The second of three events in June takes the world’s best to Singapore, with only Lee Chong Wei missing from the men’s singles field. China have all of their big names here this week ahead of next week’s Premier Series event in Indonesia too.
Taufik Hidayat is the top seed this week with Lee Chong Wei’s absence and could face a real battle to progress this week with three Chinese players in his half of the draw. Wang Zhengming likely waits in the second round with Bao Chunlai and Chen Long looming should the Indonesian progress into the weekend. Viktor Axelsen gets a second shot at Wong Choong Hann inside of a week and world champion Chen Jin is unseeded this week and is also in the top half of the draw. Lin Dan is the 2nd seed this week and starts his campaign aganinst Shon Wan Ho before likely taking on the winner of Jan O Jorgensen and Kenichi Tago. Peter Gade starts his campaign this week against Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia before likely quarter final match against Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand.
Saina Nehwal begins her campaign this week against Lu Lan, again. The 4th seeded Indian also has Tine Baun in her half of the draw, but the top seed is China’s Wang Shixian who could face Wang Lin in an all-Chinese 2nd round match. Wang Yihan and Wang Xin are the big threats from the bottom half of the draw, but there is unseeded threats in the way of Ai Goto, Eriko Hirose, Yao Jie and Pi Hongyan.
The big shock in the men’s doubles is the pre-event withdrawal of top seeded Danish pair Boe and Mogensen, with the pair in a poor run of form since their performance at the Sudirman Cup. The main beneficiaries are the 3rd seeded Ko and Yoo whose run in the top half of the draw has become all the more easier. The bottom half of the draw is headlined by Lee and Jung, seeded 2 and the 4th seeded Cai and Fu of China, who are set to meet at the semi final stages this week. The match to look out for tomorrow is the 6th seeded Kido and Setiawan taking on the unseeded Bach and Gunawan in the opening round.
With no Wang and Yu this week, the Japanese pair of Maeda and Suetsuna are top seeds this week. However they face a new Chinese partnership in Ma and Pan who are both accomplished players within the Chinese ranks and are playing their first event together. Tian and Zhao, last weeks winners in Thailand are also in the top half of the draw. The 2nd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa have less competitive half of the draw, with only Jauhari and Polii, Ha and Kim and Vislova and Sorokina as main threats to the Japanese pair.
The top half of the mixed doubles is loaded with potential winners, from the top seeded Zhang and Zhao to 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir and countless unseeded pairings capable of putting a good run this week together. Hashimoto and Fujii, He and Yu, Xu and Ma, Lee and Ha, Widianto and Marissa as well as Nikolaenko and Sorokina are all in the top half of the draw. The bottom half as a distinct European feel to it, from the 3rd seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen as well as the 5th seeded Laybourn and Rytter Juhl of Denmark. There are three British pairs in Robertson and Wallwork, Adcock and Bankier as well as German Open winners White and Blair but there is still a Chinese threat in the 6th seeded Jiaming and Tian.
The Asian monopoly on finals day was thwarted by an unlikely British presence in the mixed doubles final, with the likes of Lee Yong Dae and Lin Dan on show there was Robert Blair and Gabrielle White to boost British hopes ahead of the All-England’s next week.
Lin Dan’s recent form has been a throwback to his all-conquering days of a few years ago, defeating Lee Chong Wei in Korea 5 weeks ago and his two game victory this week over team-mate and current world champion Chen Jin 21-19, 21-11. The Olympic champion will be the undoubted favourite going into the All-England’s to claim his second Premier Series title of the year.
Liu Xin made it a pair of singles titles for China as she defeated Ayane Kurihana in the longest match of the day, winning in three games 21-13, 15-21, 21-9. Lee and Jung took the men’s doubles title in an all-Korean final against Kim and Kim in a three game match and will be one of the favourites next week to claim a second title in two weeks.
Japan did claim one title this week, with Fujii and Kakiiwa defeating the Korean pair of Ha and Kim in a very one-sided affair, winning 21-6, 21-14 in a little over half and hour. Robert Blair and Gabrielle White took the mixed doubles title against the unseeded Japanese pair of Ikeda and Shiota, after dropping the opening game they fought back to take the title 16-21, 21-16, 21-15.
Lin Dan has been in ominous form this week in preparation for the All England Championships and has reached his second final of the year, where he will take on the 2nd seed and current world champion Chen Jin.
Lin Dan had little problem defeating the 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana in a 21-11, 21-11 match to book his place in the final. Chen Jin was in excellent form also in his victory over Park Sung Hwan in a one sided 21-14, 21-7 match. The women’s singles final has also got Chinese interest in the 5th seeded Liu Xin who takes on Japan’s Ayane Kurihana, who defeated Malaysia’s Mew Choo Wong in a two game matchup.
Lee and Jung progressed safely into the final of the men’s doubles with a superb 21-11, 21-9 victory over the 3rd seeded Koo and Tan in just 27 minutes. They will have Korean opponents in the final but not the likely finalists after Ko and Yoo’s defeat to the unseeded Kim and Kim in a three game match to set up the all-Korean final. Korea also has interest in the women’s doubles final, with Ha and Kim defeating the 7th seeded Matsuo and Naito in a tight two game victory and set up a final against the 5th seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa who defeated Kim and Kim of Korea in a 21-14, 21-13 victory.
The all-British semi final in the mixed doubles went the way of the higher seeded Blair and White, who defeated Bankier and Adcock in a 21-17, 21-17 victory to book their place in the final where they will take on the unseeded Japanese pair of Ikeda and Shiota who defeated the 3rd seeded Thai pair of Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul in a tight two game match.
The German and Russian hopes ended on quarter finals day as the Asian players have significant interest in all the events going into the weekends play. There only remains two British pairs in the mixed doubles whilst the remainder of the field is from Asia.
Lin Dan is safely into the last 4, defeating Shon Wan Ho in two games to book his place in the semi final. In his semi final he will take on the 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana who defeated qualifier Keigo Sonoda in two games. The other semi final sees the other two highest seeds meet as Chen Jin seeded 2 takes on Park Sung Hwan, the 4th seed from Korea. Chen Jin was forced into a third game by Lee Hyun Il in his quarter final, before progress through in 62 minutes.
Juliane Schenk became the 7th seed to fall in the women’s singles, losing out to the 5th seeded Liu Xin in a tight two game match. The Chinese 5th seed will take on Sung Ji Hyun in the semi final after the Korean defeated Fu Mingtian in three games. The other semi final sees Mew Chew Wong take on Japan’s Ayane Kurihara, after winning her all-Japanese quarter final convincingly over Ai Goto.
The Korean’s have 3 of the 4 pairs remaining in the draw for the men’s doubles, with Ko and Yoo progressing to an all-Korean semi final against Kim and Kim without the loss of a game to date this week. The other semi final is one of the matches of the week between Lee and Jung of Korea and Koo and Tan of Malaysia with both partnerships in excellent form and not dropping a game between them to this point in the tournament.
Japan versus Korea is the story of the women’s doubles, with two such matches taking place in the semi final stage. 7th seeded Naito and Matsuo defeated the top seeded Maeda and Suetsuna to book their place in the last 4 where they will play the unseeded Korean pair of Ha and Kim who defeated the 4th seeded Vislova and Sorokina in a tight three game match, winning the 3rd game 22-20 to progress. The 2nd semi final sees the 5th seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa take on Kim and Kim of Korea with both partnerships winning in 2 games to reach the last 4.
The mixed doubles has a rare all-British matchup in the first semi final, as Adcock and Bankier take on Blair and White for a place in Sunday’s final. An undoubted boost ahead of next week’s All-England Championships and next years Olympics to be held in London. Bankier and Adcock’s impressive two game win over Lee and Kim will be one of their highlights of their careers to date whilst Blair and White defeated the formidable partnership of Nikolaenko and Sorokina to reach the last 4. Voravichitchaikul and Anugritayawon take on the Japanese pair of Ikeda and Shiota in the other semi final, with the Japanese pairing defeating the 2nd seeded Mateusiak and Zieba to reach the last 4.
The top seed in the men’s singles has progressed safely into the quarter finals after a double victory in his matches on the second day of the German Open. Also joining him in the last 8 is the current world champion Chen Jin, 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana and the 4th seeded Park Sung Hwan.
Marc Zwiebler’s surprise second round exit ended all hopes of a German winner in the men’s singles, his surprise two game loss to Hsu Jen Hao of Chinese Taipei has not been the only surprise in the last 8, Japanese qualifer Keigo Sonoda’s unlikely run has seen him through to a last 8 match with 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana, who defeated a pair of Japanese players to book his place in the last 8. Lin Dan has safely progressed into the last 8 without the loss of a game after wins over Scott Evans and Hans-Kristian Vittinghus today to reach the quarter finals.
The two remaining seeds in the women’s singles meet for a place in the last 4 as Juliane Schenk takes on Liu Xin after both comfortably won their second round matches in two games. Wong Mew Choo is the main threat on the bottom half of the draw and takes on Russia’s Anastasia Prokopenko for a place in the semi finals.
The top three seeds are all safely into the last 8 of the men’s doubles but the 4th seeds suffered a surprise defeat to the German pair of Fuchs and Roth who defeated Hashimoto and Hirata of Japan in a tight three game match with the Germans taking the match 22-20 in the third end. Alexandr Nikolaenko’s excellent week continued with a three game win over the 7th seeded pair of Gan and Tan with partner Vitalij Durkin to set up a quarter final match against the 3rd seeded Koo and Tan.
The women’s doubles has a distinct Asian feel to it, with 5 seeds remaining and a sole European partnership in the 4th seeded Russian pair of Vislova and Sorokina. The first quarter final is an all-Japanese match between Maeda and Suetsuna, seeded 1 and the 7th seeded Matsuo and Naito who both come into the match without the loss of a game between them. Vislova and Sorokina take on the unseeded Ha and Kim of Korea who defeated the 8th seeded German pairing of Marinello and Michels in two games to reach the last 8.
There is still double British interest in the mixed doubles ahead of next weeks All-Englands, with 6th seeded Blair and White and 7th seeded Adcock and Bankier. Blair and White have progressed to the last 8 without the loss of a game and take on the on form pairing of Nikolaenko and Sorokina for a place in the last 4 whilst Adcock and Bankier take on the Korean pair of Lee and Kim in one of the matches of the day on quarter finals day. The top seeded pair left in the draw, Mateusiak and Zieba scraped through a three game match against the Japanese pair of Sato and Matsuo to book their place in the last 8.
With an invested interest in most of the matches today, the Chinese squad had plenty of reasons to be confident about progressing into several of tomorrow’s semi final matches. There were two all-Chinese matchups that didn’t take place, with Lin Xiu withdrawing from her match against Jiang Yanjiao and Lin Dan pulling out of his match against Chen Long, the second time in just over a month.
Lee Chong Wei’s run to the last 4 has been as impressive as ever, without the loss of a game to date and brushing aside the 8th seeded Tien Minh Nguyen in a one-sided two game matchup and the Malaysian’s sixth win over Nguyen in their 7 meetings. Taufik Hidayat disposed of Kenichi Tago in two games in his semi final and his reward is an all-Indonesian semi final against Simon Santoso. Chen Long will have to make the most of his extra day of rest as he takes on the top seeded Lee Chong Wei.
The women’s singles has turned into a four-women Chinese shootout for the title, with the top 4 seeds all progressing to this stage. Wang Xin takes on Wang Yihan whilst Wang Shixian takes on Jiang Yanjiao in tomorrow semi finals. Both of the matches tomorrow sees the lower seeded player with the better of their higher seeded opponent in their recent head to heads also.
Another seeded was toppled in the mens doubles, with Chandra and Gunawan losing out to Danish pair Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen in a tight two game battle. The remaining two seeds will play each other in the second semi final, with 6th seeded Ahsan and Septano taking on Chai and Guo of China, the 5th seeds.
The women’s doubles has a similar feel to the singles, with all 4 pairings coming from China. Former partners Ma and Jin face off in their new pairings in the second of the semi finals, whilst the elder stateswomen of the Chinese game play in their first semi final with Zhao and Tian taking on Du and Pan for a place in Sunday’s final.
The European interest in the tournament has been poor in the previous four disciplines, but the mixed doubles can boast two couples from Europe. Unseeded pairing of Blair and White have been one of the stories of the week with their unlikely run in their first event taking them to the last 4 where they will play Jiaming and Tian, the 5th seeds from China. The other semi final sees the 7th seeded He and Ma take on the 6th seeded Danes, Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen who defeated the 3rd seeded Zhang and Zhao in China’s only defeat on quarter finals day.
Day 2 in Malaysia and the first major surprises in the tournament were in the mens singles, with the perennial top-10 ranked players losing out in their second round matches.
6th seeded Boonsak Ponsana was the first to suffer a surprise defeat to Alamyah Yunus in a three game encounter lasting 72 minutes and just over an hour later, current world champion and 4th seeded Chen Jin lost his own second round in a 73-minute matchup with world number 27, Simon Santoso who claimed his first victory over the 4th seed in his sixth match against the Chinese player.
The rest of the seeds remaining had little problem in reaching the last 8, with Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei on a crash course in Saturday’s semi final if the pair can defeated their opponents tomorrow. Lee Chong Wei takes on Tien Minh Nguyen with both players reaching the last 8 without the loss of a game to date whilst Lin Dan takes on his Chinese team mate Chen Long in his quarter final, with the questions finally being answered of how close Chen Long is to beating the Olympic champion after the withdrawal of Lin Dan in China last month allowed Chen Long a free pass into the last 4. There were also wins for Taufik Hidayat and Kenichi Tago today and their reward is a matchup against one another for a place in the last 4.
All 4 of the women’s singles quarter final have a Chinese interest, such is the strength and depth of the Chinese squad. Top seeded Wang Xin was pushed to three games of Mew Choo Wong in her second round match and will be tested again with the 5th seeded Juliane Schenk being her opponent in tomorrow’s match. 2nd seeded Wang Shixian and 3rd seeded Wang Yihan have had little problem in reaching the last 8, with neither player dropping a game on route to this stage whilst the 4th of the quarter finals is an all-Chinese matchup between Jiang Yanjiao and Liu Xin, both have survived a three game match to reach the last 8 but this will be their biggest test to date with Liu Xin being one of the breakthrough players of the last few months for China, reaching 23 in the world rankings.
The men’s doubles is losing it’s compliment of seeded players on a daily basis, today saw the end of the 4th seeded Hashimoto and Hirata’s title challenge as well as the 7th seeded Bach and Gunawan losing out to Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen of Denmark. Ko and Yoo begun their campaign with a straight forward two game victory and will take on Chai and Guo in their last 8 match up, whilst the two Indonesian seeds are also safely into the last 8. Chandra and Gunawan are through to face the Danish pair of Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen whilst the 6th seeded Ahsan and Septano are through to take on the Korean pair of Cho and Kwon in their quarter final match.
The women’s doubles is another event laden with Chinese interest, with all four quarter final matches having Chinese players in it. Du and Pan, seeded 5 will take on the top seeded Cheng and Chien in the first of the quarter finals, with both coming through three game matches in the second round to book their place in the last 8. 8th seeded Tian and Zhao take on the unseeded Singapore pair of Sari and Yao with both duos in fine form without the loss of a game to date. Ma and Cheng take on Ha and Kim of Korea, another match with both pairs coming into the match in excellent form. The most intriguing of the 4 matches is the match between Wang and Yu, seeded 6 against the 2nd second Nedelcheva and Russkikh with the most dominant performances this week coming from their two pairs who have progressed with the loss of 70 points in 8 games to this point.
With six of the eight seeds remaining, the possibility of a winner coming from one of those six is high especially with the remaining two unseeded duos playing each other in the quarter final. Thai pairing of Voravichitchaikul and Anugritayawon take on the Scottish/English partnership of Robert Blair and Gabby White after both came through their difficult second round matches without the loss of a game between the two matches. The highest remaining seeds are the Korean pair of Ko and Ha who take on the 7th seeded pairing of He and Ma, a rematch of their second round match in Hong Kong last month that the Koreans won convincingly in two games.
The first event of the 2011 SuperSeries has a field truly worthy of an elite event, with the Korean Open Premier Series event next week some of the top players are looking to play their way into some form ahead of the first Premier Series event whilst others are hoping to get their years off to the right start.
Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan both navigated their first round matches in two games to the delight of the fans and tournament organisers alike, with the two scheduled for a semi final encounter to renew their rivalry. Chen Jin had to battle against Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in a three-game, 80 minute encounter which the 4th seed eventually won but there was a Chinese casualty on day one as the 7th seeded Bao Chunlai lost out to Kenichi Tago in a tight two game match.
The Chinese stranglehold on the women’s singles has never been so clear with 5 of the 8 seeds coming from China. All five progressed without trouble in two games, with Liu Xin making the tally of Chinese players 6 in the last 16 of the event. Juliane Schenk is the biggest challenge to the Chinese juggernaut, the 5th seed progressing in two games also. Liu Xin was responsible for the only loss of a seed in the opening round, defeating Bae Youn Joo in three games.
Koo and Tan’s 2011 has started in the worst possible way, a three game defeat to unseeded Hong and Shen of China. Chen and Lin of Chinese Taipei were the other seed to fall in the first round, losing to qualifiers Sapura and Triyachart which has opened up the top half of the mens doubles draw. There were routine wins for 5th seeded Chai and Guo, 4th seeded Hashimoto and Hirata as well the 3rd seeded Chandra and Gunawan to ensure plenty of seeds remained in the draw.
Just 5 months into their partnership and Wang and Yu have shot almost into the top 10 in the womens doubles ranking and their seeds in a SuperSeries event. They were at their dominant best in a two game win over Ng and Ng of Malaysia.2nd seeded Nedelcheva and Russkikh were equally as impressive in their opening round match and the two pairs would meet in the quarter final on Friday with another win apiece. Top seeded Chien and Cheng are also safely into the last 16 with a routine two game win over Matsuo and Naito of Japan.
Top seeded Thai pair of Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam were defeated in their opening round match to the unseeded Japanese pair of Ikeda and Shiota in two tight games. Also losing out in the first round was the 8th seeded Ahmad and Natsir, who lost to Xu and Yu of China in a tame two game defeat. There was a win for newly nationalised Scottish player Robert Blair with partner Gabby White who now take on the Chinese pairing of Xu and Yu. The 2nd seeded Ko and Ha had little trouble in reaching the second round with a two game victory over Ong and Chong of Malaysia. He and Ma were also impressive in their two game opening round match, dropping just 13 points on route to the last 16.
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 three brought swift endings to many as only one of the 20 scheduled games lasted over the hour mark as many of the unseeded players found the quality of the seeded players too much to overcome in their quest to make the last 4. Robert Blair and Gabrielle White lasted just 28 minutes on court with the 3rd seeded Gunawan and Marissa of Indonesia in the opening mixed doubles quarter final of the day.
Laybourn and Rytter Juhl were equally impressive in their victory over their Indian opponents Valiyaveetil and Gutta, seeded 6. Top seeded Widianto and Natsir had to come from a game down against Bonde and Pedersen of Denmark, before booking their place in the last 4. Boonsak Ponsana was brutally harsh on Dicky Palyama in their singles encounter, winning 21-14, 21-5 in just 27 minutes to set up a semi final clash with Peter Gade, who came from a game behind against Simon Santoso to book his match against the Thai 4th seed.
The big shock of the day came in the final match of the day with Lee Chong Wei losing in three games to Sony Kuncoro, the top seeded Malaysia was far from dominant this week and his loss to the Indonesian 7th seeded was not as big a shock as it could have been with Lee Chong Wei clearly out of sorts this week. The other top seeded singles player, Saina Nehwal had little trouble defeating her unseeded Chinese opponent Li Xuerui, setting up another match against Chinese opposition in Lu Lan, the 4th seed.
The women’s doubles lost it top seeded pair still in the draw with 3rd seeded Nedelcheva and Russkikh crashing out to 5th seeded Kim and Lee of Korea. The men’s doubles lost its 3rd seeded pair in Boe and Mogensen as they lost out to Fang and Lee of Chinese Taipei.