The day threatened to be a precession of English victories, that turned out not to be the case in Lisburn as a double defeat ensured just two titles for England on finals day.
Mills and Olver first final was the mixed doubles, which turned out to be one of the most one-sided of the completed matches. Their 21-19, 21-17 victory over Khodabux and Piek ensured at least one title for the English pair as they took on their level doubles finals later in the day. There was a shock brewing in the women’s singles, as teenager Carolina Marin took the opening game against Pai Hsiao Ma before the Chinese Taipei player found her form and completed a comeback in 58 minutes, winning 12-21, 21-19, 21-7.
Rajiv Ouseph claimed his second title in three weeks, albeit through a retirement from Przemyslaw Wacha at the second game interval. The match was never close as the Englishman took the title 21-15 and was leading 11-5 in the second game. The Malaysian’s Ng and Ng claimed their second title in two games with a victory over Olver and Agathangelou after dropping in the opening game, however faught back to take the title 14-21, 21-16, 21-11. Peter Mills also failed in his quest for two titles this week as he partnered Marcus Ellis, but the Polish top seeds of Cwalina and Logosz were too strong on the day, winning 21-15, 21-15 to take the men’s doubles title.
The three week stretch of the European Tour of Scotland, Wales and Ireland has featured a lot of the same names throughout, with the English squad dominating in Ireland this week.
Rajiv Ouseph has already won the Scottish International recently and will hope for title number 2 against the Pole Przemyslaw Wacha in tomorrow’s final. It will be their fourth meeting, with Wacha claiming victory in all of their previous meetings. Ouseph defeated Ville Lang and Mathieu Lo Ying Ping to ensure his place in the final whilst Wacha beat two seeds in Dicky Palyama and Dmytro Zavadsky to reach the final. Spanish teenager Carolina Marin is through the women’s singles final against Pai Hsiao Ma of Chinese Taipei, with Marin defeating the 3rd seeded Linda Zechiri to reach the final. The 4th seeded Pai defeated the top seeded Pi Hongyan in her semi final match in two games to book her place against Marin tomorrow.
The Malaysian pair of Ng and Ng have had a successful run of recently with a victory in Wales last week and beaten finalists in Scotland the week before. Their opponents in tomorrow’s final is the 3rd seeded Agathangelou and Olver, who defeated the top seeded Damkjaer Kruse and Roepke in the semi finals. Ellis and Mills will also hope to go one better than in Glasgow two weeks previously in the men’s doubles final as the unseeded pair take on the top seeded Logosz and Cwalina, who have been on court just 63 minutes on route to tomorrow’s final. The mixed doubles final sees two unseeded pairs with Ellis and Olver reaching their seconds finals of the week, where they will take on the Dutch pair of Khodabux and Piek tomorrow.
Four events still hold Dutch interest going into the weekend whilst several seeded players crashed out to boost the belief of at least one Dutch title this week.
Eric Pang’s victory in three games over 2nd seeded Ajay Jayaram was the story of the men’s singles today , but just as significant was Hsueh Hsuan Yi’s victory over Przemyslaw Wacha in the other half of the draw means that two unseeded players remain going into the semi finals tomorrow, with Pang taking on Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei for a place in Sunday’s final.
Yao Jie disposed of Ireland’s Chloe Magee in two games to set up her semi final match against Denmark’s Karina Jorgensen, who defeated Kristina Gavnholt in her quarter final match. Top seeded Porntip Buranaprasertsuk is also safely into the last 4 after defeating Pai Hsiao Ma of Chinese Taipei in her quarter final.
Bosch and Ridder set up their semi final clash with German’s Kindervater and Schoettler with both pairs winning in two games to reach the last 4. 2nd seeds Ivanov and Sozonov crashed out to the Danish pair of Skovgaard and Pieler Kolding to set up the other semi final against Poland’s Cwalina and Logosz. The women’s doubles sees the top four seeds in the semi finals, with the Dutch pairing of Jonathans and Van Dooremalen taking on the top seeded Thai pairing of Aroonkesorn and Voravitcitchaikul, after both claim two game victories in the quarter finals. The other Dutch pair in the last 8 of Severien and Verheul were defeated in two games by the second seeded Sari and Yao of Singapore.
The top two pairs from Thailand both successfully reached the last 4, joined by two German pairs. The 3rd seeded Fuchs and Michels received a walkover in the quarter finals whilst the unseeded pair of Kaesbauer and Goliszewski beat the Chinese Taipei pairing of Lu and Wu in three games to book their place in the last 4.
Even though some big-name withdrawals have weakened some of the draws, there is an excellent field in Almere, headlined by the 2nd seeded Yao Jie.
Boonsak Ponsana was set to be the top seed to play himself into form ahead of the Danish and French Super Series but pulled out pre-event to allow the unseeded Rasmus Fladberg to reach the last 8 from Ponsana’s part of the draw. 2nd seeded Ajay Jayaram has progressed into the quarter finals without the loss of a game and takes on the 5th seeded Dutchman Eric Pang for a place in the semi finals. Przemyslaw Wacha is the highest seed left in the top half of the draw and takes on the 7th seeded Hsueh Hsuan Yi of Chinese Taipei for place in the last 4.
Yao Jie is the big hope of a title this week for the Dutch and after surviving a nervy three game match in her opening round eventually winning 22-20 in the deciding game, there were little problems reaching the last 8 today with a routine two game victory over Sabrina Jacquet to set up a quarter final with Ireland’s Chloe Magee, who won the all-British match in the second round against Elizabeth Cann. The only other seed remain in the entire draw is the top seeded Thai Porntip Buranaprasertsuk who has progressed safely into the last 8 without the loss of a game to date and takes on Chinese Taipei’s Pai Hsiao Ma in the quarter finals.
All three doubles events have been hit with walkovers and withdrawals but there is still an excellent field in the last 8 of all the events. The top 4 seeds remain in the men’s doubles, with 4th seeded Bosch and Ridder looking to keep the title on Dutch soil but will face a tough task with a likely semi final encounter with German top seeds Kindervater and Schoettler. Jonathans and Van Dooremalen are seeded 4 in the women’s doubles whilst unseeded Dutch pair of Severien and Verheul are also through to the last 8, taking on the 2nd seeded Sari and Yao of Singapore in their quarter final.
The two Thai pairs are the main contenders this week, with both pairs coming through their second round matches without much resistance. The top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam take on the Danish pair of Delbo Larsen and Grebak in their quarter final whilst 2nd seeded Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul take on the Singapore pairing of Chrisnanta and Neo for a place in the last 4.
It was a quick final day for the Czech International Grand Prix tournament. No matches went to three games, and no matches lasted longer than fifty minutes.
The finals kicked off with the mixed doubles finals of Alexandr Nikolaenko and Valeri Sorokina of Russia against Gert Kunka and Amanda Hogstrom of Estonia and Sweden respectively. Both the Russians had another final later in the day in their respective Men’s and Women’s doubles, making a double crown for each possible. The entire match lasted only twenty six minutes with the Russians taking the prize, 21-15 and 21-12.
The first final with a Czech player was the women’s singles final, featuring Czech sensation Kristina Gavnholt, who had not dropped a set in the tournament yet, against India’s Arundhati Pantawane. The Indian player had a much tougher road to the final having a three set semi-final the day before. The match was the second longest of the day coming in at forty minutes. The home crowd had a reason to cheer in the end as Kristina came out the victor, 21-10, and 21-18.
The women’s final was the next one to be played, and it was Valeri Sorokina’s second final of the day. The Russian team of Valeri Sorokina and Nina Vislova faced off against Canada’s Nicole Grether and Charmane Reid. The Canadians only lasted a total of thirty-four minutes, with the Russian duo walking away with the title, 21-10, and 21-16. This was Valeri Sorokina’s second title of the day.
Next up we had the Men’s doubles, with Russians Vitalj Durkin and Alexandr Nikolaenko facing off against Poland’s first seeds Adam Cwalina and Michal Logosz. The Polish pair kept their magnificent form, defeating the Russians 21-13, and 21-16 in only thirty minutes.
The men’s singles was the match most came to watch. It featured Czech super star Petr Koukal who had made a brilliant run to the final, defeating second seed Brice Leverdez and therefore ending the Frenchman’s winning streak. Koukal was slotted against top seeded Polish player Przemyslaw Wacha. The match was the longest of the day, lasting a total of forty-one minutes. Unfortunately for Koukal, he could not take his home title this year, with Wacha taking the match 21-19, and 21-16.
Petr Koukal continued his reign today with another successful win on his home turf. He defeated Chinese Taipei’s Jen Hao Hsu in straight games, 21-10, and 21-12. Koukal has had a very successful year so far and is only getting better. This is incredible as no less than a year and a half ago Koukal was being treated for Cancer. But with the Cancer out of the way the Czech National champ is set to win his home title. Also in the men’s singles, top seed Przemyslaw Wacha had a three set epic with Indonesian Andre Kurniawan Tedjono. Andre took the first set 21- 18, but Wacha took control and won the next two sets 21-13, and 21-15. India’s Arvind Bhat had quite the scare in the form of fifth seeded Dmytro Zavadsky of Ukraine. Bhat came out on top, 18-21, 21-16, and 21-15. But Bhat’s success would not go too far as Wacha met him in the semi-final and overtook him 18-21, 21-12, and 21-3. Wacha will play Koukal for the title tomorrow.
In the women’s singles Czech star Kristina Gavnholt continued her run into the final. She won the semi-final match against Estonia’s Karoline Hoim, 21-8, and 21-13. Kristina has had a very successful tournament so far winning all her matches without dropping a set. Tomorrow she will face Arundhati Pantawane of India for the Czech International title. Arundhati paved her way to the final by defeating France’s third seeded Sashina Vignes Waran.
Adam Cwalina and Michal Logosz have kept their form this tournament, winning their semi-final against Chinese Taipei’s duo of Kan Hao Liao and Jui Wei Liang. The match went the distance with the Polish pair coming out in the end, 17-21, 21-18, and 21-9. On the other half of the draw, Russian pair of Vitalj Durkin and Alexandr Nikolaenko took out another Chinese Taipei team to reach the final. The Russian pair defeated Po Yi Huang and Chia Bi Lu in straight sets, 21-14, and 21-18. The final tomorrow will be Poland’s Cwalina/Logosz against Russia’s Durkin/Nikolaenko.
There will be another Russian team in the women’s doubles final tomorrow. Valeri Sorokina and Nina Vislova earned their place in the final, defeating Jillie Cooper and Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland, 16-21, 21-12, and 21-8. Canadians will also have someone to cheer for in the final, as Charmain Reid and Nicole Grether will also be headed to the final tomorrow after defeating Sweden’s Sanne Ekberg and Amanda Hogstrom. It was an impressive performance by the Canadian pair taking the match in straight sets, 21-8, and 21-8.
Russia’s doubles stars Alexandr Nikolaenko and Valeri Sorokina will both be in their second final of the day as they defeated Croatia’s Zvonimir Durkinjak and Stasa Poznanovic, 21-17, and 21-11. Nikolaenko will also be in the Men’s doubles final, as well as Sorokina will also be in the Women’s doubles final. This will give Russia the opportunity to capitalize on a double crown chance for both Nikolaenko and Sorokina. Underdogs Gert Kunka (Estonia) and Amanda Hogstrom (Sweden) made a miracle run to the final after defeating France’s Labar Ronan and Laura Choinet, 21-18, and 24-22.
Czech badminton fans have a good reason to be joyous right now, as the Czech International Grand Prix started off with a bang this week. Poland’s men’s singles number one Przemyslaw Wacha, is also the top seed in the men’s singles event. He slipped by two of India’s top players, both in straight games, in the first and second round of the tournament. Czech fans have even more reasons to rejoice as Czech star Petr Koukal ousted second-seeded Brice Leverdez of France in two sets, 21-14, 21-17.
In the women’s singles, top seed Nicole Grether of Canada (Formerly of Germany) saw an early exit from the tournament as she was defeated by Arundhati Pantawane of India, 21-19, and 21-18. Another hometown hero, Kristina Gavnholt advanced to the next stage of the tournament defeating Italy’s Orsolya Varga, and Norway’s Sara Kverno . Kristina won both matches in straight sets.
Poland, Russia, France, and Chinese Taipei all share an equal presence in the men’s doubles quarter finals, each with two teams remaining in the tournament. The second round in the women’s doubles is far more diverse with teams from at least six nations are still in the tournament. Nicole Grether and Charmaine Reid, Canada’s experienced pair triumphed over Natalia Pocztowiak and Stasa Poznanovic, 21-6, and 21-4.
There few surprises in the mixed doubles. Qualifiers Paul Van Rietvelde (Scotland) and Lim Alyssa (England) defeated English compatriots Chris Coles and Jessica Fletcher, 21-18, and 22-20.
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.
Day One was meant to see the host nation in action as well as seven other matches, but Nigeria’s failure to turn up on time in Kuala Lumpur forced them into a forfeit of their opening game over the host nation Malaysia.
Pre-Tournament favourites China defeated Peru in the opening match of Group A with a convincing 5-0 win, with Lin Dan impressing with a 21-4, 21-6 victory over Antonio De Vinatea in 20 minutes. Chen Jin and Chen Long also won their singles easily to give China a 3-0 lead in the match. Two simple wins for the doubles pairings completed the 5-0 win.
Denmark also completed an impressive 5-0 victory over Poland in the first of the all-European ties in Group C, with Peter Gade winning the opening match over Przemyslaw Wacha 21-9, 21-9 to lay down a marker for the match that the other Danes responded to. Boe and Mogensen defeated Cwalina and Logosz in the second match, followed by wins for Jorgensen, Paaske and Rasmussen and finally Joachim Persson to defeat the Poles by 5-0, all in two games.
Indonesia took on Australia in Group D, with Taufik Hidiyat leading the charge against Jeff Tho. 26 minutes was all Hidayat needed to give Indonesia a 1-0 lead, winning 21-12, 21-12. There was little resistance from the Australians in the other four matches, except for Smith and Warfe’s brave second game performance that they had 3 game points against Kido and Setiawan, only to lost out to the Indonesians 24-22.
China opened up their Uber Cup campaign with a 5-0 demolition of the USA in their opening group game. Wang Yihan started the rout with a stunning 21-2, 21-9 victory over Rena Wang in 21 minutes, before Ma and Wang won the opening doubles match 21-7, 21-12. China conceded just 37 points in the final three matches of the rubber, with Wang Xin, Wang Shixian and the pairing of Pan and Tian completing an impressive first victory for the Uber Cup favourites.
Indonesia’s men secured a 5-0 victory over Australia; the women matched the task with a 5-0 win over Australia’s women. All five matches won in two games, with little resistance from the Australians, only Australia’s doubles partnerships were able to secure double digit scores in both of their two games.
Japan against Germany had the makings of a tight match, the opening match seen Eriko Hirose take on Juliane Schenk. The Germans took an early 1-0 lead in the match with Schenk’s 21-15, 21-12 victory, the lead however was short lived as Fujii and Kakiiwa levelled the rubber at 1-1 with a two game victory. Ai Goto defeated Karin Schnaase to give the Japanese a 2-1 advantage. The first doubles match was the only 3-game match of the day as Suetsuna and Maeda took on Schenk and Overzier. The Japanese duo coming through in 3 games, 21-17, 18-21, 21-11 to give Japan an unassailable 3-1 lead. Yu Hirayama completed the comeback with a 21-16, 21-3 victory over Fabienne Deprez to give Japan a 4-1 victory.
Korea played South Africa in one of the evening games, with a 5-0 win expected by the majority. Sung Ji Hyun started with a 21-9, 21-9 victory and the Korean’s never looked back, taking the next 4 matches without the loss of a game. Only Stacey Doubell was able to take double digits in any of the ten games that the South Africans played, losing the second game in her match against Bae Youn Joo 21-10.
Badminton’s finest nations meet in Kuala Lumpur to battle for the Thomas and Uber Cup over the next 8 days. China are the clear favourite for both competitions but the host nation will want to be competing on the final day next Sunday.
Group A has the favourites China and another one of the up and coming nations Korea in their group also. South American qualifiers Peru make up the group and they begin Group A with a match against China on Sunday lunchtime with Lin Dan expected to play the opening singles match for China.
Group B has the host Malaysia in with another Asian superpower, Japan and another potential Tago – Lee Chong Wei match is expected on Tuesday evening when the two nations player. Nigeria make up Group B and start the matches in the group against host Malaysia on Sunday evening.
Group C has been drawn as the all European group with Denmark, Germany and Poland repeating the European Team Championships for two to book their places in the last 8 of the Thomas Cup. Denmark and Poland start the competition of Group C on Sunday evening. Peter Gade is expected to start against Poland with an opening singles against Przemyslaw Wacha. Group D has Indonesia, India and Australia in it with the Indonesian’s starting their campaign against Australia on Sunday afternoon.
Group A has the host nation Malaysia in it as well as favourites China, with the USA making up the opening group. China play the USA in the opening match, with the expected top two nations China and Malaysia playing on Tuesday night that should be a match to determine top spot but the question is who will play China’s singles matches with a choice of Wang Yihan, Wang Shixian, Wang Xin and Yanjiao Jiang. World Champion Lu Lan did not even make the team.
Group B has the European champions Denmark, as well as Indonesia and Australia who met in both competitions this year and both the male and the female matches are taking place at the same time on Sunday afternoon. Germany, Russia and Japan make up Group C in perhaps the highest quality of any of the opening groups in any of the two competitions. Japan takes on Germany on Sunday afternoon to opening proceedings in Group A. Korea are the favourites in Group D with India and South Africa probably fighting it out for second place in the group. The South African’s have the first opportunity to attempt to shock the Koreans in the opening match on Sunday afternoon.