The best eight players and pairs are in Liuzhou this week for the final event of the 2011 Superseries season, with plenty of Chinese interest on home soil.
Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei Win Openers
The favourites from the two groups in the men’s singles both won their opening matches, but both needed three games to ensure a winning start this week. Lin Dan defeated Chen Long in a 62-minute thriller to open up Group B whilst Lee Chong Wei needed three games to defeat Sho Sasaki and ensure a win on the opening round of matches. Peter Gade tops Group A after an impressive 21-13, 21-9 victory over Simon Santoso and there was more disappointed for the Indonesians as Taufik Hidayat was defeated by Japan’s Kenichi Tago in the other Group B match, with Tago taking the deciding game 21-7 to share the top spot in the group with Lin Dan.
Wang Yihan Beaten Sung Ji Hyun
The big surprise in the women’s singles came in the Group A opener as world number 1 Wang Yihan lost to Sung Ji Hyun of Korea in a 72-minute match, after the Chinese number 1 took the opening game 21-13 but capitulated and lost the next two games to make her chances of making the semi finals increasingly difficult. Tine Baun tops the group after an impressive one-sided victory over Juliane Schenk, winning 21-12, 21-11 in just 27 minutes. Xin Wang needed just 26 minutes to defeat Sayaka Sato of Japan to top Group B whilst Saina Nehwal defeated Bae Youn Joo to start her campaign on a positive note.
Cai and Fu Defeated
The main news from the men’s doubles group was Cai and Fu’s defeat to Chai and Guo in their Group A opener, Ko and Yoo also suffered an opening game defeat, making their matchup on Friday potentially for the second position in the group. Lee and Jung survived their own scare against Koo and Tan but eventually won in three games to keep finishing top of their group a possibility. Wang and Yu top Group A in the women’s doubles with a 21-9, 21-11 victory over Poon and Tse whilst Tian and Zhao top Group B after a three game victory over Pedersen and Rytter Juhl in 58 minutes. Zhao and Zhang defeated their Chinese team-mates Xu and Ma in their opening match of the mixed doubles in Group A, with the world number 1 pairing winning the match in three games, needing 45 minutes to ensure a top two place in the group. Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen top Group B with a two game victory over Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand in a 21-15, 21-17 victory.
It was a mixed day for the Koreans, the Indians, the Danes and the Japanese but for the Chinese it was almost a perfect day in Hong Kong, with just two pairs losing on a day of success for the Chinese.
Gade Crashes Out
Chen Jin and Peter Gade met for the 12th time today, with Gade winning just 3 of their previous 11 matchups. Today did not add another win to that tally as the 2010 world champion defeated Gade in two games to book his place in the last 4 and inflict his 9th defeat upon the Dane. His opponent in the semi final will be Chen Long, with a guaranteed Chinese involvement in Sunday’s final.
Lee Chong Wei defeated Ajay Jayaram to book his place in the last 4, whilst Lin Dan defeated Shon Wan Ho in his quarter final to set up their dream semi final match. Question marks will loom over the match as to whether the world number 1 will take on the current world champion until the pair step onto court, with the Chinese squad looking to keep this matchup from taking place in an Olympic qualifying year.
Baun Breaks Up Chinese Monopoly
With the top three Chinese seeds all making into the last 4, only Tine Baun adds any sort of variety to what looks like a Chinese certainty in the women’s singles. Baun’s victory over Saina Nehwal was an unexpected one with the Dane’s form being up and down in the past month but it is a welcome surprise to the Danish squad after Gade’s exit from the men’s singles. Baun takes on the 2nd seeded Wang Shixian whilst the other semi final is an all-Chinese affair between Wang Yihan and Wang Xin, with the higher seeded Wang Yihan taking a 5-1 head to head lead into their 7th meeting.
Chinese Dominant In Doubles
Chinese can boast two pairs in the semi finals of each of the three doubles events. Cai and Fu as well the pairing of Zhang and Jiaming, predominantly known for their mixed doubles results are also through to the last 4 of the men’s doubles. The two Chinese pairs take on one another in the first of the semi finals whilst the other semi final is an all-Korean affair with Ko and Yoo taking on Lee and Jung for a place in Sunday’s final.
Wang and Yu continue their march to the final with another two game victory over the local pairing of Poon and Tse whilst their perennial opponents in the final also progressed into the last 4 as Tian and Zhao defeating Jung and Kim of Korea to reach the last 4. Zhao Yunlei is also into the last 4 of the mixed doubles with Zhang Nan as of both partners are set to play two semi finals matches tomorrow, Zhang and Zhao take on the Chinese Taipei pairing of Chen and Cheng in the first of tomorrow’s semi finals whilst Xu and Ma take on their nemesis of the past few weeks in Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen in the second of tomorrow’s mixed doubles semi finals.
When the draw was announced last week, the possibility of Lee Chong Wei against Viktor Axelsen match in the second round was a mouthwatering prospect. With both players securing their place in the second round, the world number 1 takes on the future of Danish badminton for the first time tomorrow.
Gade and Chen Long Impress
The seeds made hard work of their opening round matches, with 6th seeded Sho Sasaki being the first of the seeds to fall at the hands of Ajay Jayaram of India in three games. Lee Chong Wei started with a two game victory over Pablo Abian of Spain whilst Viktor Axelsen defeated Hsu Jen Hao of Chinese Taipei to set up his second round match with the Malaysian. Lin Dan needed three games to beat Kashyup Parupalli of India and with a potential semi final meeting with Lee Chong Wei on the cards, the Chinese player will need to find form ahead of that match and next week’s Super Series Premier in China.
The top two seeds in the bottom half of the draw received little resistance as they powered into the second round. 2nd seeded Chen Long defeating Hsueh Hsuan Yi in two games whilst Peter Gade defeated the world championship quarter finalist Kevin Coridon 21-10, 21-5 in just 24 minutes. Gade sets up a second round match against his 2010 world championship quarter finals opponent in Kazushi Yamada, who defeated Joachim Persson to end any chance of an all-Danish match in the second round.
European hopes in the women’s singles are usually low with the strength and depth of the Chinese squad, but Juliane Schenk’s record against the Chinese but the German’s run this week ends at the first hurdle with a loss to Ai Goto of Japan in 3 games. The three Chinese seeds all progressed safely into the last 16 and are also joined by 3 Japanese players but there was a surprise defeat for Liu Xin at the hands of Yao Jie to ensure some European involvement in the second round.
There was also wins for Tine Baun and Carolina Marin, with the Spaniard set to take on the 3rd seeded Wang Xin in one of the toughest matches of her young career to date whilst Yao Jie’s reward for her opening round victory is a second round match against the 4th seeded Saina Nehwal.
Seeds Crash Out in Doubles
There was little trouble for Cai and Fu but for Lee and Jung it was different story, with the 2nd seeds needing a third game and almost a hour on court to defeat Hong and Shen of China in their opening round match. Only one seed fell in the men’s doubles, the 6th seeded Chai and Guo losing out to the American pairing of Bach and Gunawan in a relatively one-sided match.
The all-conquering Wang and Yu started their campaign in impressive fashion in their two game victory over Germany’s Marinello and Michels to set up a second round clash against Chin and Wong of Malaysia. Their main rivals this week as always are the other Chinese pairing of Tian and Zhao, who take on their team-mates Cheng and Pan in the second round. The other six seeds in the draw all progressed into the last 16, with the 5th seeded Chien and Cheng defeating the Macau pairing of Iao and Mak 21-4, 21-5 to reach the second round.
It wasn’t a good day for the seeds in the mixed doubles, with the three lowest seeded pairs all crashing out. 6th seeded Adcock and Bankier lost out to the Chinese pairing of He and Yixin in two games, whilst Mateusiak and Zieba were defeated by Malaysians Chan and Goh and the 8th seeded Ikeda and Shiota also lost out to a Chinese pairing, Hong and Pan in just two games. There was straight forward victories for the top two Chinese seeds as well as the on form Danish pair of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen. Robertson and Wallwork claimed their opening game 30-29 before eventually progressing in three games to set up a second round match against Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei.
Peter Gade’s final run at the French Open title came undone at the second round stage with a surprise defeat to Hu Yun, but he wasn’t the only seed to crash out today.
Gade says farewell to Stade De Coubertin
Gade was frank in his report of his own play after his second round loss to Hu Yun, claiming that his conditioning wasn’t correct going into the week but didn’t expect to lose so early in the week. He wasn’t the only seed to lose in the second round, Du Pengyu also crashed out to Kenichi Tago of Japan but there is still a massive Chinese attendance in the quarter final stage, with two all-Chinese quarter finals taking place tomorrow.
Lee Chong Wei had little trouble defeating Brice Leverdez to end any hopes of a French victory this week, whilst the Malaysian takes on Shon Wan Ho of Korea in the last 8 after his victory over Tien Minh Nguyen in the second round. Lin Dan and Chen Jin both won in two games to set up their quarter final matchup, with question marks looming over whether the match will actually take place.
3 seeds remain in women’s singles
Sain Nehwal was the latest big name seed to crash out this week as the unseeded Li Xuerui beat the 4th seeded Indian in two tight games to ensure three Chinese players in the last 8. Wang Yihan was impressive in her victory over Gu Juan whilst 3rd seeded Wang Xin was pushed in two tight games before defeating Petya Nedelcheva to set up her quarter final matchup against the 6th seeded Juliane Schenk in the last 8.
Seeds crash out in doubles
Whilst the best two pairs in the men’s singles progressed in efficient style, there were some seeds that didn’t fare as well in the second round. 5th seeded Koo and Tan lost to the Danish pair of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen whilst the 7th seeded Kido and Setiawan lost to the English pairing of Ellis and Adcock whilst the 3rd seeded pair of Boe and Mogensen were the fortunate pair after Kim and Shin pulled out of the event before their second round encounter.
Wins 46 and 38 respectively for the top two pairs in the women’s doubles as Wang and Yu defeated Marinello and Michels of Germany to reach the quarter finals and a match against Marissa and Melati. Tian and Zhao were given a walkover against their Chinese team-mates Pan and Cheng and take on the 7th seeded Japanese pairing of Matsuo and Naito, who defeated the Russian pairing of Vislova and Sorokina to reach the quarter finals. Pedersen and Rytter Juhl had to retire in the second game of their second round match, allowing the 4th seeded Maeda and Suetsuna to advance into the last 8.
Zhang and Zhao were taken to three games by the Korean qualifiers Ko and Eom before eventually progressing to take on Yoo and Jang in the quarter finals tomorrow. The second seeded Ma and Jin progressed into two games against the world silver medalists Adcock and Bankier and take on the Indonesian pair of Widianto and Marissa in the last 8. Last week’s winners Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen progressed into the last 8 with a victory over Jongjit and Amitapal and will take on the Korean pair of Lee and Ha who beat the 5th seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in three games to reach the quarter finals.
The second consecutive week of Super Series action puts the players fitness to the ultimate test as well as allowing the form players from last weeks Denmark Open a chance to continue to maintain their run of good results.
Taufik’s final chance to perform
This is a massive week for Taufik Hidayat, defending his title as well as the ranking points that goes with it. His defeat to Viktor Axelsen in the second round only compounded the pressure to perform this week and his campaign starts with one of the toughest draws imaginable against Wang Zhengming of China. A first round defeat almost guarantees his fall out of the seedings for the remaining Super Series events for the reminder of 2011.
Lee Chong Wei will went to put the final in Odense on Sunday behind him as he takes on Marc Zwiebler of Germany in a potentially tricky opening round match this week. Lin Dan’s opener against Lee Hyun Il is another tricky match for the seeded players this week. Chen Long starts this week as a real favourite to make it two weeks in a row with his team-mate Lin Dan out of form and his double victory over Lee Chong Wei recently, he starts with a match against Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand. Peter Gade is another seed with a tough test in his opening round, taking on last week’s semi finalist Sho Sasaki.
Chinese battle for #1
Wang Xin’s victory over Wang Yihan has reopened the question over who is China’s number 1 player, with 6 players capable of winning their event from within the Chinese squad alone. Wang Yihan starts with an opening round walkover with Susan Egelstaff withdrawing with injury whilst 2nd seeded Wang Shixian takes on Sung Ji Hyun of Korea before a potential second round match against world championship silver medalist Cheng Shao Chieh.
Wang Xin, Jiang Yanjiao, Liu Xin and Li Xuerui are the other four Chinese players capable of winning this week. The three non-Chinese seeds will hope for better weeks than last week in Odense where they all crashed out early. 4th seeded Saina Nehwal starts with a tough match against Yao Jie and then a potential second round match against Li Xuerui. Juliane Schenk starts her campaign against Canadian qualifier Michelle Li before the winner takes on another qualifier in the second round. 8th seeded Tine Baun will hope that without the pressure of a home crowd that it will be a more successful week in Paris, she starts this week with a match against Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei
Chinese take top seeds in doubles
The three top seeds in the doubles are the current world champions, but only one pair come into this week with a victory in Odense. Cai and Fu will hope to go one better than their defeat in the final against Lee and Jung, with both pairs seeded to meet in the final once against this week. Cai and Fu start against Cho and Kwon of Korea whilst Lee and Jung start against the Malaysian pair of Gan and Tan. Boe and Mogensen will hope to continue their form from last week into this week as they start their campaign in Paris with a tough opener against Chandra and Gunawan of Indonesia.
Wang and Yu will go into this event as clear favourites once again in the women’s doubles and they look to claim another title in a stunning year for the world number 1 pairing. They start this week against the Malaysian pair of Chin and Wong whilst their main rivals this week will be their team mates Tian and Zhao, the only pair in the draw to inflict a defeat upon Wang and Yu. the 2nd seeds start with a match against the Japanese pairing of Matsutomo and Takahashi with a potential meeting against Cheng and Pan in the second round.
Zhang and Zhao will want to go one better than last week when they lost to Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen in Odense at the semi final stage, they start this week against Lee and Chien of Chinese Taipei. The 2nd seeded pair of Ma and Xu have similar aspirations after they lost to the Danish pair in the final, they take on the dangerous Japanese pair of Hashimoto and Fujii with a potential second round match against world silver medalists Adcock and Bankier waiting should they beat their first round qualifiers. Last week’s winners start against the Singapore pairing of Triyachart and Yao whilst their team mates Laybourn and Rytter Juhl start against Widianto and Marissa in the pick on the opening round matches in Paris on Wednesday.
The landscape of the men’s singles has potentially changed overnight with the 17-year old Viktor Axelsen defeating the 5th seeded Taufik Hidayat that almost ensures his decline out of the world’s top 10 and rewards the Danish fans as well as the badminton world with a stunning quarter final match between Viktor Axelsen against Peter Gade, in Denmark.
Taufik and Lin Dan Out
The headlines will be stolen by Viktor Axelsen, who defeated the 5th seeded Hidayat in a pulsating three game match that the 17-year dominated in the last two games to reach his first Denmark Open quarter final and a dream matchup against Peter Gade. The duo practiced together earlier this week but few expected the two to meet in the last 8. Gade defeated Germany’s Marc Zwiebler in two games in the evening session to book his place in the quarter finals.
The bottom half of the draw has been decimated with all but one seed remaining. Wong Wing Ki caused his own stunning upset with his three game victory over the world champion Lin Dan and there was also disppointment for Du Pengyu as he lost out to Jan O Jorgensen in three games, taking the tally of Danes in the quarter final to 3.
Baun and Schenk Crash Out
European interest in the women’s singles has ended before the weekend, much to the disappointment of the home fans as Tine Baun lost in a tame two game defeat to Inthanon Ratchanok. Juliane Schenk was beaten bu Sung Ji Hyun in two games also as the Chinese threat to claim the title looms large with 5 players in the last 8.
Saina Nehwal was the only other main rival capable of causing an upset but she also crashed out early on day 2, losing to Tai Tzu Ying in two games also. The Chinese juggernaut continues on with straight forward wins for Wang Xin and Wang Shixian but top seeded Wang Yihan fought back from a game down to reach the last 8 where she will face compatriot Jiang Yanjiao.
Danish Hope In Doubles
Denmark still has interest in the three doubles events to ease the disappointment of an absence of players in the women’s singles. 3rd seeded Boe and Mogensen have regained some form and have been emphatic in their route to the last 8 with a pair of excellent wins to set up a quarter final against Cho and Kwon of Korea, who defeated Koo and Tan earlier in the week. The top two seeds in the men’s doubles have both reached the quarter finals, with Lee and Jung being taken to three games by the Danish pairing of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen.
Kruse and Roepke fly the flag for Denmark in the women’s doubles alone after Pedersen and Rytter Juhl’s loss to their team-mates opponents in the quarter final, Japanese pair Misaki and Takahashi. The two Chinese pairs look to be a class apart this week, with both being highly impressive in the matches this week and never looking like losing a game to this point.
A double helping in the mixed doubles will also please the hometown fans, with Laybourn and Rytter Juhl turning back the clock to their 2009 world championship success to reach the last 8 this week. They take on one half of the 2010 world champions in Ma Jin, partnered by Xu Chen who defeated Kolding and Houmann in the second round today. Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen have lived up to their billing as the number 3 seeds with two excellent wins to date, their opponents in the quarter final will be the Indian pair of Valiyaveetil and Gutta who defeated the world silver medalists Adcock and Bankier in their second round game.
The double withdrawal of Liu Xin and Lin Dan marred a day of excellent matches as the Chinese have their sights set on London 2012 and getting as many players as possible to qualify for the Olympics.
Chen Long received a walkover over Lin Dan and will face Lee Chong Wei who defeated Peter Gade in two games whilst in the women’s singles, Liu Xin’s withdrawal means that Wang Yihan will play Juliane Schenk, who defeated Saina Nehwal in convincing fashion to reach the final.
Cai and Fu survived a real test against Koo and Tan to reach the men’s doubles final where they will take on the 4th seeded Indonesian pair of Ahsan and Septano who beat their team-mates Kido and Setiawan in another tight three game match. China are represented in the women’s doubles too by Bao and Zhong who defeated their three Japanese seed of the week , this time it was the 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa who were defeated in three games in a 91 minute match. Their opponents in the final will be the 5th seeded Chien and Cheng of Chinese Taipei who ended the run of the unseeded Hong Kong pairing of Poon and Tse in two games.
Cheng Wen Hsing is also into the final of the mixed doubles with a two game victory over the top seed and world champions Zhang and Zhao with her partner Chen Hung Ling and will take on Danish pair of Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen who defeated Fuchs and Michels in an all-European semi final in a tight three game match to reach the final.
Wang Shixian suffered a second defeat to Juliane Schenk in the matter of months as the world #2 continues her erratic form of late, after a convincing victory last week against Schenk, the German defeated her Chinese opponent in two games today.
The top four seeds all safely progressed into the semi finals in the men’s singles, setting up two excellent matches. The all-Chinese semi final between Lin Dan and Chen Long has been a one sided one in their previous two matchup but both of those were over a year ago and won by Lin Dan. The other semi final sees Lee Chong Wei against Peter Gade play for the 15th time, with the Malaysian winning 13 of the 14 encounters previously. The world number 1 was taken to three games today against Kenichi Tago whilst Gade has failed to drop any matches to date. The Dane will look to any advantage to claim his second victory over Lee Chong Wei.
The up and down form of Wang Shixian took another dip today in her two game defeat to Juliane Schenk, edging their overall head to head ever closer with the Chinese player holding a mere 3-2 advantage now. Saina Newhal takes on Schenk in the semi final after a straight forward two game victory over Gu Juan. The other semi final is an all-Chinese clash with top seeded Wang Yihan taking on the 21-year old Liu Xin, touted to be one of the future stars of the Chinese game.
The men’s doubles has four of the top six seeds remaining, with Cai and Fu taking on Koo and Tan in the first semi final in their 12th encounter with the Chinese pair winning seven of the previous twelve. The other semi final is an all-Indonesian affair, with Ahsan and Septano taking on Kido and Setiawan, with the 6th seeded pair defeating the Korean pair of Lee and Ko in the quarter finals to reach this point in the tournament.
The women’s doubles semi finals are a stark contrast to previous events, with one Chinese pair as well as two unseeded pairs remaining at this stage. The 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa are the highest seeds left in the draw and take on Chinese’s sole pair in the semi finals in Yixin and Zhong, who defeated the 6th seeded Naito and Matsuo in three games to reach the semi finals. Chen and Chien are the second seeds left in the draw, with the 5th seeds taking on Poon and Tse of Hong Kong who defeated the Danish pair of Pedersen and Rytter Juhl to reach the other semi final.
The highly anticipated match between Zhang and Zhao against Xu and Ma was a disappointment, but the match was completed after two abrupt endings with the top seeds progressing in two games. They will take on Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei in the semi final after their victory over Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in their quarter final match. An all-European semi final awaits for the first time in recent memory in the Super Series with Denmark’s Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen taking on the German pairing of Fuchs and Michels for a place in Sunday’s final.
The emerging stories from this week is the unlikely run of Kevin Cordon of Guatemala and Britain’s last hope at success with Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier in the mixed doubles.
The day began with Lee Chong Wei sending a message to the rest of the field with his impressive 21-10, 21-5 victory over the 9th seeded Park Sung Hwan. His opponent in the quarter finals has been making his own headlines with his unlikely run to the last 8, Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon defeated Pablo Abian of Spain in a tight three-game 71 minute match that the Guatemalan won to book his place in the quarter final against Lee Chong Wei. Lin Dan had little problem against Lee Hyun Il but will not face his Chinese team-mate in the last 8, instead he will play Sho Sasaki who defeated Lin Dan in the Indonesian Premier event just 6 weeks ago. Denmark joins China in have two players in the last 8, with Chen Jin taking on Hans-Kristian Vittinghus whilst the 3rd seeded Peter Gade had to spend 75 minutes on court to defeat Simon Santoso in three games to set up the last quarter final against Tien Minh Nguyen, who defeated Boonsak Ponsana in two games.
Wang Shixian progressed safely into the last 8 and will take on the 7th seeded Cheng Shao Chieh who ended the run of Spain’s Carolina Marin in the 3rd round in two tight games. The first Chinese casualty came today, with the 4th seeded Jiang Yanjiao losing to the on-form 9th seeded Juliane Schenk and the German will play Tine Baun in the last 8 to ensure a European medal in the women’s singles. Wang Yihan needed three games to progress over Inthanon Ratchanok and takes on France’s Pi Hongyan who defeated the 16th seeded Sayaka Sato to reach the last 8. Saina Nehwal progressed in just 19 minutes after the retirement of Yip Pui Yin and will take on Wang Xin in the quarter final after the Chinese 3rd defeated Petya Nedelcheva in three games, after the Bulgaria took the opening game 21-16.
Cai and Fu have needed three games in both matches to start to reach the last 8 and a match against the 16th seeded Danish pair of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen, who defeated the 8th seeded Chandra and Gunawan in three games. Lee and Jung have been ruthless this week, defeating the 14th seeded Endo and Hayakawa 21-14, 21-5 and will take on the Chinese pair of Hong and Shen who defeated the 10th seeded Fang and Lee of Chinese Taipei. One of the matches of tomorrow will be the quarter final match of Ko and Yoo against Koo and Tan, with both the 4th and 5th seeds winning their third round matches in two games. Boe and Mogensen are the second Danish pair in the last 6 and will take on the 7th seeded Ahsan and Septano with both pairings winning in two games.
Wang and Yu are also safely into the last 8 with another two game victory and will take on the 7th seeded Matsuo and Naito of Japan. The second of three Japanese pairs in the last 8 are the 3rd seeded Maeda and Suetsuna who take on Indonesia’s Polii and Jauhari, who defeated the 16th seeded Yao and Sari of Singapore in two games. The second Chinese pair of Zhao and Tian take on Japan’s third pair in the draw in Fujii and Kakiiwa whilst the second Indonesian pair of Marissa and Melati take on the Indian pair of Gutta and Ponnappa who defeated their second seeded pair this week in three tight games.
China’s fourth top seed is also safely into the last 8 with a two game victory over Fuchs and Michels of Germany, seeded 13 this week. They will face the 7th seeded Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei who defeated the 2009 champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl of Denmark in three tight games to reach the quarter finals. The unseeded Singapore pairing of Triyachart and Yao take on the 6th seeded Xu and Ma of China in the second quarter final in the top half of draw whilst the 4th seeded Jiaming and Tian take on the British pairing of Adcock and Bankier, who defeated their second seed of the week in the 15th seeded Shiota and Ikeda of Japan. The second seeded Ahmad and Natsir take on the 5th seeded Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen in the last of the quarter final matches, with both players coming through in two games to reach the last 8.
The Chinese domination in recent years of this event would make picking a winner a straight fight between Wang Xin, Wang Yihan, Wang Shixian and Jiang Yanjiao. If the World Championships have taught us anything in recent years, it’s to expect the unexpected.
There is European resistance this year, with Tine Baun and Juliane Schenk hoping to defeat the Chinese seeds in the top half whilst in the bottom half of the draw, Saina Nehwal carries the hope of an entire nation once more into a major competition.
Seeded – 1
2010 Result – Semi Finals
2nd Round Opponent – Zechiri/Rochdy
Likely Threats – Jiang Yanjiao (SF)
Her rise from unknown to world #1 in just over 2 and a half years has been not short of breathtaking but coming into this championships, her form is far from exceptional with losses to Lu Lan, Cheng Shao Chieh and most notably Tine Baun in her three previous events, her All-England triumph on her previous visit to British soil is almost a distant memory.
In the frightening competitiveness of the Chinese players, some would go as far as to say she’s not the best player in China, let alone in the world. The 21-year old has poor records against her Chinese teammates and her likely semi final opponent, Jiang Yanjiao has won 4 of the 6 meetings to date.
Seeded – 2
2010 Result – Round 2
2nd Round Opponent – Gu/Posana
Likely Threats – Wang Xin (SF)
Wang Yihan was heralded as the future of the Chinese game just 2 years ago and whilst 2010 was a stumbling block in that claim, her 2011 campaign has reasserted her at the top of the women’s singles game.
She enters the tournament as Asian Games champion and the winner of the most recent Super Series Premier event in Indonesia. The 23-year old is the biggest threat to Wang Shixian, as both look to claim their first world title.
Seeded – 3
2010 Result – Runner-Up
2nd Round Opponent – Gavnholt/Prokopenko
Likely Threats – Saina Nehwal (QF) Wang Yihan (SF)
Wang Xin comes into the event as the elder stateswoman of the Chinese squad at just 25 but is considered the third best singles player in her country. 9 months ago she was world #1 but the emergence of Wang Shixian and return to form of Wang Yihan makes Wang Xin’s chances reaching the final for the second year final remote.
Her route to the last 8 is favourable, before her likely matchup against Saina Nehwal who defeated her in the Sudirman Cup in May. The 21-15, 21-11 victory is a distinct warning to Wang Xin that she must be at her best to reach the later stages of this event.
Seeded – 4
2010 Result – DNP
2nd Round Opponent – Fu/Griga
Likely Threats – Tine Baun (QF) Wang Shixian (SF)
Jiang Yanjiao has been the world scene since 2006 but this is her first world championship at the age of 24. She comes into the tournament at the expense of Lin Xiu and Li Xuerui, but her rise to this point has been staggering. She was outside the top 80 in October of last year, but is now the world #4.
Her Asian Games victory over Liu Xin was one of the main reasons she has reached this world championships, she is undoubtedly the outside bet from the four Chinese players but her 4-2 head to head against the top seeded Wang Shixian is the stand out statistic, she has earned her place at the world championships.
Seeded – 5
2010 Result – Semi Final
2nd Round Opponent – Chan/Cicognini
Likely Threats – Jiang Yanjiao (QF) Wang Shixian (SF)
It is almost the yearly tradition that Tine Baun comes into this event with the hopes of Europe on her shoulders to steal the women’s singles title away from China. Not since Camilla Martin in 1999 has a non-Chinese player won the world title.
Baun’s form coming into the event couldn’t be poorer, a stunning loss in the US Open 2 weeks ago to world #43 Kaori Imabeppu has question marks over her chances of winning the title this year and breaking the Chinese stranglehold on this event.
Seeded – 6
2010 – Quarter Final
2nd Round Opponent – Magee/Firdasari
Likely Threats – Wang Xin (QF) Wang Yihan (SF)
India holds it’s breath that the Commonwealth Games champion can claim the world title. Her opening few rounds are favourable before the inevitable match against Wang Xin in the last 8.
Nehwal’s preparations ahead of this event are almost exactly the same as the build up to her Commonwealth Games triumph, with 6 weeks out from competitive play, she chose not to play in the US or Canada feeling that her defeat in the final of the Indonesian Open had her playing to the top of her ability.
Seeded – 15
2010 Result – Quarter Final
1st Round Opponent – Yao/Marin
Likely Threats – Cheng Shao Chieh (Last 16) Wang Shixian (QF)
Hirose ended the chances of Wang Yihan in 2010 in the 3rd round last year and had a chance to potentially take out the top seed in 2011 also in the quarter final. Her recent form has been poor but her run like Kazushi Yamada’s in the men’s singles makes her a dangerous opponent this year.
2010 Result – DNP
1st Round Opponent – Yao Jie (Netherlands)
Likely Threats – Eriko Hirose (Last 32) Cheng Shao Chieh (Last 16)
The 18-year old Spaniard is one of the future stars of the European game, already winning her national championship and gets the opportunity that many hoped that Viktor Axelsen would get in the men’s singles, the chance to take on the current crop of stars and test her game at the very highest level. She will be one to watch this week and in the future, even if her run at the title ends in Round 1.
2010 Result – Quarter Final
1st Round Opponent – Sarah Walker (England)
Likely Threats – Bae Youn Joo (Last 32) Wang Yihan (QF)
Forgotten about? Probably. Taken seriously? Absolutely. Her steady decline from a top 10 player to world #23 means she is far from the force she was 12 months ago in her run to the last 8 but her start against the English wild card Sarah Walker will ease her into the event before taking on Bae Youn Joo, who have both won a match in their 2 encounters.
Round 1 takes place on Monday, August 8 with the seeded players playing their first matches in Round 2 on Tuesday, August 9.
Women’s Singles Draw: