The group stages have provided countless intriguing matches, from the opening session of play all the way to the final session of the group phase.
All Start Times Are Local Times
Saturday, July 28 – 8.30am
Lee / Ha (Korea) – Laybourn / Rytter Juhl (Denmark)
The toughest mixed doubles group of the four opens up play inside Wembley Arena, with the world number 8 and 9 pairs clashing to take one step closer to the quarter finals. They sole meeting came at the German GP in April and resulted in a one-sided victory for the Danes which they will hope for this weekend. There is also the question of endurance for Lee Yong Dae, as he will be back on court that night in the men’s doubles with Chung Jae Sung over 12 hours after playing his opening mixed doubles match. Saturday will be a long day for Lee Yong Dae.
Sunday, July 29 – 8.30am
Zhang / Zhao (China, Seeded 1) – Adcock / Bankier (Great Britain)
Wembley Arena has brought them together once more, with the playing field evened ever so slightly from little under a year ago. The Brits have claimed two famous victories since their defeat at the World Championships against this Chinese pair, both coming at Super Series Premier events. Zhang and Zhao claimed their most recent match in Indonesia last month, but the British pair have something they didn’t have a year ago, belief that they could beat the Chinese. There was hope last year that their run the final would continue on for one more day, but on Sunday morning there is a belief and a track record to support them – as well as a capacity crowd.
Sunday, July 29 – 1.40pm
Chen Long (China, Seeded 3) – Boonsak Ponsana (Thailand)
On paper, this should be a routine victory on route to the last 16 for the 3rd seed but their head to head suggests differently. The world number 22 has a 2-1 advantage over Chen Long from Ponsana’s time inside the world’s top ten. Their last match was over 18 months ago but this is far from an easy match for Chen Long.
Monday, July 30 – 9.05am
Wang Yihan (China, Seeded 1) – Michelle Li (Canada)
The Canadian has struggled with food poisoning in the build up this week, but there will be no excuses available to Wang Yihan should she fail to reach the last 16. It will be their first match against one another, with the world number 1 a massive favourite to go through. Michelle Li’s draw in the women’s doubles is just as tough as she will take on the world number 1 pairing of Wang and Yu the day before her opening singles match.
Monday, July 30 – 2.15pm
Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia, Seeded 1) – Ville Lang (Finland)
The national secret over the rehabilitation of Lee Chong Wei’s ankle will be revealed and tested on Monday afternoon, by the Finnish workhouse of Ville Lang. His 104-minute marathon against Christian Lind Thomsen in April has proven that is physically capable of withstanding a demanding match, he will lengthen rallies to tire opponents and he will test out Lee Chong Wei’s right ankle. Few are expecting a Lee Chong Wei defeat if he is anywhere near his best, but his rivals will watch this match intently for signs of discomfort and weakness.
Monday, July 30 – 7.44pm
Peter Gade (Denmark, Seeded 5) – Pedro Martins (Portugal)
And so the legend ends. Peter Gade’s final Olympics will begin on Monday night against Portugal’s Pedro Martins with the knowledge that a win will take him through to the last 16. It has been over two months since Gade’s last competitive victory, with a pair of losses to Lee Hyun Il and Sony Dwi Kuncoro adding more doubt to the legendary Gade’s chances of medalling in London. A strong performance will cast those doubts aside for at least a few days.
Monday, July 30 – 8.15pm
Lin Dan (China, Seeded 2) – Scott Evans (Ireland)
Lin Dan’s title defence starts against Scott Evans, a reserve for the event who know has the unthinkable task of ending the run of the defending champion. The pair have played three times previously with their most recent match taking place inside Wembley Arena at the 2011 Worlds, with Lin Dan winning comfortably. Scott Evans has never taken a game against Lin Dan, he’ll need two for the biggest shock of the Olympics.
Tuesday, July 31 – 2.19pm
Sayaka Sato (Japan, Seeded 12) – Susan Egelstaff (Great Britain)
Susan Egelstaff’s draw was considered favourable as she avoided the top 10 players in the world, but on further observation this could be the biggest shock of the group stages as well as one of the best moments inside Wembley Arena for the GB team. Egelstaff holds a 1-0 advantage in the head to heads, with a victory at the 2010 All England Championships but Sato also comes into the Olympics in a poor run of form – winning just 8 of her 22 matches this year.
Tuesday, July 31 – 3.20pm
Lee / Chung (Korea, Seeded 2) – Koo / Tan (Malaysia)
There will be something riding on this match in all likelihood for at least one of these pairs, whether it is for the group win or simply to qualify. Koo and Tan have failed to record a victory over the Korean pair since the 2010 Worlds in Paris and will probably need a victory to ensure their place in the last 8 with Boe and Mogensen or Chai and Guo waiting in the quarter finals for one if not both of the pairs.
Denmark and China will be pleased with the performance of their players, whilst several nations like England and Germany suffered a number of defeats to reduce their chances of a title going into the weekend.
Zwiebler and Schenk Through
Despite all of the poor results for the German squad today, they have two excellent chances of winning the singles titles on home turf. Marc Zwiebler defeated Andre Tedjono in a lengthy two game match and takes on Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus for a place in Sunday’s final. The other semi final sees Wang Zhengming of China take on Eric Pang of Holland, with the 3rd seeded Chinese player impressing in his two game victory over Rajiv Ouseph in his quarter final.
Juliane Schenk progressed to the last 4 with a victory over Petya Nedelcheva in two games and takes on the 4th seeded Li Xuerui, with the German player holding an excellent record against Chinese players this year. Yao Jie defeated Tine Baun in her quarter final match to compound the recent run of poor form for the Dane, the Dutch 7th seed takes on Sayaka Sato in her semi final match after she defeated Linda Zechiri in two games.
China and Denmark Impressive In Doubles
Boe and Mogensen’s walkover allowed them to rest ahead of their semi final against Liu and Qiu of China, seeded 6. The Chinese pair ended the run of Germany’s Kindervater and Schoettler and there was another shock in the bottom half of the draw as Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen crashed out to the unseeded Thai pairing of Issara and Jongjit in two games. The unseeded Thai’s take on Adcock and Ellis, who were the player or pair to win for England today.
The top two seeds in the women’s doubles progressed safely into the last 4 with a pair of easy victories whilst in the mixed doubles, several seeds crashed out such as Robertson and Wallwork to the unseeded pair of Liu and Cheng. He and Yixin ensure a double involvement in the semi finals day with a tight three game victory to set up a semi final against Laybourn and Rytter Juhl, who defeated the 6th seeded and world silver medalist pairing of Adcock and Bankier in a tight two game victory.
Whilst Japan have interest in all five events, China’s involvement this week had ended at the quarter final stage.
Taufik Crashes Out
The big news for Europe is that there is another player capable of defeating the world’s elite in Marc Zwiebler. After his run to the semi final at the All-England, big things were expected and his two game victory over the top seeded Taufik Hidayat only confirms his credentials at the highest level. Tien Minh Nguyen is Zwiebler’s opponent in the semi final, after the 3rd seed defeated Bao Chunlai in two games to reach the last 4.
Lower Seeds Surprise
Few expected the defeat of both Lu Lan and Li Xuerui at the quarter final stage, but that is exactly what took place as both Japanese players reached the last 4. Lu Lan lost out to Tai Tzu Ying by the narrowest of margins, with the Chinese Taipei player winning the deciding game 22-20 to set up a semi final against Eriko Hirose. The Japanese 5th seeded defeated Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in two tight games to reach the last 4. Sayaka Sato’s upset over Cheng Shao Chieh hung on a knife edge as both players had match points, before the 8th seeded Sato won the match on her 5th match point to progress 27-25 in the decider.
Japanese and Korean Interest In Doubles
With 2 pairs in the men’s and mixed doubles, as well as 1 in the women’s doubles for the Japanese, they narrowly have the most pairings remaining in the doubles disciplines. Korea are also well represented, mostly down to Lee Yong Dae and Ha Jung Eun who are in 3 of the 5 Korean matches in the doubles tomorrow. Lee and Ko take on their third Japanese pairing in the men’s doubles in the semi finals, with the 6th seeded Kawamae and Sato standing in their way to the final. The second Japanese pairing in the men’s doubles is the 2nd seeded Hashimoto and Hirata, who take on the American pair of Bach and Gunawan who received a walkover to the last 4.
Korea have interest in both the women’s doubles semi finals, with Ha and Kim taking on the Japanese 2nd seeds Maeda and Suetsuna whilst the 8th seeded Jung and Kim take on the top seeded Cheng and Chien of Chinese Taipei. Lee and Ha combine in the mixed doubles to take on another Japanese pairing, this time the 6th seeded Ikeda and Shiota. The other semi final sees the unseeded Japanese pair of Sato and Matsuo take on the 5th seeded pairing of Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei.
The big Japanese contingent that travelled to the US Open have impressed and have defeated several seeds on route to the quarter final stages whilst some of the biggest names in Japanese badminton struggled on day 3.
Top Seeds Safely Into Last 8
There was little trouble for the top seeds in their 3rd round matches, with top seeded Taufik Hidayat booking his quarter final place against Marc Zwiebler of Germany, seeded 6th this week. The other quarter final in the top half of the draw sees the 3rd seeded Tien Minh Nguyen take on the 5th seeded Bao Chunlai, with all four players progressing without the loss of a game in their 3rd round matches. Boonsak Ponsana’s reward for defeating Takuma Ueda is another Japanese opponent in the 7th seeded Sho Sasaki.
Four Nations Remain
The women’s singles has a symmetry at the quarter final stage, with two competitors from four nations remaining. Two from China, Japan, Thailand and Chinese Taipei with one player from each nation in either half of the draw. Eriko Hirose and Porntip Buranaprasertsuk fight it out at the last 8 stage to see who is the last seed remaining in the top half of the draw, whilst all four seeds remain in the bottom half, with 2nd seeded Cheng Shao Chieh coming through in three games against Ayane Kurihana to set up her quarter final against Sayaka Sato of Japan.
Aussie Delight in Men’s Doubles
The big shock of the day was the defeat of Cheng and Fang in the men’s doubles to Australia pair of Smith and Warfe in just two games to book their place in the last 8. The remaining 7 seeds progressed into the last 8 and the pick of tomorrow’s match sees Lee and Ko take on the Japanese pair of Endo and Hayakawa, whilst the American pairing of Bach and Gunawan take on the German 3rd seeds in Kindervater and Schoettler.
Fujii and Kakiiwa Out
The biggest casualty in the women’s doubles was the loss of the 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa to China’s pairing of Ying and Yu in two games, but there is still two Japanese pairs through to the last 8 with Suetsuna and Maeda progressing in two games as well as Matsuo and Naito having better luck against their Chinese opponents, defeating them in three games to reach the last 8 to take on the 5th seeded Ha and Kim of Korea.
Matuso and Sato Stun Robertson and Wallwork
Japan’s excellent day in the doubles was completed with Matsuo and Sato’s two game victory over the 4th seeded Robertson and Wallwork. Lee and Ha continued their run in the event with a two game victory and take on the Chinese pairing of Qiu and Yixin who defeated England’s Olver and Ellis to compound a poor day for the English.
Day 3 Results:
The devoid of talent this week has been the subplot of a week of surprises, but there has been one outstanding constant within the week and that has been the play of Lee Chong Wei. His semi final today was another match that he was a class apart from his opponent, this time being Hu Yun of Hong Kong. Even the 8th seed had no answer for the Malaysian’s form this week as Lee Chong Wei won 21-11, 21-15 in just 28 minutes.
His opponent in tomorrow’s final will be Peter Gade, after he came through his semi final with Park Sung Hwan in two games, albeit a tighter match than the top seeds. His 21-15, 21-19 victory came in 45 minutes but Gade himself has been in excellent form this week in the loss of just one game to Kazushi Yamada in the first round.
The women’s singles featured another seed crashing out, with Yip Pui Yin tamely losing to Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk 21-13, 21-8. Bae Youn Joo however had better success than her seeded counterpart in her semi final victory over Sayaka Sato in three games. The 63 minute match was the longest of the tournament for the Korean but has spent less time on court than her opponent tomorrow who survived two early round scares to reach the final.
It was a double shock in the men’s doubles, with Hashimoto and Hirata defeating the top seeded pair of Koo and Tan in their semi final and also the unseeded Saputra and Pratama’s win over the 3rd seeded Chandra and Gunawan to set up the most unlikeliest of finals at the start of the day. The women’s doubles final however, is an all more expected story with the top two seeds both from Japan reaching the final with only the 2nd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa being tested by Poon and Tse of Hong Kong in their semi final matchups, eventually winning in three games.
An all-Indonesian final was all but assured in the mixed doubles, with Chan and Goh failing to regain the form that got them to this stage. The 5th seeded Malaysian lost out to Kurniawan and Bernadeth in two games, with the 3rd seeds winning 21-12, 21-16. The other all-Indonesian semi final was slightly anti-climatical with the 7th seeded Rijal and Susanto having to retire deep into the second game, however the pair were already a game and 15-9 down to the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir, who go through to the final.
Day 4 Results: