Four of the five finals today had Chinese interest, an ominous sign to the Badminton world ahead of next weeks All-England Championships. The only final not to have some sort of Chinese interest was the mixed doubles final with Ying Suet Tse and Yohan Hadikusumo Wiramata playing Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier. The match turned out to be an anti-climax as the British pair of Blair and Bankier had to retired trailing 15-5 in the opening game. Bankier missed most of the second half of 2009 with a knee injury.
The men’s singles final was an All-Chinese affair between the top two seeds, Bao Chunlai and Chen Long. The second seed started off the better, leading the opening game 8-6 before Bao Chunlai strung nine points together and took an unassailable lead in the game, eventually winning it 21-13. Chen Long never recovered from the run in the first game and never lead in the second game, with the top seed stringing together a several 3 and 4 point streaks of points and took the second game 21-10 to claim the title. Bao Chunlai is the 6th seed for the All-England next week.
The women’s singles final was the main attraction for the home crowd, after Juliane Schenk’s stunning win over top seed Wang Lin to reach the final. She would play the 2nd seed from China, Wang Xin for the title today. The opening game was a tight affair, with Schenk staying within touching distance of her opponent and managed to claw it back to 17-17 in the opening game, but Wang Xin strung together the next 4 points to take the opener 21-17. The second game was a similar story and the pair exchanged the lead early in the game, but Wang Xin showed her class at 13-12 in the game, she reeled off 6 points in the row and a valiant comeback from Schenk to bring it back to 19-17 wasn’t enough as the second seed won 2 of the next 3 points to take the second game 21-18.
The Women’s doubles final was the 4th match on and another all-Chinese match between the top two seeds, Ma and Wang against Cheng and Zhao. The opening game was dominated by the top seeds Ma and Wang but a 5 point streak from 14-18 down gave the second seeds a lead late in the game, both pairs exchanged two game points before Ma and Wang took the game 24-22. The second game started just as the first did, with the top seeds taking an early lead only to be pulled back later in the game, however at 14-14 it was Ma and Wang’s turn to chain 5 points together to take a 19-14 and won two of the next three points to win the match 24-22, 21-15.
The final match of the day saw the 5th seeded Chai and Zhang of China play Lin and Lang over Chinese Taipei. The second seeds dominated the opening game, refusing to give their Chinese opponents a chance to get close to levelling the scores and at 19-17 up, served out for the opening game. The second game however, was a different story as it was the Chinese pair that dominated the game, never letting the opponents lead through the entire game and won the second game comfortably 21-13 to take it to a deciding game. The third game started like the opening game, with Lin and Lang taking an early lead but trailing 8-12, Chai and Zhang put together a stunning run of 7 consecutive points to lead 15-12 and went from strength to strength to take the match 21-15 and China’s fourth title in Germany this week.
Heading into the finals tomorrow China has secured themselves finalists in all of the finals with the exception of the mixed doubles event. Perhaps the strongest challenge to China’s dominance in the finals tomorrow is home town favourite Juliane Schenk who upset top seeded Wang Lin today in three close games 17-21, 21-15, 21-16. The German proved that she is one of the few Europeans capable of challenging the Chinese in the women’s singles event, but she will have to do it again tomorrow against second seeded Wang Xin if she wants to take home the title.
In the mixed doubles it was England’s Robert Blair and Scotland’s Imogen Bankier that prevented China from having a pair in the finals when they defeated Tao Jiaming and Zhang Yawen in two games 21-17, 21-19. While the British pair may not have been seeded, Blair has a history of winning some big matches, like appearance in the 2006 World Championships finals in the men’s doubles, so it’s best not to underestimate this pair tomorrow when they face Hong Kong’s Yohan Hadikusumo Wiramata and Tse Ying Suet.
As is so often the case, China has already secured themselves a top finish in both the women’s doubles and the men’s singles. In the women’s doubles the top two seeded pairs are facing off after Cheng Shu and Zhao Yunlei sailed passed Russia’s Valeria Sorokina and Nina Vislova, and they will play Ma Jin and Wang Xiaoli in the finals.
The men’s singles featured two Chinese players facing off against two Malaysians. First it was Chen Long up against Hafiz Hashim. Hafiz has been trying to regain his top form, and while this tournament was an improvement for the lanky Malaysian, Chen Long was the better player winning in two straight games 21-15, 21-19. Next up it was Bao Chunlai against Wong Choong Han. Similar to Hashim, Wong has had a fairly good run in Germany this week, but Bao was much stronger winning 21-18, 21-13.
Finally in the mens doubles we can look forward to up and coming Chinese pair Chai Biao and Zhang Nan taking to the courts against Chinese Taipei’s Chung Hun Lin and Lin Yu Lang.