In spite of recent retirements from a number of top players, the Canadian team managed to pull out a superb performance at the Peru International in Lima.
The mens singles was the one and only final that did not feature at least one Canadian player with both players hailing from Japan. While both players may have been unseeded they were clearly the strongest two of the tournament with Yuichi Ikeda defeating his teammate Hiroyuki Saeki in two close games 21-19, 21-19. The womens singles was also taken by a Japanese player, Manami Ebuchi. Manami faced Canadian youngster Michelle Li in the final and took the title with a 21-18, 21-17 scoreline.
In the mens doubles Canadian pair Adrian Liu and Derrick Ng were on a mission from the beginning. Dominating the majority of their earlier round opponents, including a decisive win over the top seeded Peruvians 21-8, 21-9, the Canadians snuck out a close win in the finals to take their first ever international title. Their opponents from Japan, Hiroyuki and Hajime came close, however 21-18, 10-21, 22-20 was not close enough.
The womens doubles was a much more decisive win with the Canada/Germany pairing of Charmaine Reid and Nicole Grether taking the title with a 21-15, 21-10 win over Claudia Rivero and Christina Aicardi.
Finally the mixed doubles final featured a sibling rivalry with Derrick Ng and Phyllis Chan facing off against Toby Ng and Grace Gao. Derrick Ng was however only able to take the one title for the day as his brother Toby and Grace Gao won the mixed in a very close three games 11-21, 21-19, 22-20.
The draws for the 2010 Peru International have been posted and with the exception of the women’s singles all of the draws appear to be filled with a lot of new talent. With players like Bobby Milroy and Andrew Dabeka retiring from international play the men’s singles is a much more open field in the Pan Am zone. The same goes for the doubles with Will Milroy retiring, and American players Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach not being present.
Pan American Champion Kevin Cordon is the top seed and strong favourite. His first major challenge comes in the round of 16 where he will face unseeded Japanese player Ikeda Yuichi. If Cordon can pull through in that match he will likely face either Andres Corpancho or the recent Canadian Champion Alex Pang who is fresh off a strong European performance after recently beating Ville Lang in Poland. Other notables in the draw include Jamaica’s Charles Pyne and India’s Aditya Adbul.
Nicole Grether is the top seed and shouldn’t have too much trouble in the early rounds, however she faces a number of tough opponents if she’s to live up to her top billing. Peru’s Claudia Rivero is her likely quarter-final opponent. There are also a number of strong Canadian players present including Anna Rice, Jocelyn Ko, Charmaine Reid, Phyllis Chan and Michelle Li who defeated Nicole during a local Canadian tournament in January. However the toughest of these two Canadian players must face off against each other in the round of 16 when Anna Rice and Michelle Li will relive their recent national championship final.
The top seeds in the mens doubles hail from Peru as Martin Del Valle and Antonio De Vinetea partner up against Jamaica’s Gareth Henry and Charles Pyne in the first round. The second seeds are American veterans Mathew Fogarty David Neumann. Canada also has a strong contingent with third seeds Derrick Ng and Adrian Liu as well as recent national champions Alvin Lau and Jonathan Vandervet coming into the even unseeded.
The top seeds for the event are the German/Canadian pairing of Nicole Grether and Charmaine Reid. With the most diverse international experience they are the favourites for the title. There will however be strong opposition from Peruvian second seeds Christina Alcardi and Claudia Rivero and a potential tough start against Americans Rulan and Rulien Yeh.
Canada’s Toby Ng and Grace Gao will be the top seeds in the mixed doubles. After a disappointing nationals the pair will be looking to get back on track with their international events. This is perhaps the most wide open of the events as few big name teams have made the journey down to Peru including recent Canadian national champions Milaine Cloutier and Jon Vandervet. The second seeds for the event are the relatively unknown Bruno Monteverde and Claudia Zornoza.
The top male and female players in Europe will represent their nations in the European Team Championships this week in Warsaw, Poland. Denmark are looking to defend both the Men and Women’s titles this week, but will face stern opposition from the likes of Germany, England and Netherlands.
Men’s Team Championships
2008 Result – Winners
The winners from two years ago are again the favourites for the title in 2010, with the likes of Jan O Jorgensen, Joachim Persson and Peter Gade for the singles and in doubles, the 4th ranked partnership in the world, Mogensen and Boe. In their group awaits Iceland, Finland, Hungary and Croatia. With the group winner receiving a bye in the Quarter Final.
2008 Result – 3rd
Germany want to go one better than their 3-1 defeat in the semi final against Denmark in the 2008 Event. Marc Zweibler and Dieter Domke will have to live up to and play above their rankings of 16 and 73 for Germany to repeat their 2006 appearance in the final. A potential rematch against Denmark could await in the semi final this year.
2008 Result – 4th
Poland has been on the rise for the last few years, with recent Super Series success in the mixed doubles. Wacha (#31 Rank) and Logosz and Mateusiak (#35 Rank) will need to perform at their best after being paired in a group with 2008 runners-up England. Thursday at 6pm will ultimately determine the winners of Group B.
2008 Result – 2nd
Denmark’s biggest challenge will come from England, with Andrew Smith, Rajiv Ouseph and Carl Baxter being the strongest line-up for England’s singles could potentially shock the Danish. Experienced heads like Robert Blair, Anthony Clark and Nathan Robertson will be invaluable with a new young squad of players like Adcock, Wright and Middleton. Their big test in the group will undoubtedly be Poland on Thursday.
Women’s Team Championships
2008 Result – Winners
Tine Rasmussen will be one of the stars on show in the Women’s Championship, the 10th ranked player in the world will led off Denmark in the singles. Europe’s top ranked women’s double pairing, Kristiansen and Rytter Juhl will be the partnership to beat in the championships also. Like the men, they also a potential bye to the semi final if they win Group A, with Greece, Estonia and Czech Republic.
2008 Result – 2nd
With Yao Jie and Judith Meulendijks out of the Championships, the Dutch are very much understrength in the singles. Patty Stolzenbach will need to regain the form that seen her reach the semi final of the Norwegian Open late last year for the Netherlands to have any chance to progress.
2008 Result – 3rd
Juliane Schenk will lead the German team in Group D in the singles, with Marinello and Overzier being the top ranked all-German couple, however Nicole Grether is seeded higher in the world but with a Canadian partner, so Germany’s 2nd doubles partnership could be just as strong as their first.
2008 Result – 4th
A surprise 4th placed finish it might have been, but a full-fit Scottish squad will arrive in Warsaw. Emma Mason is back after an 18-month lay off, as well as Imogen Bankier returning to competitive competition after a knee injury. Susan Egelstaff is in the form of her life after winning the 2009 Scottish Open. However they are placed in a tough group with France, Poland and Ukraine.
The competition begins on Tuesday, February 16.
As we enter the quarter-finals stage of the Li Ning China Masters Super Series China has a firm grip on almost every draw in this tournament. In the men’s singles China has 4 of the remaining players. Hardly surprising is the fact that Peter Gade is the only non Asian player left in the tournament except for France’s Pi Hongyan who first played for China. Gade will play Boonsak Ponsana, and if he’s successful there, Chen Jin. For the most part I’m sure that Gade is happy simply to be on the other side of the draw from Lin Dan. The world champion Lin Dan will play Park Sung Hwan in his quarter-final match.
A big surprise in the women’s singles was the upset of Denmark’s top player Tine Rasmussen to the Chinese qualifier Wang Xin in three close games 17-21, 21-16, 21-14. Wang Xin will now play Pi Hongyan as she enters her first ever Super Series quarter-final. Elsewhere in the draw Hong Kong’s Wang Chen had to retire after losing the first set and trailing 5-0 in the second game, no word on what happened.
The men’s doubles is missing a lot of the world’s top pairs, in fact there were 3 byes in the draw which indicates that there were not enough entries to fill the draw. A terrible thing to see, but certainly a great opportunity for some new teams to earn some very valuable experience and world ranking points as the Super Series are worth a great deal. The safe money at this stage is on a finals encounter between Malaysia’s Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah vs China’s Fu Haifeng and Cai Yun.
The women’s doubles features only two non Chinese pairs, but certainly the favourites Cheng Shu and Zhao Yunlei are unlikely to falter before facing the second seeds Ha Jung Eun and Kim Min Jung. The mixed nationality pairing of Charmaine Reid and Nicole Grether were unable to maintain their momentum as they fell to the second seeds in two quick games. Finally the mixed doubles is almost certainly a lock for China with 7 out of 8 remaining pairs.
After the first day of competition at the Li Ning China Master Super Series 2009 both of the English entrants in the men’s singles have managed to live to another day in spite of strong competition. Rajiv Ouseph ousted Thailand’s Saensomboonsuk Tanongsak in three games 21-7, 12-21, 21-17 to find his way to the second round where he will now face world number one Lee Chong Wei. England’s other men’s singles player Andrew Smith also had a strong performance against Hong Kong’s Chan Yan Kit who is no slouch. Smith won in three games too, 21-19, 5-21, 21-15 and will now play Boonsak Ponsana in the 2nd round.
As is customary at the China Masters, the draw is ripe with Chinese players. In fact at the second round phase the bottom quarter of the draw is all Chinese players with a notable match up between Chen Jin and Bao Chunlai. Chunlai’s ranking has slipped lately after injury troubles. Another notable performance from the Chinese was Chen Long’s win over Malaysia’s Wong Choong Han 21-9, 21-17. Wong is the only seed to fall in the men’s singles so far. Other than Chen Jin vs Bao Chunlai, another match to keep an eye out for tomorrow is Andrew Smith facing Boonsak Ponsana, this could go either way in my opinion, in spite of Ponsana being the favourite.
The women’s singles had few surprises as all of the seeds won their matches to move on to the second round, but certainly there were some close matches. Tine Rasmussen had to fight for her right to play as Zhang Yuchun from China pushed her to three games. Another close match was Pi Hongyan’s victory over Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong where the first game went to the limit with Pi winning 30-29, and then winning the second game 21-18.
All I can say about the men’s doubles is Korea, Malaysia and China. That’s all you see in the draw, period. The only other country represented was Chinese Taipei who were knocked out in the first round. In the second round there are 2 Malaysian pairs, 2 Korean pairs and 11 Chinese pairs remaining. It’s a fair bet that a Chinese pair will win, and if they don’t they will certainly get a reprimanding from Li Yongbo.
The women’s doubles isn’t too different, except that with Charmaine Reid and Nicole Grether winning their first round in three games they are the only non-Asian pair remaining in any of the doubles events. Where are all of the Danes, and English? Finally the mixed doubles is a very similar picture to the other doubles events with a very small number of non-Chinese teams remaining, or even entered in the first place.
Li Ning China Master Super Series 2009 Draws
Thus far there have been very few upsets at the 2009 Yonex OCBC US Open, and in the mens singles there have been exactly none. Every seed, except Dicky Palyama who didn’t play, has made it through to the quarter finals. I am really excited to see what happens between David Snider and Taufik Hidayat. I have no delusions about David being able to win this match. This would no doubt be the best player that David has ever played before by a long shot, however, David has gone to three games with Andrew Smith who himself went three games with Taufik. I know this is 11 year old logic, but still, wouldn’t it be cool to see a close game between these two? It is of course possible that Taufik might be interested in a day trip to Disneyland tomorrow, and the pesky semi-finals might get in the way of that, it would be wise to take it easy in the quarters then right?
For the womens events I really don’t know many of the players, however I do know that Anna Rice and Eva Lee have had some good battles in the past (I think so at least). Anna spent a large part of the last few months away from intense training while doing work in Africa, so it is possible that she is not quite at her best, but still she is solid. Another Canadian worth watching is Michelle Li. She is new to the international circuit, but she is very strong for her young age. With still another year left in juniors she is already the second best player in Canadian seniors. As for the womens doubles, I know even fewer players. It would appear that the Americans have a good hold on this event with the exception of the top seeds Charmaine Reid and Nicole Grether from Canada and Germany respectively.
The mens doubles appears to be the most diverse draw with players hailing from Korea, Austria, Wales, England, Denmark, Canada, and the USA. No doubt that former world champions Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach are the biggest names in the draw and certainly the favourites in my mind, despite their low seeding.
Finally the mixed doubles, I really have no clue. I would say it’s a choice between any one of either Halim Haryanto, Tony Gunawan or Howard Bach for this title.
Monday sees the beginning of the US Open in California with several high profile players making the trip. Last years winner Andrew Dabeka has returned to defend his title and is ranked seventh in the Mens Singles.
Chinese great Gao Ling is playing Women’s Doubles this week and is seeded 2 with her partner Wei Lili. Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan are also back to retain their Men’s Doubles title and are ranked 7th.
However, the main attraction is in the Men’s Singles with top seed Taufik Hidayat. The Indonesian is in outstanding form with a win in India and making the final of the Indonesian Super Series just 3 weeks ago. Only second seed Dicky Palyama is seeded within the World’s top 20, but Palyama has unfortunately withdrawn from the tournament.
The Women’s Singles seeds are dominated by North Americans, with Anna Rice (World Ranked 49), Charmaine Reid (World Ranked 51), and three American’s also seeded for the event.
The second and third seed from the Women’s Singles will also team up this week in the Women’s Doubles with Charmaine Reid and Nicole Grether taking the top seed in the event.
Qualifying begins on Monday, with the Main draw starting on Tuesday.