The 2012 Olympics signals the end of four legendary careers, with the hope of a last great battle between Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan for the Olympic gold on August 5, 2012. August of this year provided with perhaps the greatest advertisement for the game that there has ever been as Lee Chong Wei took on Lin Dan for the 2011 World Championship.
Malaysia expected as Lee Chong Wei had two match points to claim his first world title, only for Lin Dan to break a nations heart with his refusal to be beaten. A nation distraught as China claimed a clean sweep in London as Lin Dan ripped off his top in celebration after his historic victory. It was the defining image of 2011, that the Chinese were still the nation to beat and that Lin Dan will still the man to beat.
As much as the Chinese tactics are questionable on how they get so many players to qualify, there is little doubting they are the nation to beat going into next years Olympics. Malaysia and Lee Chong Wei’s last chance waits in London once more, in the arena that robbed him of a world title 12 months previously.
From the stunning mistake by Lin Dan at 19-19 in the third game, to his net play and smashes that saved the two match points before his precise pushes into Lee Chong Wei’s forehand that forced the errors that led to the match point and the eventual winning point, it was an absolute master class on the greatest stage by both players. They simply are the best two players in the world and the only two men capable of winning gold in London.
Fighting For Gold
Lee Chong Wei was the overall best player of 2011; winning almost every event he entered and claimed his first All England title against Kenichi Tago in March. The last three months have seen him lose to China’s Chen Long no less than three times which is the only real worry for the Malaysian going into 2012. He will undoubtedly play a full schedule going into the Olympics, with the chance of a second All England title looming large.
Lin Dan goes into 2012 in top form, winning his last three events including the Super Series Finals earlier in December. He won the opening Super Series Premier in Korea in January and followed it up with Asian Games gold, an event that Lee Chong Wei did not play. The top two in the world played each other 5 times in ranking events, with Lin Dan winning four of the five meetings with Lin Dan holding a 18-8 advantage in their 26 meetings to date.
Gade’s Last Chance
Peter Gade celebrated his 35th birthday this month but there was little to celebrate on the court for the Dane as he failed to claim a single title in 2011 as Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei proved too strong throughout the year in a recurring theme for Europe’s number 1. In his 12 meetings with the top two players, he won just three games and failed to win a single match.
His record against the top two is 32-4, with his last victory over Lin Dan over 18 months ago and almost three years since his last win over Lee Chong Wei. His chances of a stunning upset and a Danish gold in London look grim whilst in the Super Series events he will be a perennial contender and will reach the latter stages of most of the events he participates in, but his chances of gold in London are slim.
Taufik’s Fall From Grace
The decline of Taufik started in May of this year when his #2 ranking slipped to 3 and then came the double defeat to Marc Zwiebler in the US and Canada Open. The foundation of his ranking came from his Denmark and France Super Series victories in 2010. His defeat in the second round to Viktor Axelsen in Denmark followed by his opening round loss to Wang Zhengming in France ensured Hidayat’s decline out of the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time in recent memory.
He ended the year with a whimper, losing all three games in the Super Series Finals and taking just a single game against Kenichi Tago. He will start 2012 with a world ranking of 12, still inside the qualifcation zone for the Olympics but he is currently the #2 ranked player from Indonesia with Simon Santoso ranked 7 in the world and Tommy Sugiarto a threat to Hidayat’s qualification also, ranked 17th in the world.
The Chinese Threat
The 2009 world champion Chen Jin as well as the new star of Chinese badminton, Chen Long are just the tip of a massive Chinese threat going into any major tournament in 2012. With 5 Chinese players inside the top 16, there is a massive internal battle within the Chinese squad to claim one of a potential three spots in the Olympics, should China manage to get three players inside the top 4 in the world.
Chen Long is clearly the new star of Chinese badminton, the 22-year old begun this year well outside of the top 10 and his stunning loss to Kevin Cordon in the opening round of the world championships could have derailed his promising career. However, he returned to form later in the year with a trio of titles including a Super Series Premier title in China before his milestone victory over Lee Chong Wei in Japan the next week. This became a recurring theme, with another victory over Lee Chong Wei in Denmark and then finally in their most recent matchup in the Super Series Finals. He is the main threat to the top two in the world going into 2012.
Chen Jin claimed just a single title this year, in the Singapore Super Series after a Lin Dan walkover in the final and without Lee Chong Wei even in the draw. His two runner-up medals were defeats to Lin Dan and Chen Long to firmly establish himself as the third force of Chinese badminton now.
Du Pengyu and Wang Zhengming are the two wild cards of Chinese badminton. They have all but been eliminated from being able to qualify for the 2012 games but will be vital in ensuring a massive Chinese presence at the London Olympics. Ranked #10 and #14 in the world will put them in a position of being seeds in some events but potentially facing one of the seeds in the Premier events of 2011, like Wang Zhengming taking on Taufik Hidayat in the French Super Series in October. They will also play a role in ensuring Chinese success at these events, with the Chinese squad allowing walkovers to occur in all-Chinese matchups, meaning more rest for the higher ranked Chinese players in their big events.
The Breakout Stars of 2011
2011 seen the emergence of Sho Sasaki, Lee Hyun Il, Simon Santoso and Marc Zwiebler into the top 16 players in the world. 29-year old Sho Sasaki has been grinding away a career that seen him ranked as low as 40 in June of this year after a string of opening round losses to start 2011. He then reached the semi finals in the Indonesian Super Series Premier and followed that with a win in the US Open in July. An excellent run to the last 8 of the world championships boosted his ranking into the top 10 and finishes the year with his highest ever world ranking of 7. A lot is expected of Sasaki in 2012 with impressive victories over Lin Dan and Du Pengyu in 2011 but has to ensure no opening round upsets that marred his 2011 season.
Lee Hyun Il ended his career after the Beijing Olympics, only to be talked back into playing competitively just 20 months ago. Ranked 196th in May of 2010, he has returned to the world’s top 10 going into 2012, winning his last two events of 2011. A former world number 1 in 2004, his return to the top 10 is nothing short of stunning with victories over Chen Jin, Wang Zhengming , Du Pengyu and Simon Santoso confirming his top 10 status. He will benefit in 2012 with being seeded for most of the early Super Series events of the year to bolster his place in the top 10.
Simon Santoso was touted to overtake Taufik Hidayat as Indonesia’s number 1 in the summer after Hidayat’s poor run in the US and Canada Open. He entered the world championships ranked 19th but his run to the semi finals in China and Macau, that featured a victory over Peter Gade seen Santoso become the top ranked Indonesian player and ensured his place in the top 10 in December. His victory over Hidayat in the China Masters saw the passing of the guard to the 26-year old.
Marc Zwiebler has cemented his place as Europe’s number 2 behind Peter Gade, but his double victory over Taufik Hidayat has pushed him into the spotlight. Ranked as high as 11 earlier in the year, he has levelled out within the 15-17 ranking in the later half of the year following his Canada Open success. Big things are expected of Zwiebler in 2012 as he is set to take on the mantle of Europe’s #1 after the Olympics.
The New Breed
Denmark’s future lies with Viktor Axelsen, the 2010 junior world champion and current European junior champion carefully scheduled his 2011 calender, with a victory in Spain before his greatest moment of his career in the Denmark Open as he defeated Taufik Hidayat in his hometown to reach the last 8 of a Super Series for the first time. He took a game off Peter Gade in his quarterfinal before losing out in three games but that propelled him onto the world stage. He played the Hong Kong and China Masters in the latter half of 2011 and will likely take on a full schedule in 2012 as he looks to improve on his ranking of 36.
Wong Wing Ki’s victory over Lin Dan in Denmark was the 21-year old’s first breakthrough victory of his career and a series of promising results to end 2011 has him just outside the top 20 in the world going into 2012. He has been competitive against the world’s elite throughout the last year with only his standout victory against Lin Dan to show for it, he will hope to have several more impressive wins in 2012.
The European Hopefuls
Pablo Abian, Rajiv Ouseph have been the powerhouses of the EBU circuit, whilst Jan O Jorgensen has been reaching the latter stages of the Super Series towards the end of 2011 after a health scare during the week of the Denmark Open.
Pablo Abian started 2011 just inside the top 50 in the world before taking four titles in the first half of the year, including a victory over Viktor Axelsen in Sweden in January to claim his first title. Opening round defeats in the Denmark and France Open will have to be improved on in 2012 to break into the world’s elite.
Rajiv Ouseph will go to the London Olympics as GB’s only chance of a medal in this event but his success in 2011 has came in Europe, with victories in Ireland and Scotland, choosing to play the European events instead of the Super Series Premier event in China. He goes into 2012 in need of a notable run in a Super Series to boost his confidence ahead of the pressure of performing on home soil after a poor attempt this year in a 21-8, 21-18 defeat to Peter Gade in the opening round of the 2011 world championships.
Jan O Jorgensen is a former top 10 player whose health scare in Denmark forced him into a layoff of 4 weeks that seen him dip to 19 in the rankings. Three quarter final appearances in Super Series events in 2011 will be the very minimum he will need to ensure his place at the Olympics ahead of Viktor Axelsen, as the two battle it out to be Denmark’s number 1 after Gade’s retirement.
However, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus is also a contender in the debate. Ranked outside the top 30 at the start of 2011, the Dane took the Dutch Open title in April to push him into the top 25 and another victory in the Bitburger Open sees him inside the top 20 and finished the year with a close match with Chen Long of China. The performance in the China Open will be one that Vittinghus hopes to emulate throughout 2011 to ensure his name is in the discussion over Denmark’s top men’s singles player.
The Asian Contingent
The rarely spoken about Tien Minh Nguyen has been inside the top 10 in the world for almost two years without any major runs in the Super Series, the Vietnamese player earns his ranking points from the GP Gold series of events but did put have a good run at the world championships, eventually losing out to Peter Gade in three games at the quarter final stage. Defeats to Sho Sasaki and Jan O Jorgensen in the latter part of 2011 still raise question marks over Nguyen’s true ability and significance within the rankings.
Park Sung Hwan’s year was cut short with an injury after the world championships. After surgery on his knee in September there was further complications after it was revealed that the Korean had circulation problems in his shoulder but is expected to return to action in the opening months of 2012. He was ranked inside the top 10 before his lay off due to injury.
Boonsak Ponsana is another player in the Tien Minh Nguyen mould in that he was almost discounted as a threat in the opening half of 2011 when he was ranked 6th in the world, mostly due to ranking points gained through the GP Gold series. His quarter final defeat to Lee Chong Wei is the highlight of a poor year for the Thai player that has seen him crash out of the top 10 but surgery has sidelined Ponsana for most of the second half of 2011, with 2012 seeing the Thai player hopefully return to the court.
The End Of An Era
Regardless of the results in London, Lee Chong Wei and Peter Gade have confirmed their intentions to retire after the Olympics. Lin Dan and Taufik Hidayat likely to follow suit, especially should Lin Dan claim his second Olympic title. Hidayat’s dip in form will likely be a contributing factor especially with his place in London far from guaranteed.
2012 will provide us with the end of an era and the chance to crown a new world number 1 after the Olympics. Whether that is Lee Chong Wei winning gold for Malaysia, Lin Dan retaining his Olympic title or the dream finale to Peter Gade’s stunning career, the countdown has begun. There is no more putting off talking about the likely retirement of these four players, for it is now a matter of months, not years now.
The 2012 season starts in just a few weeks, with the Korean Open Super Series Premier being moved 3 weeks to the first week in January, with the Malaysian Open Super Series the next week to ensure an exciting start to the year. The doubleheader of the Indonesia Premier and Singapore Super Series will be the final event before the run-in to the Olympics in late July.
Then, another 6 week break before the China Masters and the first opportunity to survey the aftermath of the 2012 Olympics. The year ends with the China Open Premier and the Hong Kong Super Series in late November to conclude what is likely to be a historic year of badminton.
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.
Line Kjaersfeldt’s week finished with a flourish but Rajiv Ouseph’s stunning display in the men’s singles was the highlight of the week in Glasgow.
Ouseph’s 21-18, 21-10 victory was as one-sided as the scoreline suggests, with Baxter unable to break down the English #1 and put up any sort of resistance to stop Ouseph claiming his second Scottish Open title, without the loss of a game in the progress. Sweden’s Wengberg and Lennartsson put their 2008 defeat in the final behind them to claim the women’s doubles title in another one sided match against the Malaysian pair of Ng and Ng, with the 2nd seeds winning 21-7, 21-13 in 34 minutes. Russia’s top seeded Ivanov and Sozonov defeated last year’s winning pair of Ellis and Mills to claim the men’s doubles title in their most impressive performance of the week, claiming the title 21-19, 21-19.
Line Kjaersfeldt partnered Kim Astrup Sorensen to a stunning upset of the top seeded Polish pair Szkudlarczyk and Wojtkowska in the longest match of the day lasting exactly an hour with the Danish 8th seeds winning 15-21, 21-15, 21-13 to take the mixed doubles title. Kjaersfeldt was also in the women’s doubles final, taking on the 5th seeded Judith Meulendijks of Holland. The 17-year old Dane was playing her 27th and 28th game of the week and the fatigue of the long week had clearly caught up with her as the 5th seeded Meulendijks was rarely tested in her 21-9, 21-19 in just 28 minutes.
It was a day of surprises in Glasgow, with two of the top seeds crashing out today but there were no surprises in the men’s singles with Rajiv Ouseph reaching the final with the loss of just one game.
Ouseph was clinical in his 21-17, 21-4 victory over Mathieu Lo Ping Ying of France to set up an all-English final against Carl Baxter who was impressive in his victories over Yuhan Tan and Christian Lind Thomsen, with both players being higher seeded than the 14th seeded Englishman. It will be their 3rd meeting but the first for over two years, with Ouseph claiming both victories in two games in their 2009 and 2006 meetings.
Judith Meulendijks claimed a famous win over Linda Zechiri in the women’s singles semi finals, with the Bulgarian top seed losing out in a three-game 58-minute match. The star of the week has been Line Kjaersfeldt, the world number 311 has been in stunning form this week to reach the final of the singles and the mixed doubles after a massive physical toll today. She defeated Larisa Griga, the 2nd seeded Ukrainian in her fourth match of the day after winning the previous three, but 11 games in just over 7 hours will be a massive drain physically ahead of her two finals tomorrow.
Kjaersfeldt and Sorensen take on the top seeded Poles of Szkudlarczyk and Wojtkowska in the mixed doubles final, with the Danish pair ending Scottish hopes in their semi final win over Briggs and Cooper of Scotland whilst the Danes ended any chance of an all-Danish final with their victory over Colberg and Poulsen. The women’s doubles final is between the 4th seeded Ng and Ng of Malaysia and the 2nd seeded Wengberg and Lennartsson of Sweden, with both pairs coming into the final without either losing a game to date this week. The men’s doubles final is between the top seeded Ivanov and Sozonov and last years winners, Ellis and Mills of England. Both pairs have needed three games to reach the final to set up a third encounter with the English pairing hoping to reverse the scoreline from their most recent matchup at the world championships in August where they lost in two games.
It was a long day in Glasgow for players and spectators alike, as two rounds of the singles and level doubles were played over 12 and a half hours of play with all five top seeds making the last 8.
The biggest casualty in the men’s singles was the 2nd seeded Dymtro Zavadsky, who lost to Malaysia’s Tan Chun Seang in three games. There were also defeats for the 3rd seeded Dicky Palyama and 4th seeded Henri Hurskainen, with the Swede losing out to the 14th seeded Carl Baxter in the third round. There was little trouble for the top seeded Rajiv Ouseph, who won both matches today without the loss of a game to set up a quarter final against the highest seed left in the draw, the 5th seeded Vladimir Ivanov.
Top Two Into Last 8
Linda Zechiri survived a scare in her opening match of the day against Nanna Vainio but progressed after dropping the opening game and ensured her place in the last 8 with a win over Nicki Chan-Lam of England. The 2nd seeded Larisa Griga also survived a pair of scares in her two matches today also, needing three games to defeat Sabrina Jacquet and then Tanvi Lad in the last 16 to book her place in the quarters against Anu Nieminen, who defeated Ragna Ingolfsdottir to reach the last 8. 3rd seeded Anastacia Prokopenko’s event lasted just 50 minutes with an opening round defeat to Anita Raj Kaur of Malaysia, who then defeated Kim Buss of Germany to reach the last 8.
Scottish Hopes Rest In Doubles
One Scottish pair and an Anglo-Scottish pair are all that the hosts have to support on day 3, with Briggs and Cooper reaching the last 8 of the mixed doubles where they will take on English qualifiers Wolfenden and Smith for a place in the last 4. Pringle and Sankey will take on the 3rd seeds Lee and Obanana in the women’s doubles tomorrow, whilst the top seeded Agathangelou and Olver had little problems reaching the last 8. The top seeded Russian pairing of Ivanov and Sozonov survived a scare in one of the last matches of the day before progressing in three games against Lundqvist and Nordh of Sweden to reach the last 8.
The day began in Glasgow with the top seeded Rajiv Ouseph reaching the last 32 and the day finished with 2nd seeded Bosch and Ridder making it into the last 16 of the men’s doubles that was dominated by the seeds.
15 of the 16 seeds progressed in the men’s singles, only the 16th seeded Marcel Reuter crashed out to ensure there was no clean sweep of seeded winners today. The German was beaten by Sri Lanka’s Niluka Karunaratne, who takes on Stilian Makarski of Bulgaria who defeated Nathan D’Cruz in the tightest match of the day, winning 29-27 in the third in one of the longest matches of the day. There were wins for Dymtro Zavadsky and Dicky Palyama in two games as well as Henri Hurskainen to ensure the top four seeds reached the last 32.
Kirsty Gilmour was the lone Scottish singles player to win today, defeating England’s Kate Robertshaw in three games to set up her second round match against Elizabeth Cann of England. Overall, the singles was a disappointed for the Scottish crowd with six defeats in the singles over the two events. All eight seeds in the men’s doubles progressed in convincing fashion, with the 4th seeded Koch and Zauner being the only pairing taken to three games by the Scottish pairing of Gilmour and Campbell before eventually progressing. Both the top two seeds were impressive in their one sided victories but will face tougher opposition in the second round tomorrow.
The next event on the Super Series calendar is underway, and the online live stream should be up shortly. Here are the live streams:
Semi Finals Session 2
The first post-World Championships Super Series in China was a perfect way for the host nation to bolster it’s place at the top of world badminton and to an extent they did, but one shock defeat leaves a bittersweet taste on a successful day for the host nation.
World Champion Lin Dan progressed safely into round 2 and was followed by Chen Jin, Zhou Wenlong, Chen Long, Du Pengyu and Wang Zhengming. Only Peter Gade and Kazushi Yamada were able to defeat Chinese opponents in the opening round as the European interest in the men’s singles shrunk to just two after the opening round. Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Peter Gade are Europe’s sole hopes this week with early exits for Rajiv Ouseph, Jan O Jorgensen and Marc Zwiebler.
Wang Shixian needed the full distance to reach the second round against Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, eventually coming through 30-29 in the final game in 71 minutes and saving eleven match points. There is a massive Chinese involvement in round 2 as expected, with Wang Yihan, Wang Xin, Jiang Yanjiao, Liu Xin and Yao Xue making up six of the sixteen remaining players. Tine Baun and Juliane Schenk will be Europe’s main hopes of an unlikely victory on Chinese soil.
The men’s doubles has but just 3 pairs from China, but the top seeded Cai and Fu will be the pair to watch. Hashimoto and Hirata defeated the 8th seeded Chandra and Gunawan to book their place in the last 16 but there were little surprises in the other matches in the opening round. The women’s doubles will be another event to watch for the all-conquering world champions Wang and Yu whilst Europe has it’s entire hope placed solely on Rytter Juhl and Pedersen’s shoulders for success.
The mixed doubles seen the biggest shock of the day as China’s 2nd seeds Jiaming and Ting to unseeded Indian pair Gutta and Valiyaveeti in three games. Their reward is a match against Lee and Ha of Korea, a pair that easily beat them in Switzerland earlier in the year. Last week’s winners Ko and Eom have the toughest task in round 2 as they take on the world champions and top seeded Zhang and Zhao for a place in the quarter final.
Three quarter final places was the goal for the home nation going into the world championships, after just two days they are down to just four players and partnerships left in the five events. The four are spread across four different events, but the surprise defeat of the 10th seeded Robertson and Wallwork makes the goal of three quarter final places an unlikely one.
Lin Dan was the main attraction in the men’s singles today, with a two game victory ensuring his place in the last 32 tomorrow against Ireland’s Scott Evans who was also a winner in two games. Peter Gade ended English’s best chances of a good run in the singles in his two game victory over Rajiv Ouseph, whilst Toby Penty won the all-UK clash in the first round despite only getting into the event as a wild card. There were wins for Simon Santoso, Tien Minh Nguyen and Boonsak Ponsana, with the 10th seed having to come from a game down to defeat Eric Pang.
Wang Shixian’s campaign got off to the perfect start with a two game victory over Bulgaria’s Linda Zechiri, Jiang Yanjiao also progressed in two games to ensure a full compliment of Chinese players left in the draw after the shock defeat in the men’s singles by Kevin Cordon over Chen Long. One seed did fall today, Eriko Hirose was defeated by Spain’s Carolina Marin in three games, with the Spaniard claiming another impressive scalp on her way into the last 16 where she will meet Cheng Shao Chieh, the 7th seed in the 3rd round. Tine Baun kept European hopes alive with her two game victory over Chan Tsz Ka of Hong Kong, but did have to save three game points in the opening game before taking it 26-24.
Top seeded Cai and Fu had to battle through against their Russian opponents in three games to reach the last 16 where they will play the 12th seeded Kawamae and Sato of Japan, who defeated the Polish pair of Cwalina and Logosz. The 8th seeded Chandra and Gunawan also had to fight through in 3 games to reach the third round, where they will take on the 16th seeded Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen who had little trouble in reaching the last 16. Lee and Jung also started their campaign with a win over England’s Clark and Langridge in two games to set up a match with the 14th seeded Endo and Hayakawa, who defeated Smith and Warfe of Australia in two games.
Top seeded Wang and Yu were rarely trouble in their opening match, defeated the Swedish pair of Wengberg and Lennartsson in two games to reach the last 16. There will be an all-Japanese third round match as Maeda and Suetsuna, seeded 3 take on the 15th seeded Misaki and Takahashi with both winning their matches in two games. One of the main European threats crashed out, with the 13th seeded Jonathans and Van Dooremalen losing out to the Hong Kong pair of Chan and Chau.
England’s big hope of a medal this year has already ended in the mixed doubles, with the 10th seeded Robertson and Wallwork crashing out in the second round to Malaysia’s Chan and Goh in two games. There is still interest with Adcock and Bankier flying the GB flag after their two game victory over Ng and Gao of Canada. Top seeded Zhao and Zhang progressed safely into the last 16 where they take on the 13th seeded German pair of Fuchs and Michels whilst the 3rd seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam crashed out in the second round to the unseeded Singapore pairing of Triyachart and Yao. There was no problem for the 2009 world champions, Laybourn and Rytter Juhl who progressed in two games to set up a 3rd round match against Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei who also won in two games today over Hashimoto and Fujii of Japan.