A rain-shortened day in Singapore has delayed some players opening round games until Thursday such as Peter Gade but even down one court for most of the day the organisers almost completed a full days play, with several seeds crashing out throughout the day.
The unknown Chinese players in Singapore are making a name for themselves as Li Xuerui defeated 8th seeded Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong 21-4, 21-14 in just 22 minutes to explode onto the Super Series stage within the opening hour of play. 3rd seed Zhou Mi crashed out in the opening round as her terrible run of form in the 2010 Super Series continues. Saina Nehwal had no trouble in her opening round match, defeating Wong Mew Choo 21-8, 21-5 to book a 2nd round match against the European Circuit Finals champion, Ella Diehl. 4th seeded Lu Lan, who is not taking part in the World Championships in Paris after dropping out of China’s top 4 (currently China’s #6) but is still ranked inside the top 10 in the world has to wait until tomorrow to start her campaign against Ai Goto of Japan.
The biggest casualty in the men’s draw is Jan O Jorgensen, seeded 5 for the event as Dicky Palyama defeated him in three tight games. Peter Gade and Tien Minh Nguyen start their campaigns off tomorrow after the rain delay forced their matches into tomorrow’s order of play. Lee Chong Wei made hard work of his opening match against Brice Leverdez after losing the second game before recovering to take the match in three games. Joachim Persson scored an excellent victory over Marc Zwiebler of Germany in three games to set up a 2nd round match against Sony Kuncoro.
The top two seeds are into Round 2 of the Mixed Doubles, top seeded Widianto and Natsir had to come back from a game down to set up a all-Indonesian 2nd round match with Ahmad and Polii. World Champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl had no problems in progressing to round 2, where they will face the English pair of Heather Olver and Anthony Clark. There was mixed fortunes for the English contingent in Singapore as 8th seeded Robertson and Wallwork were defeated in three games by local pair Triyachart and Yao in Round 1.
It was the year of the unseeded players to shine, a resurrection of Danish badminton and a dream realized for one of the best players ever as Lee Chong Wei took his first All England Championships. Tine Rasmussen avenged her 2009 defeat and a new force in mixed doubles shone on the biggest stage.
Unseeded Kenichi Tago looked for one last sensational performance in a week he will consider one of the best of his career to date, all that stood in his way of the most stunning of stories was the winner of the Korean and Malaysian Super Series events, Lee Chong Wei. The Japanese player lead for most of the opening game before a 6-point run for the top seed put him ahead and despite a stern fightback by Tago, Lee Chong Wei took the game 21-19.
The second game was more comfortable for Lee Chong Wei, despite several fightbacks by Tago to level the scores up, he was unable to take the lead in the second game. Tago managed to save two match points from 17-20 down but Lee Chong Wei took the match at the third attempt to claim his first All England title 21-19, 21-19.
The final turned into a repeat of the 2009 final, with Tine Rasmussen taking on Wang Yihan. The opening game was dominated by the Dane, never letting Wang Yihan into it and winning the game 21-14. The Chinese top seed turned the match on it’s head with a dominating performance in the second game, a game she lead for the majority of and won 21-18 to take the match into a deciding game. The third game was a much tighter encounter, as both players held the lead at stages throughout, with the match poised at 19-19, Tine Rasmussen calmly served out to win the title 21-19 and avenge her 2009 defeat to Wang Yihan.
An All-Danish final guaranteed a second title for Denmark as Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen took on 4th seeded Boe and Mogensen. The unseeded pair had defeated the top seeds and 3rd seeds to reach this point and needed just one win over the 4th seeds to cap off an incredible week in Birmingham. The opening game was a tight affair, with the 4th seeds leading for most of the game before a late fightback from the unseeded Paaske and Rasmussen gave them a late lead, only for the 4th seeds to retake the lead to win the opening game 23-21 after saving two games points.
The second game was a copy of the first, only this time Paaske and Rasmussen led most of the way only to slip up late on but rallied back to take the second game 21-19 to set up a deciding game. The third game was a superb encounter, with the duos exchanging points with each other for the opening 18 points, Paaske and Rasmussen then broke into a slight lead, only to be reeled back in at 18-18 and then the 4th seeds saved a match point and then had four chances to win the match before Paaske and Rasmussen strung three points together from 23-24 down to win the match 26-24.
The All-Chinese final was between the top seeded Du and Yu and 3rd seeded Zhao and Cheng. The first game was dominated by the lower seeded Zhao and Cheng before giving up an 18-13 lead to allow the top seeds a game point in the first, before coming back to win the game 22-20. The second game looked to be going the same way but Du and Yu reeled off 7 points from 15-12 down to an unassailable lead in the game to win the second game and level the match up at 21-16.
The top seeds had the momentum in third and proved why they were the top seeded pair in the event with another run of points late in the third game to give them a lead that they would never give up and won the third game 21-13.
Unseeded Zhang and Zhao had defeated the 1st, 4th and 8th seeds to reach the final and had another seed standing in their way of their unlikely mixed doubles success in the 2nd seeded Widianto and Natsir. The second seeds started off the better and took a lead for most of the game. At 14-18 down, the Chinese pair reeled off point after point before winning the opening game with their first game point and a 7-point streak to take a shock lead in the match. The second game was a much tighter affair but the Chinese pair managed to stay in touch and had two chances in the second game to win the match before the 2nd seed clinched the second game 25-23 to set up a deciding third game.
Natsir and Widianto continued on in the third game from where they finished in the second, opening an early 9-3 lead. The Chinese continued to chip into the lead and levelled the scores at 14-14 and reeled an important three point run off at 16-16 to give them breathing space, Natsir and Widianto brought it back to 19-18, then the Chinese pair calmly served out to claim their first All England title, winning the deciding game 21-18.
After a week of hard work the finals are here and China looks primed for domination. With only one event out of their reach, China has 3 guaranteed golds and a chance at the fourth. Mens singles, womens singles, and womens doubles are all in the bag now for China, and Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng will certainly do their best to capture a fourth for the day, and their second for their careers.
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.