If China’s plan is to demoralize Lee Chong Wei before the Olympics, their plan is succeeding. After two losses in a month to Chen Long, the world number has suffered a double defeat to Lin Dan in back to back events but this time it was in front of a partisan crowd in Shanghai.
Chinese Dominance In Singles
Lin Dan’s 75-minute marathon victory over Lee Chong ensured two all-Chinese finals in the singles, with Chen Long defeating Simon Santoso in two games to ensure his place in the final without the loss of a game. The two finalists last met in exactly a year ago in this event at the final, with Lin Dan winning in three games and currently leads their overall head to head 2-0. The women’s singles final also sees the 2nd and 3rd seeds from Chinese face each other, with Wang Yihan taking on Wang Xin. Both players progressed after a tough three game match against an unseeded Chinese player, with Wang Xin saving two match points against Li Xuerui to reach the final, winning 23-21 in the deciding game.
Danish Delight In Doubles
Whilst China can claim half of the remaining finalists in the doubles events, Denmark can also claim two of their own in a resurgence of form for the European nation. Boe and Mogensen defeated the 2nd seeded Lee and Jung in one of the best results of the year for the former world number one pairing and will take on Ko and Yoo of Korea in the only final with no Chinese interests. The women’s doubles final sees the pairing of Wang and Yu going for win number 58 of the year against the unseeded pairing of Tang and Xia who received a walkover against Tian and Zhao in their semi final. Zhao Yunlei managed to reach one final with partner Zhang Nan in the mixed doubles and will take on the Danish pairing of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen who have an excellent 4-1 head to head matchup against the world number 1 pairing, but the Chinese pairs only victory came in their most recent encounter, last week in Hong Kong.
Finals day had it’s share of surprises on offer, with several Chinese players deciding to play to increase their chances of making the Olympic squad as well as past world champions all featuring on Sunday.
Mixed Day For Chinese
Hans-Kristian Vittinghus unlikely victory over Wang Zhengming is a clear message to anyone that forgot about him in this Olympic year, with Gade’s pending retirement and the arrival of Viktor Axelsen. The 21-18, 21-10 victory was enough for the Dane to claim the men’s singles title. Li Xuerui ensured at least one title for the Chinese this week, with a fantastic 21-8, 21-9 victory over Yao Jie after her impressive victory over Juliane Schenk in the semi final stage.
Doubles Shocks For Seeds
The Thai pairing of Issara and Jongjit have undoubtably been the story of the week, after their win over the 8th seeded Bosch and Ridder, they have systematically defeated every opponent in the shortest time possible. Their victory over the 2nd seeded Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen was a real shock, but they defeated Adcock and Ellis in the semi final to ensure a third victory over seeded pairs this week before completing their stunning week with a two game victory over Liu and Qiu of China, their fourth victory over a seeded pair this week.
Fujii and Kakiiwa secured the women’s doubles title with a straight forward two game victory over Wengberg and Lennartsson and claiming the title without the loss of a game this week. Goh and Chan completed a day of surprises with a victory in the tightest of circumstances over the 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl. The Malaysians secured the victory in a 73-minute match that saw them save four match points before converting on their third opportunity.
Whilst Japan have interest in all five events, China’s involvement this week had ended at the quarter final stage.
Taufik Crashes Out
The big news for Europe is that there is another player capable of defeating the world’s elite in Marc Zwiebler. After his run to the semi final at the All-England, big things were expected and his two game victory over the top seeded Taufik Hidayat only confirms his credentials at the highest level. Tien Minh Nguyen is Zwiebler’s opponent in the semi final, after the 3rd seed defeated Bao Chunlai in two games to reach the last 4.
Lower Seeds Surprise
Few expected the defeat of both Lu Lan and Li Xuerui at the quarter final stage, but that is exactly what took place as both Japanese players reached the last 4. Lu Lan lost out to Tai Tzu Ying by the narrowest of margins, with the Chinese Taipei player winning the deciding game 22-20 to set up a semi final against Eriko Hirose. The Japanese 5th seeded defeated Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in two tight games to reach the last 4. Sayaka Sato’s upset over Cheng Shao Chieh hung on a knife edge as both players had match points, before the 8th seeded Sato won the match on her 5th match point to progress 27-25 in the decider.
Japanese and Korean Interest In Doubles
With 2 pairs in the men’s and mixed doubles, as well as 1 in the women’s doubles for the Japanese, they narrowly have the most pairings remaining in the doubles disciplines. Korea are also well represented, mostly down to Lee Yong Dae and Ha Jung Eun who are in 3 of the 5 Korean matches in the doubles tomorrow. Lee and Ko take on their third Japanese pairing in the men’s doubles in the semi finals, with the 6th seeded Kawamae and Sato standing in their way to the final. The second Japanese pairing in the men’s doubles is the 2nd seeded Hashimoto and Hirata, who take on the American pair of Bach and Gunawan who received a walkover to the last 4.
Korea have interest in both the women’s doubles semi finals, with Ha and Kim taking on the Japanese 2nd seeds Maeda and Suetsuna whilst the 8th seeded Jung and Kim take on the top seeded Cheng and Chien of Chinese Taipei. Lee and Ha combine in the mixed doubles to take on another Japanese pairing, this time the 6th seeded Ikeda and Shiota. The other semi final sees the unseeded Japanese pair of Sato and Matsuo take on the 5th seeded pairing of Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei.
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.
The big local hope for singles success, Boonsak Ponsana came undone at the third round to Wang Zhengming as China threatens to take a massive part in determining the winner in the men’s singles.
Top seeded Chen Long continued on his seamlessly destined route to the final with another two game victory, this time over France’s 13th seeded Brice Leverdez. His main threat in the top half of the draw almost came undone against Mohammed Hafiz Hashim, with 3rd seed Park Sung Hwan saving two match points before coming through 25-23 in the deciding game. Wang Zhengming defeated the 2nd seeded Boonsak Ponsana in three games to end the local interest in the men’s singles, allowing a double chance of a Chinese player coming through the bottom half of the draw. The other Chinese player through to the last 8 is Chen Jin, who defeated Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto in three games to book his place in the quarter finals.
With the amount of talent that Korea and Chinese continually put into the women’s singles draw, the most unlikely of outcomes is usually seeing all eight seeds make it through the quarter finals. Today was one such day with all eight seeds coming through their second round matches, with 7th seeded Li Xuerui and top seeded Saina Nehwal being the only two seeds needing three games to progress into the last 8. Their rewards for their victories is a match against each other for a place in the last 4.
The men’s doubles begun today, with a double dose of action awaiting first round winners. The week is definitely one for the seeds as 7 of the 8 seeds made it through to the quarter finals, with only the 6th seeded Cho and Kwon of Korea crashing out to Goh and Lim of Malaysia who made it through to the last 8. The women’s doubles couldn’t have started much worse for the local fans who arrived early on Friday as top seeds Voravichitchaikul and Aroonkesorn crashed out in the opening match of the day to Hoo and Woon of Malaysia in three games. In fact the women’s doubles has been a mass of shock results, with only the two Chinese seeds of Tian and Zhao as well as Cheng and Yixin making in through to the last 8.
The two top seeded Thai pairs survived their second round matches but face their toughest tasks in the quarter finals. 2nd seeded Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul take on the dangerous Chinese pairing and 5th seeded Xu and Ma in the last 8 whilst the top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam game on the 8th seeded Widianto and Marissa. Three of the remaining four pairs come from Korea and the main threat this week comes from the 7th seeded Lee and Ha, who defeated the unseeded Chinese pairing of Qiu and Yixin to reach the last 8. They take on Shin and Kim in an all-Korean quarter final.
Sixteen of the 20 competitors hail from the home nation of China in the Asian Championships as they reach the semi final stage, with a few forgotten names in the mix. Lu Lan has returned to her 2009 form and has shocked another seed on her route to the last 4.
The men’s singles has turned into an all-Chinese competition, with 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana losing out to Bao Chunlai in two tight games followed soon after by Tien Minh Nguyen who was defeated by another higher seeded player in Du Pengyu. Lin Dan defeated the last of the non-Chinese players in his three game victory over Sho Sasaki to set up his semi final with the 6th seeded Du Pengyu. 2nd seeded Chen Long defeated Wang Zhengming to reach the last 4 where he will take on Bao Chunlai for a place in Sunday’s final.
Cheng Shao Chieh is the remaining hope to defeat the Chinese stranglehold on the singles titles with her victory over Porntip Buranaprasertsuk. Her task to reach the final is a victory over the 2nd seeded Wang Yihan who has been impressive this week, without dropping a game to date. The other semi final is an all-Chinese matchup between the 5th seeded Jiang Yanjiao, who defeated Lin Xiu 23-21 in their deciding game in the quarter final and the unseeded Lu Lan who has returned to the form that seen her become world champion less than two years ago. Her closely fought two game victory over Li Xuerui was her second victory over a Chinese seeded player this week.
Cai and Fu have been highly impressive in the men’s doubles without losing a game to date this week, however they face their toughest task in their all-Chinese semi final against Xu and Zhang, seeded 6 who defeated the 4th seeded Chandra and Gunawan to book their place in the last 4. Chai and Guo, seeded 5 are the third of the Chinese pairs in the last 4 and take on the Japanese pairing of Hashimoto and Hirata, seeded 8 this week and also defeated the 2nd seeded Kido and Setiawan to reach the semi final stage.
Cheng and Chien’s run ended today in the women’s doubles, as the top seeds lost out to the 6th seeded Tian and Zhao in front of a partizan home crowd which ensured a third pair in the last 4 for China. Tian and Zhao’s opponents in the last 4 are the sole non-Chinese pairing of Kim and Ha, seeded 5th who defeated the 3rd seeded Maeda and Suetsuna to reach the semi final. 8th seeded Bao and Zhong have the tough task of taking on the 2nd seeded Wang and Yu who again were impressive in their 21-6, 21-18 victory over the 7th seeded Matsuo and Naito of Japan.
Zhang and Zhao’s run to date has not seen them take on a seed, with tomorrow’s match being no different as they take on the unseeded pair of Hong and Pan, who defeated the Japanese qualifiers of Sato and Matsuo to set up the all-Chinese semi final. The 8th seeded Ma and Xu defeated the lower ranked Tao and Tian to reach the semi finals, with a three game victory over the 3rd seeds. Their reward is a semi final match against the 2nd seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand, who have failed to drop a game to date this week but were taken to a 29-27 game against the 6th seeded Lee and Chien in their quarter final match.
Quarter Final Results:
Day 3 provided the first big shocks of the Asian Championships, with 2009 world champion Lu Lan defeating the top seeded Wang Shixian in the women’s singles whilst Sho Sasaki defeated the 2010 world champion Chen Jin in their 78 minute matchup to reach the last 8.
Sasaki’s reward for his victory over Chen Jin is a quarter final match against the top seeded Lin Dan, who also had to come through his won three game match against Wen Kai, eventually progressing in 67 minutes. Second seeded Chen Long has had little trouble in his route to the last 8 with three victories without the loss of a game. His biggest challenge awaits in Wang Zhengming in an all-Chinese match. 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana has been back in form this week, with an excellent victory over Kazushi Yamada in two tight games to set up a match with Bao Chunlai, who has also been impressive in his route to the last 8. 4th seeded Tien Minh Nguyen takes on 6th seeded Du Pengyu in the 4th quarter final, with the 4th seeded Nguyen in excellent form in reaching this stage.
Even at the last 8 stage, China has assured itself of at least one finalist with a monopoly on the top half of the draw. Lu Lan’s victory over Wang Shixian means she takes on the 6th seeded Li Xuerui with the winner taking on the other quarter final in the top half of the draw, between 4th seeded Liu Xin and 5th seed Jiang Yanjiao. The three seeded players left in the top half have all won their matches without the loss of a game to date this week. The bottom half of the draw as a much more diverse nationality of players, with 2nd seeded Wang Yihan being the sole Chinese player in the bottom half of the draw. Two unseeded Thai players as well as a Chinese Taipei player makes up the last 8. With Wang Yihan taking on the Thai qualifier Sapsiree Taerattanachai for a place in the last 4.
The men’s doubles is another event well represented by Chinese pairings, with 4 of the 8 duos coming from China. Cai and Fu are the top seeds this week and have been flawless on route to the last 8 with a pair of two game victories. Their opponents in the last 8 are the Malaysian pair of Goh and Lim whose run to the quarters was bolstered with the withdrawal of the 7th seeded Lee and Shin who were set to be their first round opponents. The other quarter final in the top half sees the 4th seeded Chandra and Gunawan take on the 6th seeded Xu and Zhang for a place in the last 4. The big news in the bottom half of the draw is the loss of the 3rd seeded Fang and Lee to the unseeded Chinese pair of Liu and Qiu in a tame two game defeat.
The women’s doubles has a full compliment of seeds in the last 8, with only the 8th seeded Bao and Zhong as well as the 7th seeded Naito and Matsuo dropping a game on route to the quarter final. The Japanese 7th seeds will have to be at their very best to challenge the 2nd seeded Yu and Wang who have been the form pair in this event for the last few months. The top seeded Cheng and Chien take on the 5th seeded Tian and Zhao of China, who defeated the dangerous pairing of Ma and Cheng in two games to reach the last 8.
The mixed doubles draw has a few surprises in the last 8, all of which are in the top half of the draw to the delight of the top seeded pair of Zhao and Zhang. 7th seeded He and Yu lasted just two points into their opening round match before they had to withdraw which the Japanese qualifiers Sato and Matsuo have taken full advantage to reach to the last 8 where they will take on the unseeded Chinese pair of Hong and Pan. The bottom half of the draw has all four seeds remaining, including an all-Chinese tie between the 8th seeded Ma and Xu against the 3rd seeded Tao and Tian, with the higher seeded pair surviving a scare in their second round match against Shiota and Ikeda before progressing in three games. The last of the quarter finals sees the 6th seeded Lee and Chein take on the in form 2nd seeded pair of Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam who haven’t dropped a game this week in reaching the last 8.
Day 3 Results:
Danish badminton continues it’s winning ways, after a trio of success in Odense last week they secured the men’s doubles title in France this week as Boe and Mogensen lived up to their top seeding for the second week running.
Taufik Hidayat put last week’s defeat to Jan O Jorgensen behind him to defeat another Dane in the men’s singles final. He dispatched of Joachim Persson in two games but Persson has resurrected himself this week and reminded everyone that he is one of the top players in the world and one of the best 3 players in Denmark at the moment. Taufik Hidayat claims his second title of the year, after his success in Indonesia earlier in the year.
Wang Yihan also made it two wins in 2 weeks, defeating Li Xuerui for the second week running. This time it was a two game victory for the top seed who has staked her claim to regain the #1 spot in the women’s game after back-to-back victories in Europe this month.
Surprise finalists Kindervater and Schottler couldn’t win the final match in their unlikely run to the final, losing out to the Danish pair of Boe and Mogensen in two games however their victory over the second seeded Kido and Setiawan is a real boost for German badminton which is going through an excellent patch with the likes of Zwiebler and Schenk contending in the singles discipline.
There was double success for Thailand in the women’s and mixed doubles, as the 3rd seeded Aroonkesorn and Voravichitchaikul won the opening game against the top seeded Nedelcheva and Russkikh, but the top seeds had to retire halfway through the second game to hand the 3rd seeded Thai pair the title. The 4th seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam defeated the 7th seeded German pair of Fuchs and Overzier in two games to double Thailand’s win total in France this week.