The best eight players and pairs are in Liuzhou this week for the final event of the 2011 Superseries season, with plenty of Chinese interest on home soil.
Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei Win Openers
The favourites from the two groups in the men’s singles both won their opening matches, but both needed three games to ensure a winning start this week. Lin Dan defeated Chen Long in a 62-minute thriller to open up Group B whilst Lee Chong Wei needed three games to defeat Sho Sasaki and ensure a win on the opening round of matches. Peter Gade tops Group A after an impressive 21-13, 21-9 victory over Simon Santoso and there was more disappointed for the Indonesians as Taufik Hidayat was defeated by Japan’s Kenichi Tago in the other Group B match, with Tago taking the deciding game 21-7 to share the top spot in the group with Lin Dan.
Wang Yihan Beaten Sung Ji Hyun
The big surprise in the women’s singles came in the Group A opener as world number 1 Wang Yihan lost to Sung Ji Hyun of Korea in a 72-minute match, after the Chinese number 1 took the opening game 21-13 but capitulated and lost the next two games to make her chances of making the semi finals increasingly difficult. Tine Baun tops the group after an impressive one-sided victory over Juliane Schenk, winning 21-12, 21-11 in just 27 minutes. Xin Wang needed just 26 minutes to defeat Sayaka Sato of Japan to top Group B whilst Saina Nehwal defeated Bae Youn Joo to start her campaign on a positive note.
Cai and Fu Defeated
The main news from the men’s doubles group was Cai and Fu’s defeat to Chai and Guo in their Group A opener, Ko and Yoo also suffered an opening game defeat, making their matchup on Friday potentially for the second position in the group. Lee and Jung survived their own scare against Koo and Tan but eventually won in three games to keep finishing top of their group a possibility. Wang and Yu top Group A in the women’s doubles with a 21-9, 21-11 victory over Poon and Tse whilst Tian and Zhao top Group B after a three game victory over Pedersen and Rytter Juhl in 58 minutes. Zhao and Zhang defeated their Chinese team-mates Xu and Ma in their opening match of the mixed doubles in Group A, with the world number 1 pairing winning the match in three games, needing 45 minutes to ensure a top two place in the group. Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen top Group B with a two game victory over Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand in a 21-15, 21-17 victory.
It may have only been a few seeds that crashed out today, but the significance of the names have changed several of the draws appearance. New world number 1 Wang Shixian crashed out as well as Taufik Hidayat in what could be his last tournament as a Super Series seeded player.
Taufik Crashes Out
It has been an all too similar story this year for Hidayat, another early exit from a Super Series but the manner of his defeat as well as the opponent signals a change in the guard of Indonesian badminton. His 21-15, 21-10 loss to Simon Santoso could be the last time Taufik Hidayat is ranked above Santoso, with just two places separating the pair at the start of the week and Santoso’s reward is a quarter final match against Peter Gade, who defeated Du Pengyu in his second round match. Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan both progressed safely into the last 8, as did Chen Long and Chen Jin who now face each other for a place in the semi finals on Saturday.
Wang Shixian and Tine Baun Out
The weight of China was on Wang Shixian’s shoulders once more, and once more an early exit has been the result. A second round defeat to Inthanon Ratchanok again asks questions over Wang Shixian’s ability to cope with the added pressure of being world number 1. It was one of just two defeats for the Chinese squad that could have had as many as 7 of the last 8 in the women’s singles. Han Li lost out to Petya Nedelcheva whilst Yao Xue ended the run of the 7th seeded Tine Baun with a three game victory and a quarter final against the 3rd seeded Wang Xin.
Business As Usual For Top Seeds In Doubles
It is yet another tournament with the same names looking likely to meet in the final, with Cai and Fu looking ever the more likely to take on Lee and Jung for the fourth Super Series event running, with the 2nd seeded Korean’s coming through a scare against Liu and Qiu to reach the last 8. The women’s doubles looks like an all-Chinese affair for the 4th time also, as Wang and Yu look set to meet Tian and Zhao after both pairs won their opening matches today. Whilst in the mixed doubles there was a surprise as the 2nd seeded Xu and Ma crashed out to Chan and Goh of Malaysia, allowing the 3rd seeded Danish pair of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen a potentially easier route into Sunday’s final. Top seeded Zhang and Zhao had no trouble in reaching the last 8, where they take on Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei before a potential semi final clash with another Danish pair in Laybourn and Rytter Juhl, who defeated the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir in what was a successful day for the Danes in Shanghai.
The results from Hong Kong last week was a warning ahead of this week that China were back to their best. The opening day in Shanghai was yet another reminder as the top Chinese players as well as the future stars of this nation are set to dominate this week.
Gade Survives Scare
It was Peter Gade who came within a point of going out in a stunning upset to Shon Wan Ho of Korea, at 20-19 in the deciding game Gade reeled off three points in a row to survive his 82-minute ordeal and set up a second round clash with Du Pengyu of China. Lee Chong Wei and Kenichi Tago meet again this week, this time in the second round with both securing opening round victories. The world number 1 holds an 8-0 record against his Japanese opponent, with Tago winning just two games in the previous 8 meetings. Chen Long is the highest seed in the event for China and takes on Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in the second round tomorrow, with the winner set to play either Chen Jin or Wang Zhengming in the last 8.
Massive Chinese Contingent In Women’s Singles
China have no less than 8 players in the last 16 even with the loss of the 5th seeded Jiang Yanjiao in the opening round to Bulgaria’s Petya Nedelcheva. Top seed this week is Wang Shixian after regaining the world #1 spot and progressed safely into the second round against Thai qualifier Sapsiree Taerattanachai. Wang Yihan’s progression was tougher, defeating Ai Goto in two tight games and 3rd seeded Wang Xin was forced into a tight two game match by Yao Jie also. There is no less than 5 unseeded Chinese players, from Li Xuerui to qualifiers Han Li and Yao Xue, who takes on Tine Baun in the second round.
Little Trouble For Chinese Pairings
Three Chinese pairs in the men’s doubles are safely into the second round, with Cai and Fu taking on Hirobe and Kazuno, who defeated Hong and Chen in two tight games. The second seeded Lee and Jung are also into the last 16 and they also take on a Chinese pairing, the unseeded pair of Liu and Xiu who progressed easily into the second round after beating Liu and Ng of Canada. Boe and Mogensen are seeded 3 this week and defeated the on-form pairing of Bach and Gunawan in their opening round match.
Even with both the top two Chinese seeds receiving first round byes, there was still Chinese success in the women’s doubles as three unseeded Chinese pairs also progressed into the last 16. The most impressive of the victories was Cheng and Pan’s win over the 8th seeded Jauhari and Polii, whilst Tang and Xia as well as Xie and Yixin also progressed and take on seeded pairs in the last 16.
There was four Chinese victories in the mixed doubles also, with Zhang and Zhao receiving a bye whilst Xu and Ma came from a game behind against Ko and Eom of Korea to eventually progress into the last 16. Qualifiers Jiaming and Xia defeated te 6th seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand to set up their all-Chinese second round match against Hong and Pan. Lee and Ha were another seed that crashed out in the opening round, losing to the Danish pairing of Pieler Colding and Houmann to ensure three Danish pairs in the last 16 also, with Laybourn and Rytter Juhl beating Ikeda and Shiota of Japan and the 3rd seeded pair of Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen defeating Lee and Chien of Chinese Taipei to advance to the last 16.
The best two players in the world met for the first time since the world championship final in August, and whilst that match was heralded as a classic, their most recent encounter in Hong Kong resulted in a one-sided victory for Lin Dan over Lee Chong Wei.
Lin Dan Too Strong
Much has been made of Lin Dan and of the Chinese squads withdrawals recently, but surprisingly the highly anticipated rematch between Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei took place. The match was a distinctly one-sided affair with Lin Dan winning in two games and put further doubt into the Malaysian that he can compete with the Chinese squad after a pair of losses to Chen Long in recent weeks also. However, Chen Long suffered his own disappointment in his semi final loss to Chen Jin to set up an all-Chinese final.
Baun Into Final
After a recent run of poor form in Denmark and France, few expected this sort of week from Tine Baun. Her three game victory over Wang Shixian was one of her best results of the year and sets up a final against the 3rd seeded Wang Xin, who also defeated her higher ranked opponent in Wang Yihan in just two games to set up tomorrow’s final.
Usual Suspects In Doubles
The finals of the three previous Super Series have rarely changed, with Cai and Fu set to take on Lee and Jung in the men’s doubles final for the third Super Series in a row. The same can be said of the women’s doubles as Wang and Yu look for their 7th victory over Tian and Zhao and in their third straight meeting in a Super Series final. The mixed doubles has the on form Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen taking on a Chinese pairing, this time it is the top seeded Zhang and Zhao in the final after defeating Xu and Ma at the semi final stages this week, the pair they beat in their previous two Super Series finals.
It was a mixed day for the Koreans, the Indians, the Danes and the Japanese but for the Chinese it was almost a perfect day in Hong Kong, with just two pairs losing on a day of success for the Chinese.
Gade Crashes Out
Chen Jin and Peter Gade met for the 12th time today, with Gade winning just 3 of their previous 11 matchups. Today did not add another win to that tally as the 2010 world champion defeated Gade in two games to book his place in the last 4 and inflict his 9th defeat upon the Dane. His opponent in the semi final will be Chen Long, with a guaranteed Chinese involvement in Sunday’s final.
Lee Chong Wei defeated Ajay Jayaram to book his place in the last 4, whilst Lin Dan defeated Shon Wan Ho in his quarter final to set up their dream semi final match. Question marks will loom over the match as to whether the world number 1 will take on the current world champion until the pair step onto court, with the Chinese squad looking to keep this matchup from taking place in an Olympic qualifying year.
Baun Breaks Up Chinese Monopoly
With the top three Chinese seeds all making into the last 4, only Tine Baun adds any sort of variety to what looks like a Chinese certainty in the women’s singles. Baun’s victory over Saina Nehwal was an unexpected one with the Dane’s form being up and down in the past month but it is a welcome surprise to the Danish squad after Gade’s exit from the men’s singles. Baun takes on the 2nd seeded Wang Shixian whilst the other semi final is an all-Chinese affair between Wang Yihan and Wang Xin, with the higher seeded Wang Yihan taking a 5-1 head to head lead into their 7th meeting.
Chinese Dominant In Doubles
Chinese can boast two pairs in the semi finals of each of the three doubles events. Cai and Fu as well the pairing of Zhang and Jiaming, predominantly known for their mixed doubles results are also through to the last 4 of the men’s doubles. The two Chinese pairs take on one another in the first of the semi finals whilst the other semi final is an all-Korean affair with Ko and Yoo taking on Lee and Jung for a place in Sunday’s final.
Wang and Yu continue their march to the final with another two game victory over the local pairing of Poon and Tse whilst their perennial opponents in the final also progressed into the last 4 as Tian and Zhao defeating Jung and Kim of Korea to reach the last 4. Zhao Yunlei is also into the last 4 of the mixed doubles with Zhang Nan as of both partners are set to play two semi finals matches tomorrow, Zhang and Zhao take on the Chinese Taipei pairing of Chen and Cheng in the first of tomorrow’s semi finals whilst Xu and Ma take on their nemesis of the past few weeks in Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen in the second of tomorrow’s mixed doubles semi finals.
The final match of the second day in Hong Kong gave us the first look at the present elite against the future elite as the world number 1 took on the 2010 world junior champion in the last of the second round games in the men’s singles.
Lee Chong Wei Into Last 8
For the opening portion of the match, there was little to separate the two players but Lee Chong Wei eventually progressed safely in two games against Viktor Axelsen, but there will be positives to be taken for the Dane ahead of next week’s China Open. Ajay Jayaram is the Malaysian’s quarter final opponent after the Indian’s victory over Hashim of Malaysia in three games. Lin Dan takes on Shon Wan Ho in his quarter final, with the Korean beating the 8th seeded Marc Zwiebler in his second round match.
Indian qualifier RMV Gurusaidutt has been the story of the bottom half of the draw, he impressed in qualifying and today provided the biggest victory over his career over the 7th seeded Du Pengyu of China. His reward is another Chinese player in the next round, the 2nd seeded Chen Long for a place in the semi finals. The fourth quarter final is a battle of the veterans of the game as Peter Gade takes on Chen Jin for the 11th time. Gade was forced to three games by Yamada in his second round match whilst Chen Jin disposed of Gade’s countryman Jan O Jorgensen in just two games.
Triple Threat From China
Three Chinese and three Japanese players started the last 16, only Ai Goto remains from the Japanese squad whilst all of the Chinese seeds are into the last 8. Ai Goto takes on the top seeded Wang Yihan tomorrow, with her record against the world number 1 far from stellar with just one game won in their four meetings to date. The only match not containing a Chinese player sees the 4th seeded Saina Nehwal take on Tine Baun as they meet for only the 4th time, with the Indian taking their most recent match at the Indonesia Premier event in June.
Bach and Gunawan match into quarterfinals
The 2005 world champions have managed once again to upset the worlds elite and reach the last 8 of a Super Series event. After their three game victory over Kawamae and Sato they have the unenviable task of taking on the world number 1 pairing of Cai and Fu, with the Chinese pair looking to continue their unbeaten run to 7 against the American pair. The two Korean threats of Lee and Jung as well as Ko and Yoo are on a collision course for the semi finals after both pairs won in two games to reach the last 8.
Win number 51 of the year was never in doubt for Wang And Yu, taking their streak of matches without the loss of a game to 8, dating back their semi final victory in Denmark last month. Tian and Zhao amassed their 41st win of the year and look set to meet their Chinese team-mates Wang and Yu in the final for the third straight Super Series event, who have been responsible for 6 of the 8 losses inflicted on Tian and Zhao.
Four of the remaining eight pairs in the mixed doubles are Chinese, with at least Chinese pair guaranteed in the last 4 from the all-Chinese quarter final of Zhang and Zhao against He and Yixin. The possibility of an all-Chinese semi final lies in the hands of Pan and Hong, who take on Chen and Cheng after both pairs progressed to the last 8 in two games. Ko and Eom of Korea take on the on form Danish pair of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen whilst Valeria Sorokina’s excellent week sees her in both the women’s doubles and mixed doubles quarter finals after defeating seeds in both her second round matches. Sorokina partners Nikolaenko in her quarter final in the mixed doubles against Xu and Ma of China.
Peter Gade’s final run at the French Open title came undone at the second round stage with a surprise defeat to Hu Yun, but he wasn’t the only seed to crash out today.
Gade says farewell to Stade De Coubertin
Gade was frank in his report of his own play after his second round loss to Hu Yun, claiming that his conditioning wasn’t correct going into the week but didn’t expect to lose so early in the week. He wasn’t the only seed to lose in the second round, Du Pengyu also crashed out to Kenichi Tago of Japan but there is still a massive Chinese attendance in the quarter final stage, with two all-Chinese quarter finals taking place tomorrow.
Lee Chong Wei had little trouble defeating Brice Leverdez to end any hopes of a French victory this week, whilst the Malaysian takes on Shon Wan Ho of Korea in the last 8 after his victory over Tien Minh Nguyen in the second round. Lin Dan and Chen Jin both won in two games to set up their quarter final matchup, with question marks looming over whether the match will actually take place.
3 seeds remain in women’s singles
Sain Nehwal was the latest big name seed to crash out this week as the unseeded Li Xuerui beat the 4th seeded Indian in two tight games to ensure three Chinese players in the last 8. Wang Yihan was impressive in her victory over Gu Juan whilst 3rd seeded Wang Xin was pushed in two tight games before defeating Petya Nedelcheva to set up her quarter final matchup against the 6th seeded Juliane Schenk in the last 8.
Seeds crash out in doubles
Whilst the best two pairs in the men’s singles progressed in efficient style, there were some seeds that didn’t fare as well in the second round. 5th seeded Koo and Tan lost to the Danish pair of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen whilst the 7th seeded Kido and Setiawan lost to the English pairing of Ellis and Adcock whilst the 3rd seeded pair of Boe and Mogensen were the fortunate pair after Kim and Shin pulled out of the event before their second round encounter.
Wins 46 and 38 respectively for the top two pairs in the women’s doubles as Wang and Yu defeated Marinello and Michels of Germany to reach the quarter finals and a match against Marissa and Melati. Tian and Zhao were given a walkover against their Chinese team-mates Pan and Cheng and take on the 7th seeded Japanese pairing of Matsuo and Naito, who defeated the Russian pairing of Vislova and Sorokina to reach the quarter finals. Pedersen and Rytter Juhl had to retire in the second game of their second round match, allowing the 4th seeded Maeda and Suetsuna to advance into the last 8.
Zhang and Zhao were taken to three games by the Korean qualifiers Ko and Eom before eventually progressing to take on Yoo and Jang in the quarter finals tomorrow. The second seeded Ma and Jin progressed into two games against the world silver medalists Adcock and Bankier and take on the Indonesian pair of Widianto and Marissa in the last 8. Last week’s winners Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen progressed into the last 8 with a victory over Jongjit and Amitapal and will take on the Korean pair of Lee and Ha who beat the 5th seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in three games to reach the quarter finals.
It was a day littered with retirements, shock results and the potential downfall to Taufik Hidayat’s stellar career. The day began with a Chinese victory in the mixed but there was little to celebrate for the Chinese camp tonight.
Many expected the 5th seeded Hidayat to struggle against the unseeded Wang Zhengming with the Indonesian’s play and overall desire being questioned with every tournament. He won the event in 2010 here, but a two-game defeat to Wang Zhengming almost certainly concludes Taufik’s reign in the top 10 of the world after losing his runner-up ranking points in Denmark last week and his first round exit this week in France.
The remaining 7 seeds progressed without much resistance, with all seven seeds needing just two games to advance. Lee Chong Wei takes on France’s own Brice Leverdez whilst the match of the second round sees Joachim Persson taking on Lin Dan for a place in the quarter finals.
Six Chinese players started in the women’s singles draw, just three remain in a draw that has been decimated by retirements and upsets. Wang Yihan benefitted from Susan Egelstaff’s retirement pre-event but Liu Xin and Jiang Yanjiao both had to retire early into their first round to cut the Chinese involvement in the event. Their involvement was cut further with the surprise defeat Wang Shixian to Sung Ji Hyun, as the second seed run of poor form continues.
Tine Baun suffered her second early exit in two weeks with a first round defeat to Tai Tzu Ying, cutting the European involvement down to just two players with victories for Juliane Schenk and Petya Nedelcheva, with the Bulgarian taking on the 3rd seeded Wang Xin who beat Linda Zechiri in the first round today.
European Interest Throughout In Doubles
Whilst there is a massive Asian contingent in the doubles, there is a few European pairs who have reached the second round impressively to ensure they are taken seriously this week. The top two seeds in the men’s doubles progressed without much hassle, as did the 3rd seeded Boe and Mogensen who have regained their form in the past two events, however there was a surprise loss for the 4th seeded Ko and Yoo against the Chinese pair of Hong and Chen in three games. There is a few European pairs left in the men’s doubles draw, with the Danish pair of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen as well as the English pairing of Adcock and Ellis reaching the last 16.
Wang and Yu won their 45th match of the year in their opening round victory over Chin and Wong whilst the 2nd seeded Tian and Zhao won their 37th match of 2011 in three games. The 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa defeated the Danish pair of Heisbol and Skelbaek to take on the English pairing of Olver and Agathangelou who progressed in a 93-minute classic against the Canadian pair of Reid and Grether to reach the second round.
Zhang and Zhao as well as Ma and Jin have started this week with victories, with varying degrees of difficulty. The top seeded Zhang and Zhao needed three games to progress against Lee and Chien whilst Ma and Jin defeated Hashimoto and Fujii in two games. The 2nd seeded pair take on the world silver medalist pair of Adcock and Bankier in the second round, who are also joined in the second round by Blair and White after their victory over the 7th seeded Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul and will take on the Korean pair of Yoo and Jang in their second round match.