Lin Dan Graces Germany With His Presence

The best players in the world begin their first trip of Europe for 2011 with a three event tour starting this week in Germany as the world’s elite play themselves into form ahead of the All-England Championships in two weeks time.

There is no Peter Gade, Taufik Hidayat or Lee Chong Wei this week but there is a Chinese presence in the men’s singles, punctuated with the top seed and Korean Open Premier Series winner Lin Dan. World Champion Chen Jin is also in the draw and is seeded to meet Lin Dan in the final. There is also home interest in the 6th seed Marc Zwiebler as well as a wrath of talent from Asia in the draw like 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana and 4th seeded Park Sung Hwan.

The “Big Four” of the womens singles are not present in the draw this week, opening up the opportunity for a home victory with top seeded Juliane Schenk. Bae Youn Joo and Yip Pui Yin are the main threats in the bottom half of the draw as well as a considerable Japanese presence in the draw who also played in the Austrian Open last week.

Lee Yong Dae is the main attraction of the mens doubles with partner Jung Jae Sung, with Korean team-mates Ko and Yoo being their main rivals this week. The draw is packed with excellent partners, the Commonwealth champions Koo and Tan are the 3rd seeds this week and there is German interest in the 6th seeded Kindervater and Schoettler, who should meet Lee and Jung in the quarter final stage.

The Japanese are well represented in the seeds for the women’s doubles, with the top seeded Maeda and Suetsuna, 5th seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa and 7th seeded Matsuo and Naito. The European threats in the draw come from the 3rd seeded Nedelcheva and Russkikh and 4th seeded Vislova and Sorokina but one name to watch is Kim Ha Na of Korea and her partner Kim Min Seo who take on the German pair of Schnaase and Bott in their opening match.

Kim Ha Na is Lee Yong Dae’s new partner as he returns to the mixed doubles for the first time in recent memory, the new partnership has a tough opening against the 4th seeded German pairing of Fuchs and Michels. Top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam start with a tough opener themselves against the Russian duo of Nikolaenko and Sorokina. Mateusiak and Zieba are seeded 2 but will hope to jump start their campaign this week after a poor start to 2011.

German Open Grand Prix 2011 Draws

Denmark Takes Yet Another European Team Title

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.

Final Team Results

Denmark Through With No Need For Gade

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.

Group 1

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.

Group 2

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.

Group 3

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.

Group 4

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.

Group 5

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

Group 6

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.

Group 7

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.

Group 8

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.

Quarter Final Line-Up

Lee Chong Wei Returns to Fray

Many of the top ranked players that opted out of the Chinese Super Series have returned this week in Hong Kong. All except Peter Gade who has withdrawn again pre-event with a back problem that has forced him out of three of the last four Super Series.

Lee Chong Wei returns as the top seed in the men’s singles and takes on Christian Lind Thomsen in his opening round matchup.  Taufik Hidayat is seeded 3 for the event but will be the main rival to the Malaysian, his campaign begins against last week’s semi finalist Du Pengyu. As if the strength of the men’s event needed more proof, Lin Dan’s opening round matchup will be one of the best matches of the week as he takes on Jan O Jorgensen, who was seeded 7th last week in China. Last week’s winner Chen Long is seeded 7th this week and takes on European Championship semi finalist and world #13, Marc Zwiebler.

Saina Newhal returns to Super Series action after her Commonwealth Games success in October and comes into the event as the 2nd seed to break up the Chinese monopoly of the top seeds in the women’s singles. There is no Wang Yihan this week, but the Chinese are well represented with top seed Wang Xin and last week’s finalists, Wang Shixian and Jiang Yanjiao. Ella Diehl will hope to put her first round defeat behind her this week, she is seeded 8th this week.

The men’s doubles has a full compliment of potential winners apart from Boe and Mogensen. However, the top seeds with Koo and Tan are still on a high from their Commonwealth Games success and take on a new Danish partnership of Rasmussen and Conrads-Petersen. Kido and Setiawan also start against a Danish pair, Kristiansen and Bonde. Last week’s winners, Lee and Jung take on the Chinese pair of Shen and Hong.

3rd seeded Vislova and Sorokina were another pair who suffered an early loss last week in China, but are looking to put their surprise opening round defeat behind them and start against Thoungthongkam and Nurlita. Top seeds Chien and Cheng start with an opening round bye, before taking on the winner of Yung/Mei against Lee/Obanana. Last week’s winners Cheng and Zhao are the 2nd seeds and start with an opening round match against Chen and Yueng of Hong Kong.

Top seeds in the mixed doubles, Zieba and Mateusiak start against Fang and Wang of Chinese Taipei after their 2nd round loss last week to He and Ma of China. The Chinese pairing take on another seed early on in Hong Kong, taking on the 3rd seeded Thoungthongkam and Prapakamol of Thailand in the opening round. 2nd seeded Gunawan and Marissa take on the Malaysian pair of Chan and Goh in their opening round matchup.

Hong Kong Super Series 2010 Draws

Boonsak Ponsana

Boonsak Ponsana Falls to Du Penyu

The Chinese events are always predominantly made up of home players and most of the mainstays of the Super Series tour, but even so the Chinese success on Day 1 should not be underestimated. Only the retirement of Wang Xiaoli in her opening round Women’s Doubles with Yu Yang will be considered a disappointment on a day dominated by the home nation.

Wang Xin got the day off to the perfect start with a 2 game victory to progress into Round 2, the other seeds progressed without much resistance as Wang Shixian progressed from a potentially harder match against Yip Pui Yin. Wang Yihan and Jiang Yanjiao also reached the last 16 and by the end of play, China had no less than 9 players into the last 16 of the women’s singles. 2009 World Champion Lu Lan is one of the nine through after defeating the 8th seeded Ella Diehl in two games to further boosts China’s compliment in the second round.

The men’s singles can also boast a similar story, with 8 of the last 16 players being from the home nation. The noticeable names in the second round are all potential winners of this event, Bao Chunlai received a first round bye, current world champion Chen Jin progressed with ease and the highest seed in the draw Lin Dan defeated Zhou Wenlong in an all-Chinese first round encounter. 5th seeded Chen Long is also through to the last 16 as well as relative unknowns such as Sheng Zhang, Lu Yi and Bin Qiao but the 8th Chinese player left in the draw, Du Pengyu defeated the 4th seeded Boonsak Ponsana to reach the second round.

Robert Blair’s trek from Glasgow has been a successful one as he and partner Flandy Limpele reached the second round today but face the big Chinese threat in the draw in round 2, Cai and Fu. The 5th seeded Chinese pair had little trouble being the 2005 world champions Bach and Gunawan in their opening round match. 4th seeded Lee and Jung also made a successful start to their campaign with a two game victory whilst the top seeded Boe and Mogensen received the only opening round bye. Commonwealth Games champions and 2nd seeded Koo and Tan are also safely into the second round with a two game opening round victory.

Yu and Ying were the big winners in the women’s doubles as they toppled the 3rd seeded Vislova and Sorokina in their opening round encounter and boosts the number of Chinese pairs in the bottom half of the draw to 5 out of a possible 8. With the top two receiving byes, the Russian 3rd seeds were the highest seed playing today. Ma and Zhong have made a successful start to their campaign by take on the Macau pairing of Zhang and Zhang, seeded 7th in the event.

Ma Jin’s success also spread to the mixed doubles, as her and partner He Hanbin set up a second round match with the 2nd seeded Mateusiak and Zieba with both winning in two games in their opening round matches. Yu Yang didn’t let her women’s doubles disappointment stop her reaching the second round of the mixed, as she and partner Xu Chen take on Jiaming Tao and Tian Qing in the second round tomorrow to guarantee one Chinese pair into the last 8.

Day 1 Results:

Gade Feeling Fit Again

The seeded players were all in fine form today, with only the 3rd seeded Chandra and Gunawan losing out in the men’s doubles to unseeded Adcock and Ellis of England. Peter Gade’s back injury was the big talking point of the day as to whether he would be able to play and defeat Carl Baxter.

Before Gade’s game, several seeds had already booked their place in the last 16. Rajiv Ouseph was first through with a comfortable victory over Kasper Ipsen, he was followed late in the morning by Joachim Persson, who came back from a game down to defeat Eric Pang. Gade’s return in the first of the evening matches was a stunning performance from the top seed, winning 21-11, 21-6 to book his place safely into round 2. He was joined later that hour by Jan O Jorgensen, who came through against Przemyslaw Wacha in three games. Viktor Axelsen however fell at the first hurdle this week, defeated handsomely by Du Pengyu 21-11, 21-11.

The women’s singles provided little shocks either, with all 8 seeds progressing safely. All except one, Pi Hongyan was forced into a third game by Tai Tzu Ying before coming through and progressing into round 2. The 3rd seed plays the Commonwealth bronze medals Elizabeth Cann in her second round match. Last week’s finalist Liu Xin also progressed into round 2 and will be a tough test for the 5th seeded Juliane Schenk in the second round.

The only seed to fall was the 3rd seeded Chandra and Gunawan, the only other seed to be in any danger in the opening round was the 5th seeded Conrad-Pedersen and Rasmussen who were taking to three games by their Malaysian opponents.  The mixed doubles was a similar affair, with the top seeded Gunawan and Marissa being taken to three games by the Russian pairing of Durkin and Vislova. Every other seed in the mixed doubles progressed to the last 16 without any of the other 7 seeds dropping more than 26 points on route to Thursday’s second round.

Day 1 Results

Pi Hongyan Is France's Top Hope

Even without Gade or Baun picking up a title last week in Odense, Danish badminton is on a real high after their trio of titles. Jan O Jorgensen proved his credentials as a Super Series winner and the teenage sensation Viktor Axelsen breezed through the qualifying rounds to add another Danish contender in the biggest events for years to come.

Peter Gade returns to action this week, or he will at least try on Wednesday. He is unsure himself about the level of his play going into tomorrow’s opener against Carl Baxter. Last week’s winner Jan O Jorgensen takes on Przemyslaw Wacha in a tough opening round match and could face another rematch with Viktor Axelsen in the second round, however the 16-year old faces the tough task of defeating Du Pengyu of China in his opening round match. 2nd seeded Taufik Hidayat also starts with a tough opening round match against Wang Zhengming, the Chinese qualifier.

Pi Honygan will be under similar pressure as when the World Championships were held in August with a nations expectation on her shoulders. Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying is the French 3rd seeded first round opponent on the show court on Wednesday afternoon. Wang Yihan continues to play whilst most of the Chinese squad have opted not to play in Europe this month, she takes on Marie Maunoury of France who came through the qualifiers to reach the main draw.  Tine Baun will want to put last week’s disappointment behind her with a strong performance this week, she starts her campaign against Elena Prus of Ukraine.

Last weeks winners of the men’s doubles, Boe and Mogensen look to continue their excellent run of form this week, they take on the French pairing of Careme and Grosjean in their opening round match. Last week’s runners-up will hope to go one better as Kido and Setiawan start their campaign against the Dutch pairing of Bosch and Ridder.

The Japanese contingent that has been progressing deep into tournaments has chosen not to play in France this week, leaving the door open for last weeks runners-up, Vislova and Sorokina to go one better this week. The seeds for the women’s doubles have a European look to them, with 7 of the 8 seeds coming from a European nation.

One big name pairing who are playing this week are the top seeds in the mixed doubles, Marissa and Gunawan of Indonesia. They start with a tough opener against Durkin and Vislova of Russia. Last weeks winners Laybourn and Rytter Juhl start against the American pair of Lee and Ho whilst last weeks runners-up Robertson and Wallwork start against Moren and Pocztowiak of Poland in their opener.

Day 1 Matches

Schenk Takes Dutch Title

The Japanese interest in the final guaranteed at least one title, whilst top seed Yao Jie hoped to keep the women’s singles title in Holland this year. The day didn’t start well for the Japanese as they lost the women’s doubles final to the 2nd seeded Vislova and Sorokina who defeated the top seeded pairing of Fujii and Kakiiwa 21-19, 21-19.

However, Japan did secure it’s first title of the day in the men’s singles as Sho Sasaki beat unseeded Indian Ajay Jayaram in two games, winning 21-19, 21-16 in 37 minutes. The women’s singles had local interest with Yao Jie, top seed in the singles faced the 2nd seeded Juliane Schenk in the final. The pair shared the opening two games before Schenk prevailed in the third game, winning the 21-13, 14-21, 21-15 in just under an hour.

Valeria Sorokina secured title number two in the mixed doubles; with her partner Alexander Nikolaenko they defeated the Japanese 3rd seeds, Ikeda and Shiota 22-20, 21-9 to ensure Japan walked away with only two titles from the four finals. Title number 2 for Japan went to the top seeded Hashimoto and Hirata over their unseeded team mates, Hirobe and Kazuno with the top seeds winning 21-17, 21-13.

Finals Results:

Picture Provided by Rene Lagerwaard

No less than four finals will have Japanese interest, with one all-Japanese final guaranteeing at least one success for Japan. Ajay Jayaram booked his place in the men’s singles final with a  two victory over the 14th seed, also from India, Anand Pawar. He will play the 5th seeded Sho Sasaki of Japan in the final, after ending the chances of local success with a two game victory over Eric Pang.

The chances of all 5 finals having Japanese interest ended when Ai Goto was defeated by top seed Yao Jie in two games to give the local crowd some home-grown interest in tomorrow’s final. Top seeded Yao takes on the 2nd seeded Juliane Schenk after defeating Olga Konon in three games to book her place in the final.

The men’s doubles will be an all-Japanese final, top seeded Hashimoto and Hirata defeated Kindervater and Schottler to book their place in the final. The unseeded pair of Hirobe and Kazuno defeated their 3rd seeded countrymen Sato and Kawamae in three games to set up tomorrow’s all-Japanese affair.

The top two seeds meet in the women’s doubles final, as Fujii and Kakiiwa ended the Swedish pair of Lennartsson and Wengberg’s excellent run this week with a two game victory for the top seeded Japanese pair. Second seeds Vislova and Sorokina averted another all-Japanese final with a two game victory over the 3rd seeds Matsuo and Naito to book their place in tomorrow’s final.

The mixed doubles final is another Russia – Japan affair, with the 3rd seeded Ikeda and Shiota defeating their 6th seeded countrymen of Hayakawa and Matsuo in an 81 minute thriller, after the 3rd seeds lost the opening game 30-29. They play the 4th seeded Sorokina and Nikolaenko in tomorrow’s final after they ended the run of local pairing of Bosch and Jonathans in two games to set up the second Russia v Japan final.

Day 4 Results

Picture Provided by Rene Lagerwaard

Pang Defeats Axelsen

Whilst Viktor Axelsen’s quest for title number 2 ended at the hands of Eric Pang, there was delight for India as they guaranteed themselves a place in the men’s singles final. Ajay Jayaram continued his excellent run whilst Anand Pawar defeated Ireland’s Scott Evans in just over an hour to book his place in the all-Indian semi final. Chetan Anand could not make it 3 Indians in the last 4, as he lost out to Sho Sasaki of Japan.

The big local hope is in the women’s singles, as Yao Jie made it through to the last 4 with a three-game victory over Ukraine’s Larisa Griga. She takes on Ai Goto of Japan, who defeated Pai Hsiao Ma in two games. The second semi final is an all-German affair with 2nd seed Juliane Schenk taking on Olga Konon after both came through comfortably in two games in their quarter finals.

The shock in the men’s doubles was the defeat of 6th seeded Endo and Hayakawa to unseeded German pairing of Schottler and Kindervater, losing 24-22 in the third game. The other seeded Japanese pairs had little trouble, with both the top seeded Hashimoto and Hirata as well as Sato and Kawamae making it through to set up a semi final clash against each other.

Wengberg and Lennartsson ended the 4th seeded Jonathans and Van Dooremalen’s dreams of a home victory to join the top 3 seeds in the semi finals of the women’s doubles. Both top seeds Fujii and Kakiiwa as well as 2nd seeded Vislova and Sorokina won in two games, with Matsuo and Naito coming through in three games to book their place in the last 4.

Japan will definitely have a finalist in the mixed doubles, with 3rd seeded Ikeda and Shiota defeating Vislova and Durkin in their quarter final and in the all-Japanese quarter final, the 6th seeded Hayakawa and Matsuo progressed through. The top half of the draw has local interest in Bosch and Jonathans, they take on the 4th seeded Nikolaenko and Sorokina of Russia in the semi final.

Day 3 Results

Picture Provided by Rene Lagerwaard

© Copyright Badminton Life Inc 2011

Head Office Edmonton, Canada

"Badminton Life" is a Trademark of Badminton Life Inc