Europe’s finest are in Manchester this week for the European Championships, with Denmark and hosts England being well represented in the seeds this week.
Top seed and All England semi finalist Peter Gade will go for European title number 5 and continue the Danish dominance in the men’s singles. He starts with a first round bye before taking on Scotland’s Kieran Merrilees in the second round. The Scottish 20-year old has never won on the European tour but had an outstanding run in late 2008 and has the ability to defeat any player in Europe on his day.
Denmark’s new star is the 2nd seed, Jan O Jorgensen. The 22-year old starts with a first round bye before taking on Petr Koukal, the Czech national champion and winner of the 2009 Czech International will be an excellent test for Jorgensen in the opening round of his campaign.
England’s main contenders come in the way of 4th seed and 8th seed Rajiv Ouseph and Carl Baxter. Ouseph begins against Austrian Michael Lahnsteiner whilst Carl Baxter takes on Israeli Misha Zilberman, both matches are in the second round.
Denmark will look to break a 10-year wait for a women’s singles title, with Camilla Martin being the last Dane to win the title in 2000. However it is Pi Hongyan of France that is top seed for this year’s European Championships. The French woman begins her campaign against Akvile Stapusaityte of Lithuania in her opening round. The second seed is Denmark’s big hope to end a 10 year drought, Tine Rasmussen begins her campaign against Andrea Zvorc of Croatia on Wednesday night, with her last event seeing her regain her All England title, can she regain the women’s singles for Denmark?
All four of the seeds come from the European powerhouses, Denmark and England. Top seeded Boe and Mogensen and 2nd seeded Paaske and Rasmussen have a first round bye. The surprising news from the draw is that 3rd seeded Clark and Robertson have to play a first round whilst 4th seeded Kristiansen and Henriksen have a bye into Round 2.
Current World Champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl are the top seeds in the mixed doubles and begin their campaign to claim their 2nd European Championship against Dimova and Makarski of Bulgaria. Polish 2nd seeds Mateusiak and Kostiuczyk hope to regain the form that won them the Hong Kong Super Series title in November last year, they start against Swiss pair Dumartheray and Jaquet. England’s big hope come in the 3rd seeds Robertson and Wallwork, they begin their campaign against Welsh duo Morgan and Sheppard.
The fields have been shortened to just 8, but countless seeds have fallen before the weekend’s play has even begun. 5 seeds have fallen in the men’s singles and the women’s singles, as well as the top seeds in the mixed.
One seed that is safely through to the last 8 is top seeded Joachim Persson, who defeated Magnus Sahlberg in Round 1 and Alex Pang of Canada in Round 2, both in two games to book his place against Petr Koukal, the 7th seed from the Czech Republic. Koukal is through to the last 8 without the loss of a game either.
The next quarterfinal is an all-Spanish matchup, as Pablo Abian overcame 4th seed Peter Mikkelsen, who pulled out in the 3rd game with injury. Indra Bagus Ade Chandra of Spain is also through; defeating 6th seeded Wong Wing Ki 21-19, 23-21 to book his place in tomorrow’s quarterfinal.
Singapore’s Robin Gonansa is through to the last 8, after Stephan Wojcikiewicz pulled out before the match after the Canadian beat 5th seed Dmytro Zavadsky in the opening round. Gonansa will play Hiroyuki Saeki of Japan, who defeated the 3rd seeded Christian Lind Thomsen 22-20, 21-17 to book his place in the last 8. Another Japanese player, Shuhei Hayasaki defeated Vladimir Malkov, the 8th seed from Russian to set up a quarterfinal match against Poland’s 2nd seed Przemyslaw Wacha.
Beiwin Zhang, the top seed from Singapore is through to the last 8 with two convincing victories to this stage, she will play Wang Lin Lang of Indonesia in the last 8 after the Indonesian defeated 7th seed Tatjana Bibik of Russia 23-21, 21-8 to progress.
Unseeded Japanese player, Kana Ito defeated 3rd seeded Rachel Van Cutsen to book her place in tomorrow’s quarterfinal against Austria’s Simone Prutsch, she defeated Rachel Howard who beat the 8th seed Elena Prus in the opening round. Olga Golovanova is through to the last 8 after a 21-17, 21-17 victory over Maja Tvrdy, the 6th seed from Slovenia. She will play the 4th seed Chan Tsz Ka of Hong Kong for a place in the semi final.
Anastasia Prokopenko is the 5th unseeded player in the last 8, after beating Larisa Griga 21-11, 21-14 in the second round. She will play the 2nd seed Judith Meulendijks in the quarters, with the Dutch seed coming through both her matches easily in 2 games.
In an event that promised so much for the Polish crowd, they have seen their chances in this event shortened to just one pair. Top seeded Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Kostiuczyk crashed out in the opening match to Hong Kong suo Wong and Chau in three games. Polish qualifiers Ociepa and Rudolf crashed out in the second round to Pang and Li of Canada.
The 4th seeds, Szkudiarczyk and Wotjtkowsa are Poland’s last hope in the competition; they will play Singapore pairing of Triyachart and Yao for a place in the last 4. Another Polish couple Moren and Pocztowiak crashed out in round 2 to Neo and Chrisnanta of Singapore.
The only other seed left in the draw is the 2nd seeds, Atrashchenkov and Prus of Ukraine, who came through a tight 3 game match with Wilson-Smith and Warfe of New Zealand 13-21, 21-13, 21-19.
This week’s event in Poland is one of the last events before the European Championships in Manchester next month and has attracted some of the big names in European badminton to play themselves into form ahead of next month’s European Championships.
The top seed is Joachim Persson who is coming off a poor 2-week run in the Super Series, losing out to Kenichi Tago in Round 2 in the All England and another second round defeat to Chen Jin in Switzerland last week. His campaign this week begins against the Swede Magnus Sahlberg before a potential 2nd round encounter with Ville Lang of Finland.
Christian Lind Thomsen (Seeded 3) and Peter Mikkelsen (Seeded 4) lead a strong Danish squad looking for success in the men’s singles draw. Przemyslaw Wacha is the local hope in the competition, seeded 2 but there is also threats from the Ukranian Dmtyro Zavadsky, seeded 5 and Petr Koukal of the Czech Republic, seeded 7. Vladimir Malkov of Russia is another threat, seeded 8.
Singapore’s top seed Zhang Beiwen starts her campaign against rising Belgian starlet Lianne Tan, hoping to past her semi final defeat to Gu Juan in last week’s event behind her. The other potential winners of the event coming from the Netherlands and Ukraine, with Judith Meulendijks and Rachel Van Cutsen leading the Dutch charge. Larisa Griga and Elena Prus are the big Ukrainan hopes.
Poland’s best chance of success lie with Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Kostiuczyk, however with their withdrawal at the semi final stage last week in Switzerland, questions will be asked if they are 100% fit to attempt to win on their home soil. Should they fail to deliver, two other Polish pairings are seeded. 3rd seeded Cwalina and Kurdieska and 4th seeded Szkudiarczyk and Motjkowska.
Finals Day promised to be a classic, with Peter Gade looking to end his 10-month Super Series drought and Wang Yihan looking to improve on an already remarkable 2009. The 3rd seeded was first on court in the Women’s Singles final against 6th seeded Jiang Yanjiao in an all-Chinese final.
Both games began as tight affairs, but Wang Yihan proved to be too strong for his Chinese compatriot, wining 21-13, 21-15. Winning her 4th Super Series title of the year. For others, it was their first Super Series title. Unseeded Polish pair Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Kosyiuczyk shocked the 3rd seeded Widianto and Natsir to take the mixed doubles title in two games, 22-20, 21-16.
3rd game on court was the Men’s Singles final, Peter Gade against Lee Chong Wei. Each player shared the opening two games; with both dominating in the game that each won 21-13. The third game started as a close encounter until Lee Chong Wei won 8 of 10 points in the middle of the third set and Peter Gade never recovered, with Lee Chong Wei taking the third game 21-16.
Ma and Wang took the Women’s Doubles title, defeating Du and Yu and another all Chinese final. The 4th seeds winning 16-21, 21-19, 21-12 against the 3rd seeded opponents. For another 3rd seeded pair, it was a more successful finals day as Lee and Jung took the Men’s Doubles final, defeating Paaske and Rasmussen 13-21, 21-15, 21-8.
Hong Kong Super Series 2009 Finals Results