The first Super Series since the London Olympics is without most of the medalists from 6 weeks ago but nevertheless has provided a lot of entertainment with several of the seeded players already crashing out.
Li Xuerui Into Last 8
The Chinese have the majority of the singles players left in the draw, with top seeded Chen Long surviving an opening round scare against Viktor Axelsen before his routine 21-13, 21-3 victory over Misha Zilberman to book his place in the last 8. Du Pengyu, Wang Zhengming and qualifier Qiao Bin are also into the last 8, with Qiao Bin defeating Hans Kristian Vittinghus to reach the quarter finals. India are also well represented, with 3 men left in the draw also. Gurusaidutt, Varma and Jayaram are also all safely into the last 8.
Olympic champion Li Xuerui headlines an excellent women’s singles event, with a potential rematch with Wang Yihan waiting in the final. The top two seeds needed just two games each to book their place in the last 4. There has been disappointment also, with Wang Shixian and Liu Xin both losing in two games to unseeded opponents but there is a third Chinese woman in the last 8 with Jiang Yanjiao reaching the quarter finals with a two game victory over Eriko Hirose.
Poor Turnout In Doubles
The scheduling of this Super Series was meant to give players ample recovery time after the Olympics, but in the doubles there is simply a lack of pairs in the events. Just 13 pairs entered the women’s doubles, which has been reduced to 8 before any play this week and the 2nd seeded Huan and Tang have already pulled out to allow the 5th seeded Cheng and Luo a semi final spot.
The men’s doubles offers some sort of depth, but there are still the opportunities to reach the latter stages without playing a match. Anugritayawon and Prapakamol are one pair that have benefitted from this, as they have reached their quarter final match against Hong and Shen without playing a match today after the withdrawal of the 6th seeded Goh and Lim.
The top 3 seeds in the mixed doubles have all received byes into the quarter final stages, whilst another two Chinese pairs booked their places in the last 8 as well as two Chinese seeds. Liu/Yuo as well as Qiu/Tang have both defeated seeded pairs on route to the quarter final, with Liu and Yuo hoping to defeat the second Thai pairing of the week after their victory over the 5th seeds Anugritayawon and Voravickaikul, they now take on the 2nd seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam.
The European contingent took a massive hit today, with player crashing out of every event leaving just a handful of European hopefuls left in the draws.
8 Of The Best Remain
Even without Lee Chong Wei or Peter Gade, the quarter final lineup has plenty of intrigue. The re-emergence of Taufik Hidayat is both unexpected but welcome as he refuses to give up on an Olympic spot. Shon Wan Ho is Hidayat’s quarter final opponent, whose run has been highly impressive in dropping just 61 points in three matches. Viktor Axelsen continues to appear in the later rounds of these events but takes on Lee Hyun Il of Korea in his quarter final. This will be a fantastic test of how good the Danish teen is. Chen Long is also through to the last 8, taking on Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in the quarter finals after the Dane defeated the 7th seeded Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam.
Chinese Withdrawals Open Up Draw
The withdrawals of Wang Yihan and Jiang Yanjiao are somewhat strange in their timing, with having the opportunity to progress without the loss of a Chinese player which is often the reason for such withdrawals during events. Wang Shixian and Liu Xin remain in the draw to add further question marks, with Wang Shixian taking on Juliane Schenk and Liu Xin taking on Saina Nehwal in tough quarter final matches.
Adcock and Bankier Claim Tight Victory
The all-British encounter was talked about as being the potential deciding game on who would make the Olympics for Team GB. After 68 minutes and saving 3 match points, with the world number 14 pairing of Adcock and Bankier progressing 25-23 in the third game. Their reward is a quarter final against the unseeded Japanese pair of Hayakawa and Matsutomo whilst the other match in the top half is a rematch of the All England semi final with Ahmad and Natsir taking on Chan and Goh.
The top seeded Chai and Guo crashed out to the unseeded pairing of Goh and Teo of Malaysia who take on the 5th seeded Indonesian pair of Chandra and Gunawan. There is one Chinese pair left in the draw, the unseeded pair of Hong and Shen take on the 8th seeded Japanese pair of Endo and Hayakawa. The world number 13 and 14 pairs have played twice previously with both pairings claiming a victory.
6 of the 8 seeds in the women’s doubles are safely into the quarter finals, with the top seeds Ha and Kim taking on the 7th seeded Chien and Cheng of Chinese Taipei. The sole European hope lies with the 5th seeded Pedersen and Rytter Juhl who take on one of the unseeded pairs in Chin and Wong in their quarter final.
Peter Gade’s withdrawal today and Lee Chong Wei’s pre-event withdrawal has opened the door for a Chinese victory on Sunday with 3 players into the last 16.
Strong European Showing
6 Europeans make up the last 16, with Jan O Jorgensen being the biggest name of the six. He also has the toughest task to reach the last 8 as he takes on Chen Jin in the third round. Vittinghus and Axelsen complete the Danish line-up, with the 14th seed taking on Tien Minh Nguyen whilst Axelsen takes on Sakai of Japan, who benefited from Gade’s retirement. Chen Long is the top seed and has progressed into the third round with little resistance and takes on Ueda of Japan in the last 16.
Chinese Seeds Loom Large
The four Chinese seeds are positioned in different quarters of the draw, making the chance of an all-Chinese semi final a real possibility. Wang Yihan, Liu Xin, Jiang Yanjiao and Wang Shixian all progressed into the last 16 with a potential seeded opponent for all waiting in the last 8. Juliane Schenk is the big European hope in the draw but has a tough second round match against Eriko Hirose of Japan before considering a quarter final against Wang Shixian.
All British Showdown
Ahmad and Natsir continue on their form from the All Englands with a straightforward win but the story of the second round tomorrow will be the all-British clash between Adcock and Bankier against Robertson and Wallwork. The world number 17 and 19 will face off in what could potentially be the deciding match on who represents GB at their home Olympics. Robertson and Wallwork lead the head to head 1-0 but both pairs are in excellent form with both reaching the All England quarter finals.
The seven seeds that started the day in the men’s doubles all progressing without many problems, with Hashimoto and Hirata needing three games to reach the last 16. Seven seeds remain in the women’s doubles too, with the 4th seeded Maeda and Suetsuna crashing out to Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul of Thailand in two games in the opening round.
Gade’s defeat to Kenichi Tago was a massive blow to the Danish squad but the heroics of Jan O Jorgensen in his three game victory over the World and Olympic champion Lin Dan stole the headlines on day 2.
Lee Chong Wei Takes On Taufik
The doubters over Taufik’s desire to continue to perform at the highest level have lessened of the past month, with a victory in India and his run this week to the last 8 after this victory over Tien Minh Nguyen. His opponent in the last 8 is the world number 1 Lee Chong Wei who defeat Kazushi Yamada in two games to reach the quarter finals.
The doubters have now focussed on Peter Gade. Two early exits in Korea and this week in Malaysia to Kenichi Tago have put question marks over Gade’s chances at the London Olympics. Jan O Jorgensen could well be a legitimate contender to take over the Danish number 1 spot ahead of the summer after a stunning three game victory over Lin Dan in one of the last matches of the day.
5 From 8 For The Chinese
Only Tine Baun stopped a full compliment of Chinese players entering the quarter finals, with the Dane defeating Liu Xin in two games to set up the only quarter final without Chinese interest against Saina Nehwal of India. Juliane Schenk doubles the European involvement in the latter stages, but takes on the 3rd seed Wang Shixian in her quarter final matchup. Two all-Chinese matchups make up the remaining quarter finals, with top seeded Wang Yihan taking on Li Xuerui in the first of the quarter finals whilst Wang Xin takes on Jiang Yanjiao in the more competitive of the two matches.
Seeds Topple Throughout The Doubles
Just two rounds in and the draws for all three doubles events have been decimated. Just three seeds remain in the men’s doubles, headlined by the 3rd seeded Chai and Guo who take on Kido and Setiawan to be the last remaining seed left in the top half of the draw. Hashimoto and Hirata are the last seeds left in the bottom half of the draw and they take on Kim and Kim of Korea in their quarter final match, with the Korean’s taking out the 4th seeded Koo and Tan to ensure their place in the last 8.
The women’s doubles is often the event where 8 seeds will make up the last 8 but not this week. Just five seeds remain with top seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa taking on the 7th seeded Rytter Juhl and Pedersen in the last 8. Hoo and Woon take on Zhong and Yixin in the only quarter final without a seed taking part and the only Chinese pair left in the draw. 2nd seeded Ha and Kim take on the final unseeded pair left in the draw, taking on Chin and Wong of Malaysia in their quarter final match.
Just three seeds remain in the mixed doubles also, with the Russian pair of Nikolaenko and Sorokina continuing their excellent form to start the year. Their reward for defeating the 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl is a quarter final against the current world champions, Zhang and Zhao of China. Xu and Ma take on Lee and Ha of Korea in the bottom half of the draw in a rematch of the Korean Open final, a match that the Chinese pair won in three games.
Lee Chong Wei’s final Super Series event in his home nation started with an all-Malaysian encounter with Daren Liew, wrapped up in just over a half hour to give his fanatical home support a brief glimpse of what he is capable of this week.
Every Seed Through
The week has started completely differently to Seoul just 7 days ago, every seed has progressed as well as Taufik Hidayat, who has propped himself back into the top 10 in the world with a win in India over the Christmas period. Jan O Jorgensen’s reward for his three game battle with Du Pengyu is a even bigger Chinese threat, world number 2 Lin Dan. The 2nd seed defeat Viktor Axelsen in two games to set up his second round match, with the Danish teenager getting a lot more experience at Super Series level with the pending retirement of Peter Gade. Gade progressed in two tight games over Wong Wing Ki to set up a second round match against Kenichi Tago. Taufik Hidayat defeated Chou Tien Chen in two games to book his place in the last 16 against Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam, seeded 7.
6 Through To Last 16
The all-conquering Chinese squad are here in numbers in the women’s singles, with the prospect of 6 players in the last 8 looming tomorrow. Top seeded Wang Yihan takes on Bae Youn Joo of Korea, a quarter finalist in Korea last week. 2nd seeded Wang Xin takes on Eriko Hirose of Japan in her second round match, with a likely quarter final match with Jiang Yanjiao should the 6th seeded defeat Pi Hongyan of France. The European threat as always comes from Tine Baun and Juliane Schenk, with both players progressing to the second round, with Baun having the toughest draw facing Liu Xin of China in her second round match.
Shocks and Withdrawals Open Door For New Winners
The men’s doubles is without the top two in the world this week, leaving Ko and Yoo as the clear favourites this week. Their run lasted just a single round as they were shocked in the 1st round by Endo and Hayakawa of Japan. The draw is wide open with the 3rd seed Chai and Guo being the top seeds left in the draw but needing three games to beat Ellis and Mills of England in their opening round matches. There were wins for the 4th seeded Koo and Tan as well as the 5th seeded Ahsan and Septano to ensure some seeds remained in the draw.
Without the top two Chinese pairs in the women’s doubles, the draw is an absolute lottery as there will be a non-Chinese winner of this event for the first time in almost a year. Fujii and Kakiiwa are the top seeds this week and started off strongly with a three game victory over the Chinese pair of Huan and Tang. Finalists last week, Ha and Kim are the second seeds this week and they also started strong with a two game victory over Wallwork and White of England. The biggest casualty of the opening round was the 3rd seeded Maeda and Suetsuna who crashed out to Malaysia’s Woon and Hoo in three games.
The mixed doubles has a full compliment of Chinese pairs, with four in the last 16. Zhao and Zhang are safely into round 2 with a two game victory over Lee and Chien whilst the bottom half sees an all-Chinese second round clash between Ma and Xu playing He and Yixin after both pairs won in two games. The Russian pair of Nikolaenko and Sorokina continue their excellent run of form, disposing of the 6th seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam to reach the second round where they will take on the 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl.
The double withdrawal of Liu Xin and Lin Dan marred a day of excellent matches as the Chinese have their sights set on London 2012 and getting as many players as possible to qualify for the Olympics.
Chen Long received a walkover over Lin Dan and will face Lee Chong Wei who defeated Peter Gade in two games whilst in the women’s singles, Liu Xin’s withdrawal means that Wang Yihan will play Juliane Schenk, who defeated Saina Nehwal in convincing fashion to reach the final.
Cai and Fu survived a real test against Koo and Tan to reach the men’s doubles final where they will take on the 4th seeded Indonesian pair of Ahsan and Septano who beat their team-mates Kido and Setiawan in another tight three game match. China are represented in the women’s doubles too by Bao and Zhong who defeated their three Japanese seed of the week , this time it was the 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa who were defeated in three games in a 91 minute match. Their opponents in the final will be the 5th seeded Chien and Cheng of Chinese Taipei who ended the run of the unseeded Hong Kong pairing of Poon and Tse in two games.
Cheng Wen Hsing is also into the final of the mixed doubles with a two game victory over the top seed and world champions Zhang and Zhao with her partner Chen Hung Ling and will take on Danish pair of Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen who defeated Fuchs and Michels in an all-European semi final in a tight three game match to reach the final.
Wang Shixian suffered a second defeat to Juliane Schenk in the matter of months as the world #2 continues her erratic form of late, after a convincing victory last week against Schenk, the German defeated her Chinese opponent in two games today.
The top four seeds all safely progressed into the semi finals in the men’s singles, setting up two excellent matches. The all-Chinese semi final between Lin Dan and Chen Long has been a one sided one in their previous two matchup but both of those were over a year ago and won by Lin Dan. The other semi final sees Lee Chong Wei against Peter Gade play for the 15th time, with the Malaysian winning 13 of the 14 encounters previously. The world number 1 was taken to three games today against Kenichi Tago whilst Gade has failed to drop any matches to date. The Dane will look to any advantage to claim his second victory over Lee Chong Wei.
The up and down form of Wang Shixian took another dip today in her two game defeat to Juliane Schenk, edging their overall head to head ever closer with the Chinese player holding a mere 3-2 advantage now. Saina Newhal takes on Schenk in the semi final after a straight forward two game victory over Gu Juan. The other semi final is an all-Chinese clash with top seeded Wang Yihan taking on the 21-year old Liu Xin, touted to be one of the future stars of the Chinese game.
The men’s doubles has four of the top six seeds remaining, with Cai and Fu taking on Koo and Tan in the first semi final in their 12th encounter with the Chinese pair winning seven of the previous twelve. The other semi final is an all-Indonesian affair, with Ahsan and Septano taking on Kido and Setiawan, with the 6th seeded pair defeating the Korean pair of Lee and Ko in the quarter finals to reach this point in the tournament.
The women’s doubles semi finals are a stark contrast to previous events, with one Chinese pair as well as two unseeded pairs remaining at this stage. The 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa are the highest seeds left in the draw and take on Chinese’s sole pair in the semi finals in Yixin and Zhong, who defeated the 6th seeded Naito and Matsuo in three games to reach the semi finals. Chen and Chien are the second seeds left in the draw, with the 5th seeds taking on Poon and Tse of Hong Kong who defeated the Danish pair of Pedersen and Rytter Juhl to reach the other semi final.
The highly anticipated match between Zhang and Zhao against Xu and Ma was a disappointment, but the match was completed after two abrupt endings with the top seeds progressing in two games. They will take on Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei in the semi final after their victory over Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in their quarter final match. An all-European semi final awaits for the first time in recent memory in the Super Series with Denmark’s Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen taking on the German pairing of Fuchs and Michels for a place in Sunday’s final.
The first post-World Championships Super Series in China was a perfect way for the host nation to bolster it’s place at the top of world badminton and to an extent they did, but one shock defeat leaves a bittersweet taste on a successful day for the host nation.
World Champion Lin Dan progressed safely into round 2 and was followed by Chen Jin, Zhou Wenlong, Chen Long, Du Pengyu and Wang Zhengming. Only Peter Gade and Kazushi Yamada were able to defeat Chinese opponents in the opening round as the European interest in the men’s singles shrunk to just two after the opening round. Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Peter Gade are Europe’s sole hopes this week with early exits for Rajiv Ouseph, Jan O Jorgensen and Marc Zwiebler.
Wang Shixian needed the full distance to reach the second round against Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, eventually coming through 30-29 in the final game in 71 minutes and saving eleven match points. There is a massive Chinese involvement in round 2 as expected, with Wang Yihan, Wang Xin, Jiang Yanjiao, Liu Xin and Yao Xue making up six of the sixteen remaining players. Tine Baun and Juliane Schenk will be Europe’s main hopes of an unlikely victory on Chinese soil.
The men’s doubles has but just 3 pairs from China, but the top seeded Cai and Fu will be the pair to watch. Hashimoto and Hirata defeated the 8th seeded Chandra and Gunawan to book their place in the last 16 but there were little surprises in the other matches in the opening round. The women’s doubles will be another event to watch for the all-conquering world champions Wang and Yu whilst Europe has it’s entire hope placed solely on Rytter Juhl and Pedersen’s shoulders for success.
The mixed doubles seen the biggest shock of the day as China’s 2nd seeds Jiaming and Ting to unseeded Indian pair Gutta and Valiyaveeti in three games. Their reward is a match against Lee and Ha of Korea, a pair that easily beat them in Switzerland earlier in the year. Last week’s winners Ko and Eom have the toughest task in round 2 as they take on the world champions and top seeded Zhang and Zhao for a place in the quarter final.