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam after the Thai pair defeated Adcock and Bankier in round 1, then Blair and White in round 2. Robertson and Wallwork will hope it is third time lucky for them.
Even without their top players, China were well represented on finals day with at least two titles guaranteed ahead of play.
Their first success came in the women’s doubles, as Tian and Zhao convincingly defeated their team-mates and 7th seeded Cheng and Yixin 21-7, 21-8 to claim their first title together since the Malaysian Open in January. In the mixed doubles, the 4th seeded pairing of Lee and Chien proved too strong for Widianto and Marissa of Indonesia as the Chinese Taipei pair won 21-10, 23-21 in just 31 minute to secure the title.
The closest match of the day came in the women’s singles, where 7th seeded Li Xuerui took on the 2nd seeded Jiang Yanjiao. It was the world number 6 Jiang who took the opening game 21-14 but her opponent and world number 16 stormed back to take the second game by the same margin of 21 points to 14. The momentum was clearly with the 7th seed as she stormed into an 11-5 lead and never looked back as she claimed the title and a invaluable victory over her Chinese team mate, winning the third game 21-14 to take the title.
Chen Long made it a triple success for China as he claimed the men’s singles title in impressive fashion, defeated the 3rd seeded Lee Hyun Il 21-8, 21-19 to end the Korean’s run of victories over Chinese opponents this week. Lee and Jung have begun their preparation for the world championships well with a two game victory over Chandra and Gunawan, seeded 4th this week. The Korean pair are looking to claim their first world title after being denied the last three years by top pairings and this is an excellent start to their campaign to be world champions, with 3 wins over seeded opponents this week.
The prospects of an all-Chinese final in the men’s singles loomed large but one man has singled handedly ended any thoughts of that happening this week and will take on his 4th Chinese player of the week in the final.
Lee Hyun Il has been on court for just short of five hours in his five matches, all of which have gone the full distance of three games. Wen Kai was his first Chinese casualty, then Wang Zhengming and today was his greatest result in his 79-minute victory over the 4th seeded Chen Jin by the narrowest of margins, winning 22-20 in the deciding game and saving a match point in the process. His opponent in tomorrow’s final has had a completely different route to the final. Spending just four hours on court and without dropping a game to date, Chen Long is in a superb vain of form but there could be one last great result from Lee Hyun Il.
The all-Chinese final has happened in the women’s singles, as the first major match in what is likely to be a year-long battle for an Olympic spot. 2nd seeded Jiang Yanjiao takes on 7th seeded Li Xuerui for the title and the chance to take an early step towards London 2012 along the way. Both players have been pushed to reach the final and this will be their first match against one another in the final.
Lee and Jung’s passage into the final was never in doubt this week, no dropping games along the way in what was supposed to set up an all-Korean final. That all changed with Ko and Yoo’s defeat to 4th seeded Chandra and Gunawan in two games but this result could favour the top seeded Koreans, who hold a 3-0 record against their Indonesian opponents tomorrow whilst their record against Ko and Yoo is 3-2, with the last victory going against Lee and Jung.
Even without Wang and Yu in the field, China have managed to get an all-Chinese women’s doubles final. Tian and Zhao are used to the latter stages of these types of events but recently joined forces in a remix of the doubles pairings ahead of London. Another new pair awaits in the final in Cheng and Yixin, as the 7th seeds ended the run of Malaysia’s Woon and Hoo in straight games to reach the final.
The mixed doubles final features an Indonesian pair and a pair from Chinese Taipei in one of the most unlikely final at the start of the week. 5th seeded Lee and Chien defeated the dangerous pairing of Xu and Ma in three tight games in 59 minutes, whilst the 8th seeded Widianto and Marissa took 62 minutes to defeat the unseeded pairing of Shin and Kim in three tight games.
Semi Final Results:
Thailand’s chances of success were high in the doubles events, with two top seeded pairs in the women’s and mixed doubles. There had already been big name casualties but today seen the Thailand involvement going into the week down to just one player.
From the moment that Boonsak Ponsana lost to Wang Zhengming, the Chinese domination was a real possibility this week. Chen Long and Chen Jin have both reached the last 4 with little or no resistance but have been joined in the semi finals by two Koreans. Park Sung Hwan has survived two match points and back to back three game matches but is in the last 4 and will perhaps be Chen Long’s first real test this week. Wang Zhengming was expected to go from strength to strength after his win over Boonsak Ponsana but came undone against 6th seeded Lee Hyun Il in three games to set up two China v Korea semi finals.
Saina Nehwal’s tough week finishes before the weekend, after defeating Lu Lan in the opening round it was another Chinese player that ended the Indian’s run in 7th seeded Li Xuerui. The 21-13, 21-12 scoreline is perhaps down not a fair representation of the match as a whole but the Li Xuerui will be happy not to have played another three game match before the weekend. Thailand’s hopes now rest on the 4th seeded Porntip Buranaprasertsuk who has reached the semi final without the loss of a game to date, she will take on Li Xuerui for a place in Sunday’s final. One Chinese player who wanted a Saina Nehwal victory was the 2nd seeded Jiang Yanjiao who will likely be battling against Li Xuerui for a place in the Olympic squad next year. The Chinese player came through a tight three game match against Juliane Schenk to set up her semi final against 6th seeded Cheng Shao Chieh of Chinese Taipei, who defeated the 3rd seeded Bae Youn Joo to reach the last 4.
The Korean top seeds of Lee and Jung have been flawless to date, winning all three matches in just two games. Their opponent in the semi final are the 8th seeded American pair of Bach and Gunawan, who defeated the 3rd seeded Fang and Lee in two games to reach the last 4. Ko and Yoo have struggled through to the last 4, needing three games in both their last two games to set up their semi final against Chandra and Gunawan of Indonesia who defeated the 5th seeded Chai and Guo of China in two tight games.
The unlikely story in the women’s doubles is the Malaysian pair of Hoo and Woon who have progressed into the semi finals in their first major tournament together. Their semi final match will be their greatest test as a partnership against the 7th seeded Chinese pairing of Cheng and Yixin, who have failed to drop a game to date this week. There is Chinese interest in the other semi final in Tian and Zhao, the 5th seeds. Their opponents in the semi final are the Hong Kong pairing of Poon and Tse, who are no strangers to the biggest stage.
The mixed doubles was Thailand’s best chance at a title this week, but within just 2 and a half hours of play that dream was gone. Xu and Ma taking out the 2nd seeded Anugritaywon and Voravichitckaikul in the opening match of the day in two games, then the top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam lost to Widianto and Marissa of Indonesia in just 27 minutes to end Thailand’s chances. The 8th seeded Indonesian’s reward is a semi final against Kim and Shin who defeated their seeded team-mates, Lee and Ha in two tight games to reach the semi finals. Xu and Ma take on the 4th seeded pair of Lee and Chien, who defeated the Korean pair of Cho and Kim 21-17, 29-27.
Korea had the chance to take four of the five titles on finals day in Basle, with only Saina Nehwal standing in the way of a quadruple victory.
Park Sung Hwan defeated Lee Hyun Il in three games to seal the men’s singles title in the longest match of the day, a three-game 68 minute match that the 4th seeded Park fought back from losing the opening game 21-17 to win the title 17-21, 21-9, 21-17. 2nd seeded Ko and Yoo defeated their 3rd seeded team mates Lee and Jung in a tight men’s doubles final, with Ko and Yoo winning 21-17, 21-16. Korea’s third title came in the women’s doubles, with two unseeded Korean pairs Kim and Jung against Ha and Kim, with the latter pair taking the title in the shortest match of the day, winning 21-12, 21-13 in just 27 minutes.
Saina Newhal stopped Korea from winning a 4th title, as the 2nd seed defeated Sung Ji Hyun in the women’s singles final, winning 21-13, 21-14. The only European interest on finals day came in the mixed doubles with the 4th seeded Danes Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen taking on the 2nd seeded Robertson and Wallwork of England. The Danish pair took the opening game at the 4th time of asking, winning 23-21 and the second game was a mere formality with the English pair never taking a lead in the second game with Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen taking the second 21-14.
Indonesia had four chances to take home a title on finals day in Macau, but only the mixed doubles final guaranteed an Indonesian winner. The top seeds Gunawan and Marissa were surprisingly defeated by the 6th seeded Ahmad and Natsir in two games, winning 21-14, 21-18.
The women’s singles final was between two unseeded players, Li Xuerui of China and Adriyanti Firdasari of Indonesia. Both players has disposed of a top 5 seed to reach the final, but it was the Chinese player who had came through against the 2nd and 4th seed that took the title in two games, winning 21-18, 21-15 in just 33 minutes.
Cheng and Chien made it two titles in two weeks, following up their win in the US with a three game victory over Jauhari and Polii, winning 16-21, 21-18, 21-16. Indonesia’s fourth final of the day seen 3rd seeded Chandra and Gunawan loss out to the unseeded Korean duo of Ko and Yoo in two games 21-17, 21-15. Meaning Indonesia took just one title from a possible four.
The men’s singles final between Lee Chong Wei and Lee Hyun Il, who was playing his first tournament since his comeback from a two-year retirement failed to take place after the Korean pulled out with an unspecified injury that he sustained during practice earlier that day.
This week turned into an opportunity for Zhou Mi to win her first ranking event of 2010 but was defeated by unseeded Li Xuerui to continue her winless streak this year. The women’s singles final will be contested by another unseeded player, Indonesia’s Adriyanti Firdasari is through to tomorrow’s final after a two game victory in her semi final.
Lee Chong Wei dropped his first game of the week, but fought back to win his semi final encounter against Simon Santoso, the 4th seed from Indonesia. He will play the unseeded Lee Hyun Il in the final, a player who only made it into the main draw after Peter Gade’s withdrawal earlier in the week. The Korean defeated the 5th seeded Boonsak Ponsana in two games to book his place in tomorrow’s final against the World #1.
There was yet another shock, this time in the men’s doubles as Ko and Yoo defeated the 2nd seeds, Kido and Setiawan to book their place in tomorrows final against the 3rd seeds, Chandra and Gunawan. They defeated the other unseeded Korean pair of Cho and Kwon in their semi final to book their place in tomorrow’s final.
The top seeds in the women’s doubles are out also, Maeda and Suetsuna were defeated by last weeks winners in the US, Cheng and Chien of Chinese Taipei. The 3rd seeds will play the 5th seeds Jauhari and Polii of Indonesia who ended the hopes of the 6th seeds, Zhang and Zhang of Macau. The mixed doubles is an all-Indonesian final, with top seeds Gunawan and Marissa taking on Ahmad and Natsir. The 6th seeds ended the impressive run of another Indonesian pair, Teng and Bernadet.
It was a bad day to be the 3rd seed in both singles events as both fell at the quarter final stage today. Eriko Hirose lost in the women’s singles to unseeded Adriyanti Firdasari of Indonesia in two games whilst Sony Kuncoro lost out to the 5th seeded Boonsak Ponsana in three tight games, losing 25-23 in the final game in 77 minutes.
Lee Chong Wei had no such problems in his two game win over Wan Ho Shon of Korea, his fourth straight victory without the loss of a game this week. In the semi final, he will play 4th seed Simon Santoso after his stunning 21-6, 21-5 victory over Wing Ki Wong of Hong Kong. The other semi final sees Boonsak Ponsana take on the Korean qualifier Lee Hyun Il who defeated the 13th seed Hsieh Yu Hsing of Chinese Taipei.
The women’s singles draw has just one seed remaining in Zhou Mi, the 4th seed defeated on-form Ai Goto in two games to book her place in the semi final against unseeded Li Xuerui of China, who defeated Macau’s Wang Rong in three games to book her place in the last 4. The other semi final sees Adriyanti Firdasari take on Chinese Taipei’s unseeded Shao Chieh Cheng, who profited in the women’s doubles from Lee Hyo Jung’s retirement in the opening round.
Shao Chieh Cheng’s run in the women’s doubles ended today with a tight two game loss to 6th seeded Zhang and Zhang of Macau. The Macau pair take on Jauhrai and Polii of Indonesia in the semi finals after the 5th seeds defeated 2nd seeed Chin and Wong of Malaysia. The two highest seeded pairs remaining in the draw play each other in the other semi final, as top seeds Maeda and Suetsuna of Japan play Cheng and Chien of Chinese Taipei, the 3rd seeds and last weeks winners in the US Open.
The top 2 seeds from the men’s doubles are still in the competition and are joined in the last 4 by two unseeded Korean pairs. 2nd seeded Kido and Setiawan, who have failed to drop a game this week take on Ko and Yoo of Korean who defeated Endo and Hayakawa 22-20 in the third of their quarter final match. The other Korean pair, Cho and Kwon take on the 3rd seed Chandra and Gunawan in the last 4 for a place in Sunday’s final.
The mixed doubles is between 3 Indonesian pairs and a Thai partnership. Top seed Gunawan and Marissa take on the 8th seeds Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand, who have yet to drop a game on route to the last 4. The other semi final is an all-Indonesian match between 6th seeded Ahmad and Natsir against the on-form unseeded pair of Teng and Bernadet who have defeated two seeds on route to the last 4 without the loss of a game to date.
The last 16 was going to see some all-seeded counters, so the expectation was that some seeds would fall, but there was still some unlikely casualties on day 3.
Lee Chong Wei however was not one of them as he safely booked his place in the last 8 with a routine two game victory in 30 minutes. He plays the 15th seeded Wan Ho Shon of Korea in the last 8 after a tight three game victory over Hu Yun, the 8th seed from Hong Kong. There were victories for the 3rd seeded Sony Kuncoro and 4th seed Simon Santoso also, as well as the 5th seeded Boonsak Ponsana who sets up a quarter final match against Sony Kuncoro tomorrow. The qualifier Lee Hyun Il is also through to the last 8 after an impressive two game victory over 11th seeded Yan Kit Chan.
The highest seed in the women’s singles , Jie Yao crashed out to China’s Li Xuerui in two close games and sets up a quarter final match against Macau’s Wang Rong who defeated the talented Japanese player Sayaka Sato to book her place in the last 8. There was little problems with Eriko Hirose after surprisingly dropping the opening game against Chinese qualifer Suo Di, but fought back to take the next two games in impressive fashion. The quarter final to watch tomorrow is between Ai Goto of Japan, who fought through a tight three game encouter with Deng Xuan of China. She will play the 4th seeded Zhou Mi who is having her best run in a tournament for a number of months, she also battled through her second round match in three games.
Only two seeds remain in the men’s doubles, 3rd seeded Chandra and Gunawan defeated their Korean opponents Kim and Shin in three games to book their place in the quarter finals whilst the 2nd seeded Kido and Setiawan had little troubles in their two game victory over Chan and Lim of Malaysia. The two seeded partnerships cannot meet until the final. Whilst in the women’s doubles draw, 6 of the 8 remaining partnerships are seeded, with Ng and Ng over Malaysia defeating the 7th seeded Thai pairing of Amitrapai and Munkit in three games. Cheng and Cheng of Chinese Taipei are the other unseeded pair in the draw, defeating Chan and Chau in two games, who defeated the 4th seeds in their opening round match.
The mixed doubles is dominated by South East Asia, only two Korean partnerships break up the monopoly in the last 8. Top seeds Marissa and Gunawan faught back from a game down to progress to the last 8 and set up an all-Indonesian match against Rijal and Susanto. The first of the Korean couples through is the 4th seeded Ko and Ha who came through a tight three game match to book their place in tomorrow’s quarter final. The other Korean pair in the draw is qualifiers Kwon and Jang who have taken the place of their higher profile Korean players Lee and Lee slot in their quarter of the draw, they will take on the 6th seeded Ahmad and Natsir of Indonesia.