It was a poor day for Salakjit and Boonsak Ponsana as their campaigns both ended early on Day 3, for the 5th seeded Salakjit Ponsana her loss to Yu Hirayama of Japan in three games added her name to the casualty list of the women’s singles seeds already out, with 8th seeded Susan Egelstaff crashing out on Day 1. Two more seeds were also put out in the second round with Sayaka Sato and Sung Ji Hyun, the 6th and 7th seeds also losing to unseeded players.
The top three seeds in the men’s singles have all progressed safely into the last 8, with top seed Tien Minh Nguyen defeating Yunus Alamsyah in three tight games to book his place in the quarter finals. Sony Kuncoro also came through a three game encounter against Japan’s Sho Sasaki to claim his place in the last 8 whilst 3rd seed Simon Santoso had little trouble in his third round match, winning in two games to progress into the quarter finals. The 4th seeded Boonsak Ponsana lost to Malaysian Kwong Beng Chan, with Ponsana losing in three games, 22-20, 7-21, 21-16.
6 of the 8 seeds in the men’s doubles are into the last 8, with only the 8th seeded Ko and Yoo losing out to the unseeded pair of Hadiyanto and Wijaya who will play the top seeded duo of Koo and Tan from Malaysia, who have failed to drop a game on route to the last 8. There were wins for the 3rd seeds Lee and Jung and 7th seeds Chen and Lin who meet in the second quarter final. The second all-seeded quarter final is between the 5th seeded Choong and Lee of Malaysia and the 4th seeds, Fang and Lee of Chinese Taipei.
The injury scare over Lee Hyo Jung’s retirement last week has not stopped her playing this week, as the 2nd seeded Lee and Lee progressed into the last 8 with a tight three game victory to book their place in the quarter finals against Ahmad and Natsir of Indonesia, the 5th seeds. The top seeded Gunawan and Marissa are into into the last 8, coming through against Fang and Wang of Chinese Taipei. Lee Hyo Jung is also through to the last 8 of the women’s doubles, after defeating the 3rd seeds Amitapai and Munkit of Thailand. The top two seeds in the event are also through, with top seeds Chin and Wong progressing after Chou and Ku had to retired at 8-2 in the first game. The on-form pair in the women’s doubles, Cheng and Chien are also through to the lasy 8 with a two game victory over Ha and Jang.
Just one day remains in this year World Championships, where no top seed will be playing on finals day. Only Lee and Lee remained as top seeds left in any of the draws but were defeated by Thomas Laybourn and Kamila Rytter Juhl of Denmark in three games.
They will play Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir in the final after they defeated the second Danish couple in the semi finals, Joachim Fischer Neilsen and Christina Pedersen.
In the Mens Singles, Chen Jin was in superb form to beat Taufik Hidayat 21-16, 21-6 to reach the final, where he will play Lin Dan. The Chinese 5th seed came through his match against Sony Dwi Kuncoro in three games
Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong lost out in an agonizing three set affair, losing 22-20 in the decider against Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae. Jung and Lee will play Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, the Chinese partnership came back from losing the opening set to win in three games.
Finals day provides three guaranteed gold medals for the Chinese, starting off with the all-Chinese Men’s Singles Final between Lin Dan and Chen Jin. Both players have only lost one game in their route to the final but Lin Dan goes in as the favourite.
The Mixed Doubles Final is the only match without a Chinese interest, as Denmark’s Laybourn and Rytter Juhl play Indonesia’s Widianto and Natsir. Laybourn and Rytter Dahl have defeated both the third and first seeds to reach the final.
The next two matches are dominated by China. Zhang Yawen and Zhao Tingting play against Cheng Shu and Zhao Yunlei in the Women’s Doubles Final, followed by Xie Xingfang against Lu Lan in the Women’s Singles Final.
The last match of the day pits Cai and Fu against Lee and Jung in the Men’s Doubles Finals. The breakdown of the seedings are:
Three 2nd Seeds
One 4th Seed
Three 5th Seeds
Two 7th Seeds
One 8th Seed
Play begins at 2pm local time.
The Mixed doubles will be one of the few events where anyone from ten seeds could win the title. The Olympic Champions come into the event as top seeds, with the 2007 World Champions second seeds. The on-form couple coming into the tournament are also the third seeds.
2007 World Championship Winners: Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir
2008 Olympic Champions: Lee Jong Dae and Lee Hyo Jung
Lee Jong Dae and Lee Hyo Jung
Last Tournament: Indonesia Super Series (Finalists)
2nd Round Opponents: NO MATCH
The draw has opened out well for the top seeds, a first round bye as well as their second round opponents pulling out allows both partners to focus on their other discipline before taking to the court already in the round of 16.
However, this means their first match together is likely to be against 14th seeded Chinese couple Xu Chen and Zhao Yunlei. It could work in their favour or the two byes to the last 16 could be the worst thing to happen to the top seeds.
Other Seeds to Watch:
Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir
Last Tournament: Indonesian Super Series (Quarter Finals)
2nd Round Opponents: Aleksei Konakh and Alesia Zaitsava (BLR)
The 2007 World Champions have had an indifferent 2009 since their win early in the year in the Malaysia Super Series. They have reached the latter stages in the last few months without winning a competition since January.
Their big test will come in the last eight against Indian couple Jwala Gutta and Diju Valiyaveetil, a couple which beat them in the Korean Super Series this year.
Ma Jin and Zheng Bo
Last Tournament: Malaysian Open (Won)
2nd Round Opponents: Goh Liu Ying and Chan Peng Soon (MAL)
If you’re looking for the form couple, look no further. Winners of the last three Super Series events, beating the top seeded Lee and Lee in two of the Super Series finals. Ma Jin is arguably the most on-form doubles player in the world right now, winning both the level and mixed in Malaysia just 6 weeks ago.
A potential semi-final against Lee and Lee would be worthy of the final, if both make it to the last 4.
These are the “big three” who will be the favourites for the title, 4th seeded Yu Yang and He Hanbin of China are another couple with a real chance, but to make it through to the last four they have to beat 6th seeded Pedersen and Fischer Nielsen in the quarter finals.
Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg are seeded 11 and have made a run in this tournament in 2007 previously. The final four couples from the Beijing Olympics are all seeded in the top 5, with second seeded pair Zheng Bo and Gao Ling no longer playing together, Zheng Bo’s new partnership with Ma Jin has them seeded 3rd.
The two Danish couples ranked 6th and 7th are also strong contenders, it’s perhaps the most open draw at this years World Championships.