An all-conquering Danish performance was punctuated with the lack of use of the European #1 Peter Gade to ensure victory in Amsterdam. Tine Baun was also used sparingly on route to the final as the younger generation of Jan O Jorgensen and Karina Jorgensen were used throughout the week as the top singles player.
The last 8 failed to provide any shocks, with the Bulgarian’s unlikely run coming to an end against England in a 3-1 defeat whilst home interest also ended at the quarter final stage as the Dutch were defeated in a convincing 3-0 loss to Russia. Germany had little trouble defeating the French in the last 8, with Juliane Schenk being in impressive form in her 21-4, 21-3 victory to book the German’s place in the last 4. Denmark also had little trouble defeating Poland to reach the last 4 to set up a rematch with the English in the semi final.
The surprise of the semi final match between Denmark and England was Rajiv Ouseph’s impressive three game win over Jan O Jorgensen in the 2nd match of the rubber to level it at 1-1. Denmark took the women’s doubles comfortably and after Ellis and Adcock took the opening game in the 4th match against Boe and Mogensen, England were hopeful of taking it to a 5th and final match but the world #1′s fought back to take the next 2 games and book Denmark’s place in the final.
The other semi final looked to be all but over after two impressive German victories in the singles, with Zwiebler and Schenk taking Germany within a match of the final. The Russian pairing of Vislova and Sorokina won a tightly faught match to send the match into a 4th rubber but surprisingly didn’t play the experienced pairing of Durkin and Nikolaenko, instead putting out Sozonov and Dremin against Kindervater and Scholetter in a one-sided win for the German’s to set up a rematch of last years final.
Juliane Schenk got Germany off to the perfect start with a win over Karina Jorgensen, Schenk would go unbeaten over the week winning all 4 of her matches. Marc Zwiebler had the chance to capitalize on Jan O Jorgensen who was defeated in his previous match against Ouseph. The world #12 had little trouble in beating Zwiebler, ranked 5 places below him in the world rankings to level the final at 1-1. The Danish strength over the week had been in their doubles matches and the final was no exception as Pedersen and Rytter Juhl put Denmark within a match of the title with a two game victory over Overzier and Marinello. Boe and Mogensen completed the task with a two game victory over Kindervater and Scholetter to ensure Denmark retained their title for the 8th time in succession, dating back to 1996 when they won on home turf in Herning.
The 2011 championships have heralded few shocks to this date, with several of the top nations resting their top players until the knockout stages and rotating their squad players around to give them some valuable experience at this level.
Denmark comfortably won their group even without Peter Gade and Tine Baun stepping on court in their three wins, only Karina Jorgensen’s loss to Kristina Ludikova of the Czech Republic stopped the Dane’s winning all 15 of their matches in the group stage. The Czech secured second place in the group, winning the other two matches against Israel and Italy comfortably.
Germany won Group 2 without playing their two stars in Juliane Schenk and Marc Zwiebler in all the group matches but still progressed with a perfect record, wrapping up a 5-0 win over Latvia in under 100 minutes of play. Marc Zwiebler played Raul Must in the match over Estonia and came through in three games whilst Juliane Schenk had little trouble against Belgium’s Lianne Tan, winning the match up in two games. The gulf in class between the four nations was clear as every match in the group ended in a 5-0 or 4-1 victory.
England progressed as group winners but question marks loom over their women singles performances as they lost two of the three matches in the group stage. Those were the only two matches that England lost in their group and will have to addressed before the knockout stage. Ireland finished second in the group after defeating Austria 3-2 in their match in the early part of the group.
Russia qualified as group winners with ease, winning 14 of their 15 matches and dropping just a single game in their 14 victories. Russia have been experimenting with new partnerships in their doubles but the usual partnerships of Durkin/Nikolaenko and Vislova/Sorokina would be in place for quarter final match.
The Dutch made qualification for the last 8 as hard as possible in front of their home fans, after a 4-1 win over Iceland they almost failed to qualify and struggled to defeat Lithuania and Switzerland after trailing 2-1 in both matches. They will have to be at their very best tomorrow against Russia to progress any further with Switzerland being within one match of knocking them out at the group stages
France and Scotland went into the final match with equal records, winning 9 and losing 1 match. Both nations secured easy victories over Slovakia and Spain but faced their toughest match to date against one another. Scotland took a 2-1 lead after wins in the mixed doubles and with Susan Egelstaff’s win in the singles but the French rallied back to take the two doubles matchup and the match 3-2 to secure top spot in Group 6 and will play Germany in the last 8.
Bulgaria pulled out of the biggest shock of the event to date in topping group 7 ahead of the favourites in the group Ukraine. The two played in the final group match to determine top spot and it went down to the final rubber in the match with the score tied 2-2. the Bulgarian pairing of Nedelcheva and Popstoykova defeated Prus and Kobecva impressively in two games to set up a quarter final clash against England.
Poland progressed comfortably into the last 8 with three victories in their group featuring Belarus, Portugal and Croatia. They haven’t needed the services of top mens singles player Przemyslaw Wacha to date and have rarely been troubled in their group matches, their 3-2 win over Croatia was much more comfortable than first look suggests, they were 3-0 up in the match before losing the men’s doubles and retired their women’s doubles pairing. However, they will face their toughest test to date against the top seeded Danes in the last 8.
The opening day of the Super Series Premier offered the opportunity for several of the world top players to stumble early, however all of them passed their opening round tests. The Chinese as expected faired well on the first full day of competition, with several of their new partnerships getting off to excellent starts in the doubles events.
The last 16 of the men’s singles is one befitting of this new Premier series of events, with even the second round match of Rajiv Ouseph and Simon Santoso being one of intrigue. Santoso defeated the 7th seeded Boonsak Ponsana, whose nightmare start to 2011 continues whilst Rajiv Ouseph defeated Hu Yun, ranked one place higher at #12 in the world in his opening round matchup. Lee Chong Wei survived a scare against Jan O Jorgensen, eventually progressing in three games to set up his second round match with Park Sung Hwan. Peter Gade’s opening Super Series match of 2011 was a excellent two game win over Indonesia’s Dionysuis Hayom Rumbaka, leaving him as the last Dane remaining in the draw. China however have 6 of the last 16 players in the singles, with all four of their seeded players progressing into round 2. The top half of the draw has 5 Chinese players in it, with Bao Chunlai taking on qualifier Wang Zhengming is what is unlikely to be the last all-Chinese match this week. Lin Dan is the sole representative in the bottom half of the draw and takes on Germany’s Marc Zwiebler in the second round.
All 8 of the seeded women are safely into the second round of the singles, with Tine Baun impressively beating China’s Li Xuerui in two games to book her place in the last 16. The four Chinese seeds are also joined in the last 16 by the 2009 world champion Lu Lan, who takes on 3rd seeded Wang Yihan in tomorrow’s second round. The Korean’s will have split allegiances in the second of the women’s singles matches as 8th seeded Bae Yoo Joun takes on Sung Ji Hyun in an all-Korean affair. Saina Nehwal had to battle all the way in her opening round match winning a tight three game match 22-20 in the final game.
Top seeded Boe and Mogensen survived a minor scare in their opening round match against Gan and Tan, needing eight attempts to win the opening game after leading 20-13 but eventually coming through in two games and take on the Japanese pairing of Kawamae and Sato. Cai and Fu progressed safely into round 2 and have set up one of the best matches in tomorrow’s order of play against the on-form Danish pair of Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen who avenged their loss in last week’s final in Malaysia to Chinese pair Chai and Guo. 4th seeded Korean pair Ko and Yoo are also safely into the second round and take on the partnership of Blair and Limpele in the last 16.
The prospect of an all-Chinese final in the women’s doubles is all the more likely with the loss of two non-Chinese seeds on the opening day, with 4th seeded Nedelcheva and Russkikh defeated by Indonesian’s Marissa and Melati. The 3rd seeds did no better, with Vislova and Sorokina defeated by last years runners-up in this event, Fujii and Kakiiwa of Japan. The four Chinese seeds all progressed easily into the second round with the loss of just one game between them, the 5th seeded Pan and Du were taken to three games by the Chinese Taipei pair of Hsien and Wang. The top two seeds also progressed without difficulty, with Chien and Cheng defeating the Danish pair of Rytter Juhl and Pedersen in two games and take on the Korean qualifiers of Eom and Kim in the second round.
The 3rd seeds in the mixed doubles, Mateusiak and Zieba suffered a crushing two game defeat to the new partnership of Xu and Ma as this new partnership hopes to continue in the long line of Chinese domination in this event. A potential quarter final match with old partner He Hanbin is on the cards for Ma Jin if both progress through tomorrow’s games, with Ma and Xu taking on semi finalists last week, Blair and White whilst He and Yu take on Korean qualifiers Kim and Yoo. 2010 All-England winners Zhang and Zhao made it a double disappointment for Anastasia Russkikh today, defeating her and partner Hendra Setiawan in two games and the 5th seeds set up a second round match with Rijal and Susanto of Indonesia.
The winners of the previous two European events progressed into the third round at the expense of two of the top four seeds. Ajay Jayaram defeated Manuel Batista of Italy in the opening round and then defeated the top seed Marc Zwiebler in two games also to progress into the last 16. Victor Axelsen, recent winner in Cyprus International is also through to the third round, defeating the 4th seed and fellow Dane Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in three games to boost his credentials as Denmark’s third best player. Axelsen also received the news that will be in the qualifying for the Danish Super Series next week also. Dicky Palyama also surprisingly lost out to Shuhei Hayasaki in two games, leaving just Chetan Anand as one of the top 4 seeds remaining in the draw.
If the men’s singles was full of shocks, the women’s singles is the complete opposite. Every seed successfully progressed into the last 16, with the top two seeds Jie Yao and Juliane Schenk winning in two games. Ai Goto was a two game winner also, whilst 5th and 6th seeds Linda Zechiri and Larisa Griga had to come through tough three game encounters to book their place in the last 16.
The mixed doubles lost it 2nd seed, Atrashchenkov and Prus to Japanese pair of Hirobe and Matsutomo in two games. They join four other Japanese pairs in the last 16, including top seeds Hashimoto and Fujii and 3rd seeds Ikeda and Shiota. The Russian seeds are also still in the draw, with 4th seeded Nikolaenko and Sorokina and Durkin and Vislova both progressing without the loss of a game.
There was German interest in the four finals that took place, with the men’s doubles not taking place due to Fuchs and Roth pulling out of their final giving Kindervater and Schottler the title.
The all-German mixed doubles final seen unseeded Michael Fuchs and Brigit Overzier defeat their 4th seeded opponents Johannes Schottler and Sandra Marinello in two games, winning 22-20, 21-19. Sandra Marinello would team up with Birgit Overzier as the second seeds defeated the top seeded Dutch pairing of Lotte Jonathans and Paulien Van Dooremalen in three games to ensure a third title for Germany.
The top seeds in the singles were also German, with Marc Zwiebler defeating Eric Pang of Holland in two games to ensure title number 4 for Germany. The fifth title was the most impressive as top seeded Juliane Schenk defeated the second seeded Elizabeth Cann of England in a 23 minute demolition that the German #1 won 21-7, 21-5.
After 4 rounds of battle so far Marc Zwiebler’s path to the finals in Belgium has been somewhat matter of fact. Only India’s Anand Pawar has posed much of a threat but even he failed to take a game off of the dangerous left hander. His most recent victim Eetu Heino did not fair as well, losing quickly 21-7, 21-14 allowing Zwiebler a simple entry to the finals where he will now face Dutch shuttler Eric Pang who disposed of Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov in close two games 21-16, 21-19.
Neither of the womens singles finalists have yet to see much difficulty and have yet to drop a game en route to the finals. That will change tomorrow when Germany’s Juliane Schenk faces off against England’s Elizabeth Cann. Schenk defeated Anastasia Prokopenko 21-15, 21-7 while Cann defeated Scottish player Linda Sloan 21-17, 21-10 to seal her spot. Once again the top two seeds have kept their billing.
The top two seeds would not however make it to the finals in the mens doubles when Koen Ridder and Ruud Bosch fell to Germany’s Ingo Kindervater and Johannes Schöttler 21-15, 12-21, 21-13. Tomorrow they will be featured in an all German final against their compatriots Michael Fuchs and Oliver Roth who ousted their opponents Liu Yi and Terry Yeo Zhao Jiang 21-12, 21-18.
Once again it will be a first/second seed final in the women’s doubles and yet another Germany vs Holland match up with Lotte Jonathons and Paulien Van Dooremalen facing off against Birgit Overzier and Sandra Marinello. Both teams found their way into the finals fairly easily with the top seeded Dutch pairing winning their match against Kim Buss and Claudia Vogelgsang 21-10, 21-15 and the German’s defeating Thamar Peters and Josephine Wentholt 21-6, 21-16.
Germany has at least one player in every final, but they are guaranteed a title in the mixed doubles as both pairs remaining are Germany. Michael Fuchs and Birgit Overzier upset the top seeded Ukrainian pairing of Valerly Atrashchenkov and Elena Prus 21-19, 21-10 while Johannes Schöttler and Sandra Marinello defeated Kieran Merrilees and Kirsty Gilmour 21-12, 21-12. From the looks of things Germany is likely to take home multiple titles this weekend.
The EBU circuit first event of the new season started in Belgium this week, with many of the top seeds still having a hangover period after the World Championships last month. Top seeded Marc Zwiebler has reached the last 8 impressively in the men’s singles, defeating both opponents in games and conceding just 34 points over the two matches. The other seed to survive the opening two rounds is Anand Pawar of India, the 6th seed plays the top seed German in tomorrow’s quarter final.
The other two seeds play in the 4th quarterfinal as 7th seeded Ville Lang of Finland takes on 2nd seeded Eric Pang. Both have progressed to the last 8 without dropping a game, with Lang conceding 51 points and Pang 56 points to date.
The top seed in the women’s singles is also through to the last 8, Juliane Schenk stormed through her opening 2 matches without the loss of a game to set up a quarter final against qualifier Panuga Riou of England. The 2nd seeded Elizabeth Cann is also through to the last 8, as well as Anastasia Prokopenko. The 7th seeded Elena Prus is the 4th and final seed left in the draw, she plays Scotland’s Linda Sloan in tomorrow’s quarterfinals.
All 7 of the seeds that started the event today are safely into the last 8, only Ashmiran and Khakimov of Russia remain as the unseeded pair left in the draw. Top seeded Bosch and Ridder are safely through to face the 5th seeded Chopra and Kona of India. The top two seeds in the women’s doubles are also through to tomorrow’s quarterfinals, but there is local interest from Biesbrouck and Devooght who are through to the last 8.
Four of the eight remaining couples in the mixed doubles are German, leading to two all-German quarterfinals with one on each side of the draw. Top seeded Atrashchenkov and Prus are safely into the last 8 as well as the Scottish pair of Kieran Merrilees and Kirsty Gilmour, both are known for their singles play and this is their first tournament playing together.
The draws for the 2010 World Championships were made in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, there were little doubts about the top seed in the men’s singles draw with Lee Chong Wei taking the #1 seed but there will be no rematch of the 2009 final in Paris on August 29.
Lee Chong Wei begins his campaign against Kevin Cordon, the world number 46 from Guatemala and could face a tricky second round match against world #22 Muhammad Hafiz Hashim in an all-Malaysian second round encounter. The other seed in Lee Chong Wei’s section is Jan O Jorgensen, seeded 11. The Dane has had a disappointing 2010 after bursting onto the world scene with victory over Peter Gade in Denmark and reaching the Chinese Super Series final in 2009. He begins his campaign against the Austrian Michael Lahnsteiner, ranked 86 in the world. His second round encounter will be a much tougher match with one of the best matches of the opening round with Eric Pang taking on Rajiv Ouseph for the chance to play Jorgensen or Lahnsteiner in Round 2.
Taufik Hidiyat received the 5th seed and with that, he plays Ola Fagbemi of Nigeria who is the lowest ranked player in the draw, ranked #122 in the world. His likely second round opponent is ranked almost 100 places higher in the world rankings, world #23 Yu Shin Hsieh of Chinese Taipei who takes on Portugal’s Pedro Martins in Round 1. The other seed is Kenichi Tago, one of the breakout stories of 2010 who is the #12 seed and faces the Czech national champion Petr Koukal, the world #48 in the opening round.
Lin Dan has barely played in 2010, but is still the Chinese #1 and seeded 3 for the Worlds and begins his campaign against Ali Shahhossieni of Iran, ranked 110 in the world before potentially playing the winner of the all-European match between Henrik Toth and Henri Hurskainen in the second round. The conspiracy theorists will claim that Lin Dan’s opening two matches could be the easiest run to the last 16 of any of the seeds, with only Hurskainen inside the top 50 in the world (ranked 50th). His first big test will be against Bao Chunlai, seeded 10 and the player who defeated him in the 2010 All England. The 10th seed begins against Yan Kit Chan who is current ranked 20th in the world in one of the hardest opening round match for any seed. If anything, the winner of this match will have an easier second round match, playing the winner of David Snider of Canada (ranked 89) and Scotland’s Alistair Casey (ranked 78).
Tien Minh Nguyen may not have won in Chinese Taipei to gain him more ranking points but is still seeded 7 and plays the world number 62 Ukrainian Valeriy Atrashchenkov in his opening round match. The winner of Raul Must and Dieter Domke is likely to play the Vietnamese player in round 2. Park Sung Hwan is the other seed in this section, the 13th seeded Korean takes on Derek Wong Zi Liang of Singapore, ranked 79 in the world with Park likely to play the winner of another all-European clash between Matthieu Lo Ying Ping and Vladimir Ivanov in the opening round.
The opening section from the bottom half of the draw is arguably the hardest one to come out of, with England’s Carl Baxter, ranked 27 in the world taking on Slovakia’s Michal Matejka for the chance to play the 9th seeded Boonsak Ponsana, should he defeat world number 52 Vladimir Malkov of Russia. The other seed is Simon Santoso, winner in Chinese Taipei and seeded 8. He takes on Poland’s Przemyslaw Wacha, ranked 37 in the world with the winner of that match taking on the winner of Scott Evans, ranked 45 in the world and Hsuan Yi Hsueh of Chinese Taipei, ranked 41 in the world.
The 14th seed Chetan Anand begins his campaign against Ashton Chen Ong Zhao, ranked 112th in the world in one of the bigger mismatches of the opening round and likely to play the winner of Dmytro Zavadsky and Stephan Wojcikiewicz, ranked 47 and 56 respectively. The other seed in the section is the 4th seeded Chen Jin who begins his campaign against Finland’s #1 and world #53 Ville Lang in his opening round. The other match and potentially Chen Jin’s second round opponent is between Kestutis Navickas of Lithuania, the world number 59 and Scotland’s #1 Kieran Merrilees, ranked 72 in the world.
Wong Choong Hann received the 16th seed and will take on France’s own Simon Maunoury in his opening round match in the French capital, but the world number 81 will need to play the match of his life to reach round 2. The other match to determine the winner of the Wong/Maunoury match is between Iran’s Kaveh Mehrabi, ranked 92nd in the world and Kazushi Yamada of Japan, ranked 30 in the world. Sony Kuncoro won in Macau two weeks ago and the 6th seed comes into the championships in excellent form and begins his campaign against Misha Zilberman of Israel, ranked 84th in the world in round 1. Another all-European clash is the last match in the section with world #25 Dicky Palyama of Holland taking on the 3rd Frenchman in the draw, US Open runner-up Brice Leverdez for a place in round 2.
The final section is the only one with two European seeds, with 15th seed Marc Zwiebler taking on the Czech Jan Vondra in his opening round match and a second all-European match guarantees at least one European in the last 16, with Sweden’s Magnus Sahlberg taking on Pablo Abian of Spain. Peter Gade comes into the competition as the number 2 seed and starts his campaign against Brazilian Daniel Paiola, ranked 74 in the world. The big news from this section of the draw is world number 15 Yun Hu not receiving a seeding for the event despite Chen Long not being able to play as China’s #4 and world #10 and plays Shon Wan Ho of Korea, the world number 35 in his opening match and a likely second round match against Peter Gade, which would likely be the match of the second round.