Chen Long Bests Lee Hyun Il

Even without their top players, China were well represented on finals day with at least two titles guaranteed ahead of play.

Their first success came in the women’s doubles, as Tian and Zhao convincingly defeated their team-mates and 7th seeded Cheng and Yixin 21-7, 21-8 to claim their first title together since the Malaysian Open in January. In the mixed doubles, the 4th seeded pairing of Lee and Chien proved too strong for Widianto and Marissa of Indonesia as the Chinese Taipei pair won 21-10, 23-21 in just 31 minute to secure the title.

The closest match of the day came in the women’s singles, where 7th seeded Li Xuerui took on the 2nd seeded Jiang Yanjiao. It was the world number 6 Jiang who took the opening game 21-14 but her opponent and world number 16 stormed back to take the second game by the same margin of 21 points to 14. The momentum was clearly with the 7th seed as she stormed into an 11-5 lead and never looked back as she claimed the title and a invaluable victory over her Chinese team mate, winning the third game 21-14 to take the title.

Chen Long made it a triple success for China as he claimed the men’s singles title in impressive fashion, defeated the 3rd seeded Lee Hyun Il 21-8, 21-19 to end the Korean’s run of victories over Chinese opponents this week. Lee and Jung have begun their preparation for the world championships well with a two game victory over Chandra and Gunawan, seeded 4th this week. The Korean pair are looking to claim their first world title after being denied the last three years by top pairings and this is an excellent start to their campaign to be world champions, with 3 wins over seeded opponents this week.

Finals Results:

Lee Hyun Il Ousts Chen Jin

The prospects of an all-Chinese final in the men’s singles loomed large but one man has singled handedly ended any thoughts of that happening this week and will take on his 4th Chinese player of the week in the final.

Lee Hyun Il has been on court for just short of five hours in his five matches, all of which have gone the full distance of three games. Wen Kai was his first Chinese casualty, then Wang Zhengming and today was his greatest result in his 79-minute victory over the 4th seeded Chen Jin by the narrowest of margins, winning 22-20 in the deciding game and saving a match point in the process. His opponent in tomorrow’s final has had a completely different route to the final. Spending just four hours on court and without dropping a game to date, Chen Long is in a superb vain of form but there could be one last great result from Lee Hyun Il.

The all-Chinese final has happened in the women’s singles, as the first major match in what is likely to be a year-long battle for an Olympic spot. 2nd seeded Jiang Yanjiao takes on 7th seeded Li Xuerui for the title and the chance to take an early step towards London 2012 along the way. Both players have been pushed to reach the final and this will be their first match against one another in the final.

Lee and Jung’s passage into the final was never in doubt this week, no dropping games along the way in what was supposed to set up an all-Korean final. That all changed with Ko and Yoo’s defeat to 4th seeded Chandra and Gunawan in two games but this result could favour the top seeded Koreans, who hold a 3-0 record against their Indonesian opponents tomorrow whilst their record against Ko and Yoo is 3-2, with the last victory going against Lee and Jung.

Even without Wang and Yu in the field, China have managed to get an all-Chinese women’s doubles final. Tian and Zhao are used to the latter stages of these types of events but recently joined forces in a remix of the doubles pairings ahead of London. Another new pair awaits in the final in Cheng and Yixin, as the 7th seeds ended the run of Malaysia’s Woon and Hoo in straight games to reach the final.

The mixed doubles final features an Indonesian pair and a pair from Chinese Taipei in one of the most unlikely final at the start of the week. 5th seeded Lee and Chien defeated the dangerous pairing of Xu and Ma in three tight games in 59 minutes, whilst the 8th seeded Widianto and Marissa took 62 minutes to defeat the unseeded pairing of Shin and Kim in three tight games.

Semi Final Results:

Chen Jin Crushes Wong Choong Han

Thailand’s chances of success were high in the doubles events, with two top seeded pairs in the women’s and mixed doubles. There had already been big name casualties but today seen the Thailand involvement going into the week down to just one player.

From the moment that Boonsak Ponsana lost to Wang Zhengming, the Chinese domination was a real possibility this week. Chen Long and Chen Jin have both reached the last 4 with little or no resistance but have been joined in the semi finals by two Koreans. Park Sung Hwan has survived two match points and back to back three game matches but is in the last 4 and will perhaps be Chen Long’s first real test this week. Wang Zhengming was expected to go from strength to strength after his win over Boonsak Ponsana but came undone against 6th seeded Lee Hyun Il in three games to set up two China v Korea semi finals.

Saina Nehwal’s tough week finishes before the weekend, after defeating Lu Lan in the opening round it was another Chinese player that ended the Indian’s run in 7th seeded Li Xuerui. The 21-13, 21-12 scoreline is perhaps down not a fair representation of the match as a whole but the Li Xuerui will be happy not to have played another three game match before the weekend. Thailand’s hopes now rest on the 4th seeded Porntip Buranaprasertsuk who has reached the semi final without the loss of a game to date, she will take on Li Xuerui for a place in Sunday’s final. One Chinese player who wanted a Saina Nehwal victory was the 2nd seeded Jiang Yanjiao who will likely be battling against Li Xuerui for a place in the Olympic squad next year. The Chinese player came through a tight three game match against Juliane Schenk to set up her semi final against 6th seeded Cheng Shao Chieh of Chinese Taipei, who defeated the 3rd seeded Bae Youn Joo to reach the last 4.

The Korean top seeds of Lee and Jung have been flawless to date, winning all three matches in just two games. Their opponent in the semi final are the 8th seeded American pair of Bach and Gunawan, who defeated the 3rd seeded Fang and Lee in two games to reach the last 4. Ko and Yoo have struggled through to the last 4, needing three games in both their last two games to set up their semi final against Chandra and Gunawan of Indonesia who defeated the 5th seeded Chai and Guo of China in two tight games.

The unlikely story in the women’s doubles is the Malaysian pair of Hoo and Woon who have progressed into the semi finals in their first major tournament together. Their semi final match will be their greatest test as a partnership against the 7th seeded Chinese pairing of Cheng and Yixin, who have failed to drop a game to date this week. There is Chinese interest in the other semi final in Tian and Zhao, the 5th seeds. Their opponents in the semi final are the Hong Kong pairing of Poon and Tse, who are no strangers to the biggest stage.

The mixed doubles was Thailand’s best chance at a title this week, but within just 2 and a half hours of play that dream was gone. Xu and Ma taking out the 2nd seeded Anugritaywon and Voravichitckaikul in the opening match of the day in two games, then the top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam lost to Widianto and Marissa of Indonesia in just 27 minutes to end Thailand’s chances. The 8th seeded Indonesian’s reward is a semi final against Kim and Shin who defeated their seeded team-mates, Lee and Ha in two tight games to reach the semi finals. Xu and Ma take on the 4th seeded pair of Lee and Chien, who defeated the Korean pair of Cho and Kim 21-17, 29-27.

Friday’s Results:

Ponsana Falls to Wang

The big local hope for singles success, Boonsak Ponsana came undone at the third round to Wang Zhengming as China threatens to take a massive part in determining the winner in the men’s singles.

Top seeded Chen Long continued on his seamlessly destined route to the final with another two game victory, this time over France’s 13th seeded Brice Leverdez. His main threat in the top half of the draw almost came undone against Mohammed Hafiz Hashim, with 3rd seed Park Sung Hwan saving two match points before coming through 25-23 in the deciding game. Wang Zhengming defeated the 2nd seeded Boonsak Ponsana in three games to end the local interest in the men’s singles, allowing a double chance of a Chinese player coming through the bottom half of the draw. The other Chinese player through to the last 8 is Chen Jin, who defeated Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto in three games to book his place in the quarter finals.

With the amount of talent that Korea and Chinese continually put into the women’s singles draw, the most unlikely of outcomes is usually seeing all eight seeds make it through the quarter finals. Today was one such day with all eight seeds coming through their second round matches, with 7th seeded Li Xuerui and top seeded Saina Nehwal being the only two seeds needing three games to progress into the last 8. Their rewards for their victories is a match against each other for a place in the last 4.

The men’s doubles begun today, with a double dose of action awaiting first round winners. The week is definitely one for the seeds as 7 of the 8 seeds made it through to the quarter finals, with only the 6th seeded Cho and Kwon of Korea crashing out to Goh and Lim of Malaysia who made it through to the last 8. The women’s doubles couldn’t have started much worse for the local fans who arrived early on Friday as top seeds Voravichitchaikul and Aroonkesorn crashed out in the opening match of the day to Hoo and Woon of Malaysia in three games. In fact the women’s doubles has been a mass of shock results, with only the two Chinese seeds of Tian and Zhao as well as Cheng and Yixin making in through to the last 8.

The two top seeded Thai pairs survived their second round matches but face their toughest tasks in the quarter finals. 2nd seeded Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul take on the dangerous Chinese pairing and 5th seeded Xu and Ma in the last 8 whilst the top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam game on the 8th seeded Widianto and Marissa. Three of the remaining four pairs come from Korea and the main threat this week comes from the 7th seeded Lee and Ha, who defeated the unseeded Chinese pairing of Qiu and Yixin to reach the last 8. They take on Shin and Kim in an all-Korean quarter final.

Friday’s Results:

Chen Long Breezes Through

It was a mixed day for the seeds in Bangkok, with several crashing out early on the opening day of play. One seed came through a tough encounter to prove her credentials at the highest level.

Chen Long’s progression to the last 16 was a shift as could be with a pair of victories setting up a third round match with Brice Leverdez of France who battled through a pair of tough matches to make the last 16. Park Sung Hwan also progressed safely in the top half of the draw and takes on Muhammed Hafiz Hashim, who defeated Joachim Persson to reach the third round. The bottom half is laden with Chinese players, with 3 of the 8 coming from China. Chen Jin and Wang Zhengming are joined by Wen Kai, who was the most impressive of the Chinese players in reaching the last 16. The top seed in this side of the draw is local favourite Boonsak Ponsana, who progressed into the last 16 without the loss of a game but faces the 10th seeded Wang Zhengming in his toughest match to date this week.

It might have taken 59 minutes, but Saina Nehwal remains in the draw after defeating Lu Lan in a titanic three game encounter. The opening round seen all 8 seeds progress with varying difficulty, most notably 8th seeded Sung Ji Hyun defeating China’s Wang Lin as she continues her return to top flight action. Jie Yao and Pi Hongyan also progressed into the last 16 to add more quality to the field, with both taking on seeds in their second round matches.

The mixed doubles seen the top two seeds progress safely into the second round, much to the delight of the home crowd. Both Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam as well as Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul won their matches without the loss of a game to reach the last 16. 3rd seeded Fuchs and Michels of Germany were also impressive in their 21-5, 21-9 victory, as were the 5th seeds of Xu and Ma in their 21-8, 21-14 defeat of Kwon and Kim of Korea.

Day 1 Results:

Saina Top Seed in Thailand

With just over a year until the London 2012 Olympics, several of the worlds elite are fighting for a place to represent their country. Qualification for the Olympics is just underway and with three major events in June, players have be able to perform well in order to have a chance of making London 2012.

Chen Long, Chen Jin and Wang Zhengming are all fighting for a place to represent China in the men’s singles and are all seeded this week. Top seeded Chen Long starts against Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk whilst hometown favourite and 2nd seeded Boonsak Ponsana takes on Lu Yi of China. Joachim Persson and Viktor Axelsen are the big names from Denmark and will also being battling against one another to make the Danish team for the Olympics. Their fortunes are mixed though, with Axelsen taking on 16th seeded Wong Choong Hann of Malaysia whilst Persson awaits a qualifier in his opening round.

Top seeded Saina Nehwal’s draw couldn’t have been any harder this week, taking on the 2009 world champion Lu Lan in the opening round before she can think about the seeds on her half of the draw. Wang Lin and Pi Hongyan are in the top half of the draw but are both unseeded only to add to the level of difficulty in progressing from the top half of the draw. Jiang Yanjiao is playing this week knowing that with Wang Lin’s return to competitive play, her spot in London is far from concrete but the bottom half of the draw is considerably weaker than the top, with Yao Jie providing the only non-seeded threat in the bottom half of the draw.

The super-competitive Korean pairs are all in action this week in the men’s doubles, with the top 2 seeds being from Korea. Lee and Jung are the top seeds this week and face a qualifier in the opening round as do the second seeded Ko and Yoo. 6th seeded Cho and Kwon are the third Korean seed this week, whilst a 4th pairing of Kim and Shin are unseeded this week. Denmark also have three pairs playing this week, all of which are unseeded but after Boe and Mogensen’s terrible form at the Sudirman last month, Danish badminton might need some new talent in the men’s doubles.

A surprisingly weak women’s doubles gives Thailand hope of a title this week, with Tian and Zhao being the only big name Chinese pair in the draw this week, seeded 5th. The 6th seeded Ha and Kim will be a partnership to watch as well as the 7th seeded Chinese duo of Cheng and Yixin.  The mixed doubles will be the best chance of local success this week, with the top 2 seeds both coming from the host nation. The dangerous pairing of Xu and Ma are also playing this week and are seeded 5th, whilst Lee Yong Dae pairs up with Ha Jung Eun after winning a group match in the Sudirman Cup last month.

The Draws:

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