Japan had four chances to claim titles in Melbourne and dominate the week but had to settle for just three from the four. The anticipated return of Wang Lin ended at the semi final stage as another Chinese woman stole the show in the women’s singles, which Japan had interest in the other four events.
The day started with title number one for Japan, as 4th seeded Matsuo and Naito defeated the unseeded Malaysian pair of Chin and Wong in a 21-18, 21-11 victory in 43 minutes.The chance for title number two was immediate with 5th seeded Hashimoto and Fujii taking on the 2nd seeded Thai pairing of Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul. However the Japanese domination took a massive blow with the 2nd seeded Thai’s winning in impressive fashion, defeating Hashimoto and Fujii 21-15, 21-9 in just 31 minutes.
It was China’s turn next to win in impressive fashion as Liu Xin finished her excellent week with a highly impressive win over the 6th seeded Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in a one-sided 21-14, 21-9 to ensure that Thailand’s title tally for the week was just one. The 4th final of the day ensured a second Japanese title as 5th seeded Endo and Hayakawa defeated their 4th seeded team-mates Kawamae and Sato in a tight two game match which seen the lower seeded pair take the title in 39 minutes.
The final match of the day seen 6th seeded Sho Sasaki against the 8th seeded Wong Choong Hann of Malaysia, after both player exchanged a game apiece, the final game was perfectly poised at 17-17, with Sho Sasaki stringing together an invaluable two point streak to take it to 19-17 and the 8th seeded Wong could never get back on level terms, with Sasaki taking the 3rd game 21-19 to claim the title and Japan’s third of the week.
The day begun with optimism that Peter Gade could take his 4th Denmark Open title, only for the top seed to pull out with a back injury that plagued his previous week of training. There are three Danes into the last 16, Joachim Persson produced an excellent two game win over Carl Baxter and the home crowd has it’s dream second round encounter as Jan O Jorgensen will take on Viktor Axelsen after both recorded first round wins. The match will take place tomorrow night at 7.10 local time as Axelsen hopes to defeat Jorgensen just as Jorgensen defeated Gade in last years event.
There were wins for the 2nd seed Taufik Hidayat over Danish qualifier Emil Vind as well as 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana, who edged out Kazushi Yamada in three games. Last weeks Dutch Open winner Sho Sasaki is through to the second round and faces an all-Japanese match against the 5th seeded Kenichi Tago.
The women’s singles has had it’s fair share of shocks today, top seeded Wang Yihan lost her opening game against Jeanine Cicognini before progressing in three games. 3rd seeded Pi Hongyan was not as fortunate as she crashed out to Petya Nedelcheva in two games whilst 6th seeded Juliane Schenk lost her opening game to Sayaka Sato before winning the next two to progress into the last 16.
Denmark has the guarantee of at least one pair in the men’s doubles quarter final, as Boe and Mogensen take on Bonde and Kristiansen after both pairs come through their opening round matches in two games. Japan are well represented in the draw, just like last week in the Dutch Open. 4th seeded Hashimoto and Hirata as well as 8th seeded Endo and Hayakawa progressed safely into the last 16 and are joined by qualifiers Hirobe and Kazuno after a three game victory.
Four of the last 16 couples in the women’s doubles are also Japanese with the host nation only managing three couples into the second round. All eight seeded pairs who had an opening round match safely progressed in two games apart from the 3rd seeded Nedelcheva and Russkikh and 7th seeded Jonathans and Van Dooremalen who needed three games to progress into the second round.
Top seeded Mateusiak and Zieba survived their opening round scare against Setiawan and Russkikh, eventually progressing in three games. Both of Denmark’s seeded pairings are also safely into round 2, Fischer and Pedersen coming through a tight two game match whilst Laybourn and Rytter Juhl were taken to three games by the Russian pairing of Nikolaenko and Sorokina, who won the Dutch Open last week.
The 2010 Denmark Open is without many of the top Chinese players and no Lee Chong Wei in the men’s singles, but the absence of these players is Denmark’s advantage as Peter Gade goes into the singles as the top seed, as well as Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen in the men’s doubles. Jan O Jorgensen and Tine Baun offer outside chances of another threat to the singles titles, also going to attempt to make the main draw is Denmark’s newest star, Viktor Axelsen. A streak of late pullouts has offered him the opportunity to make a name for himself on the Super Series circuit.
The men’s singles is littered with potential winners, unseeded this year is Joachim Persson who is a former top 10 player, Kazushi Yamada who made the world championship quarter finals and last weeks winner in Holland, Sho Sasaki. Taufik Hidayat is the big threat to Danish success this week; he starts with a qualifer before likely to take on the winner of the Carl Baxter – Joachim Persson matchup in an intrigued 2nd round encounter. The most intriguing sub-plot is a potential all-Danish second round match featuring Jan Jorgensen against Viktor Axelsen, should the 16-year old progress through 3 rounds of qualifying and a first round match against Mathieu Lo Ping Ying. Denmark’s biggest hope will undoubtedly be Peter Gade, who begins is campaign on Wednesday against Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong. However, there is talk of Gade carrying a back injury that may hamper his chances this week.
One of China’s biggest stars had made the trip to Odense, Wang Yihan is looking to regain her #1 spot after losing the place to Wang Xin after the World Championships in Paris in August. She begins on Wednesday morning with a match against Jeanine Cicognini of Switzerland. Tine Baun is seeded 2 and starts with an opening round match against Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand.
The men’s doubles top seeds are also from Denmark, as Boe and Mogensen take on Goh and Teo of Malaysia in the first round on Wednesday night. Their biggest challengers will be Kido and Setiawan of Indonesia who start with a match against Kawamae and Sato of Japan in their opening round.
The women’s doubles has a similar feeling to the Dutch Open last week, with the seeds being littered with Japanese players. Maeda and Suetsuna are seeded 1 for the event and receive a first round bye, the second seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa also receive a first round bye. The main challenges to Japanese success will come from the Bulgarian/Russian partnership of Nedelcheva and Russkikh who are seeded 3rd for the event and take on Danes Skelbaek and Heisbol in round 1.
Poles Mateusiak and Zieba take the top seeding in the mixed doubles, but there is plenty of Danish challengers waiting, like the 2009 World Champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl, seeded 3rd for the event but have a tough opener against last weeks Dutch Open winners, Sorokina and Nikolaenko of Russia. Fischer and Pedersen of Denmark are seeded 5th for the event also and face a qualifier in round 1. 2nd seeded Gunawan and Marissa of Indonesia take on Wiratama and Tse of Hong Kong in their opening match on Wednesday morning.
Picture Provided by Rene Lagerwaard
The Japanese interest in the final guaranteed at least one title, whilst top seed Yao Jie hoped to keep the women’s singles title in Holland this year. The day didn’t start well for the Japanese as they lost the women’s doubles final to the 2nd seeded Vislova and Sorokina who defeated the top seeded pairing of Fujii and Kakiiwa 21-19, 21-19.
However, Japan did secure it’s first title of the day in the men’s singles as Sho Sasaki beat unseeded Indian Ajay Jayaram in two games, winning 21-19, 21-16 in 37 minutes. The women’s singles had local interest with Yao Jie, top seed in the singles faced the 2nd seeded Juliane Schenk in the final. The pair shared the opening two games before Schenk prevailed in the third game, winning the 21-13, 14-21, 21-15 in just under an hour.
Valeria Sorokina secured title number two in the mixed doubles; with her partner Alexander Nikolaenko they defeated the Japanese 3rd seeds, Ikeda and Shiota 22-20, 21-9 to ensure Japan walked away with only two titles from the four finals. Title number 2 for Japan went to the top seeded Hashimoto and Hirata over their unseeded team mates, Hirobe and Kazuno with the top seeds winning 21-17, 21-13.
Picture Provided by Rene Lagerwaard
No less than four finals will have Japanese interest, with one all-Japanese final guaranteeing at least one success for Japan. Ajay Jayaram booked his place in the men’s singles final with a two victory over the 14th seed, also from India, Anand Pawar. He will play the 5th seeded Sho Sasaki of Japan in the final, after ending the chances of local success with a two game victory over Eric Pang.
The chances of all 5 finals having Japanese interest ended when Ai Goto was defeated by top seed Yao Jie in two games to give the local crowd some home-grown interest in tomorrow’s final. Top seeded Yao takes on the 2nd seeded Juliane Schenk after defeating Olga Konon in three games to book her place in the final.
The men’s doubles will be an all-Japanese final, top seeded Hashimoto and Hirata defeated Kindervater and Schottler to book their place in the final. The unseeded pair of Hirobe and Kazuno defeated their 3rd seeded countrymen Sato and Kawamae in three games to set up tomorrow’s all-Japanese affair.
The top two seeds meet in the women’s doubles final, as Fujii and Kakiiwa ended the Swedish pair of Lennartsson and Wengberg’s excellent run this week with a two game victory for the top seeded Japanese pair. Second seeds Vislova and Sorokina averted another all-Japanese final with a two game victory over the 3rd seeds Matsuo and Naito to book their place in tomorrow’s final.
The mixed doubles final is another Russia – Japan affair, with the 3rd seeded Ikeda and Shiota defeating their 6th seeded countrymen of Hayakawa and Matsuo in an 81 minute thriller, after the 3rd seeds lost the opening game 30-29. They play the 4th seeded Sorokina and Nikolaenko in tomorrow’s final after they ended the run of local pairing of Bosch and Jonathans in two games to set up the second Russia v Japan final.
Picture Provided by Rene Lagerwaard
It was a poor day for Salakjit and Boonsak Ponsana as their campaigns both ended early on Day 3, for the 5th seeded Salakjit Ponsana her loss to Yu Hirayama of Japan in three games added her name to the casualty list of the women’s singles seeds already out, with 8th seeded Susan Egelstaff crashing out on Day 1. Two more seeds were also put out in the second round with Sayaka Sato and Sung Ji Hyun, the 6th and 7th seeds also losing to unseeded players.
The top three seeds in the men’s singles have all progressed safely into the last 8, with top seed Tien Minh Nguyen defeating Yunus Alamsyah in three tight games to book his place in the quarter finals. Sony Kuncoro also came through a three game encounter against Japan’s Sho Sasaki to claim his place in the last 8 whilst 3rd seed Simon Santoso had little trouble in his third round match, winning in two games to progress into the quarter finals. The 4th seeded Boonsak Ponsana lost to Malaysian Kwong Beng Chan, with Ponsana losing in three games, 22-20, 7-21, 21-16.
6 of the 8 seeds in the men’s doubles are into the last 8, with only the 8th seeded Ko and Yoo losing out to the unseeded pair of Hadiyanto and Wijaya who will play the top seeded duo of Koo and Tan from Malaysia, who have failed to drop a game on route to the last 8. There were wins for the 3rd seeds Lee and Jung and 7th seeds Chen and Lin who meet in the second quarter final. The second all-seeded quarter final is between the 5th seeded Choong and Lee of Malaysia and the 4th seeds, Fang and Lee of Chinese Taipei.
The injury scare over Lee Hyo Jung’s retirement last week has not stopped her playing this week, as the 2nd seeded Lee and Lee progressed into the last 8 with a tight three game victory to book their place in the quarter finals against Ahmad and Natsir of Indonesia, the 5th seeds. The top seeded Gunawan and Marissa are into into the last 8, coming through against Fang and Wang of Chinese Taipei. Lee Hyo Jung is also through to the last 8 of the women’s doubles, after defeating the 3rd seeds Amitapai and Munkit of Thailand. The top two seeds in the event are also through, with top seeds Chin and Wong progressing after Chou and Ku had to retired at 8-2 in the first game. The on-form pair in the women’s doubles, Cheng and Chien are also through to the lasy 8 with a two game victory over Ha and Jang.
The hosts last chance of success came in the Thomas Cup Semi Final against the favourites China, Lee Chong Wei would need to begin the charge against Lin Dan in the opening singles.
Japan vs. Indonesia
This afternoon’s matches saw an in form Taufik Hidayat demolish Kenichi Tago in the opening singles 21-9, 21-14 to give Indonesian an early advantage. The lead was doubled when Kido and Setiawan annihilated Hayakawa and Kazuno 21-9, 21-11 in just 22 minutes, putting Indonesia within a game of the Thomas Cup Final. Sho Sasaki halved the lead with a brave three-game victory over Simon Santoso, winning 21-19, 13-21, 21-11 to send the match to it’s 4th rubber. Indonesia completed their victory with 21-14, 22-20 win from Widianto and Chandra against Hirata and Endo to put them through to Sunday’s final.
China vs. Malaysia
The most anticipated match of the week was a Lin Dan – Lee Chong Wei matchup, would we get the Lin Dan who crashed out of the All England and Swiss Opens or the all-conquering Lin Dan who won the 2008 Olympics and 2009 All-England. The match in itself lasted 48 minutes, but from the outset there was only going to be one winner as Lin Dan returned to greatness with a 21-17, 21-8 victory over the world number 1. With Lee Chong Wei only taking one lead in the entire match, at 3-2 in the opening game. Cai and Fu carried on from Lin Dan’s opening victory with a 21-15, 21-10 with over Koo and Tan in 36 minutes to put China within one game of the final. Chen Jin booked China’s place in Sunday’s final after crushing Wong Choong Han 21-16, 21-7.
Just as I predicted, Taufik has beaten Peter Gade. I also must add that this is a particularly gutsy prediction seeing as Gade has been playing well the past few months, and Taufik has done very little over the last couple years. Taufik won the match in two straight games 21-17, 21-18 and now faces Lee Chong Wei in the semi-finals. My money is still on Taufik. Lee Chong Wei has yet to really be tested, he lost a game in the first match of the tournament, but I’m sure that was just a bit of a slow start for him. Taufik on the other hand has had a few tough matches, so he is more ready for a battle than Lee Chong Wei is.
On the other side of the draw we’ll see Lin Dan aginst Chen Jin. Lin Dan thumped Joachim Persson while Chen Jin barely snuck out a win against Sho Sasaki. My money is on Lin Dan for this one, he is out to make a point that he is the world’s best, too bad Taufik will show him what’s up in the finals!
This is what I’m looking forward to seeing the results from tomorrow, Gade vs Hidayat. I’m betting on Hidayat, my friend Stephan is betting on Gade. I would normally agree with Stephan, but this is the only title that Hidayat has not won yet, and I think he is going to really put his everything into this event. He had a close one today against England’s Andrew Smith, but don’t underestimate Smith, he is good.
None of the other matches have the same intrigue that this one does. Joachim Persson may be able to challenge Lin Dan, but it’s unlikely. Persson has yet to have another breakthrough since his really big win over Kuan Beng Hong, and Lin Dan is looking as fierce as ever. Chen Jin will beat Sho Sasaki hands down, and Lee Chong Wei will definitely beat Ville Lang who is only at the stage he is at because Sony Dwi Kuncoro dropped out. I would say that overall today was a fairly boring, routine day, and what we saw was an example that in spite of the depth, the top 8 or even the top 5 players, are a fair bit better than the rest (or at least way more consistent). Anyway, tomorrow should be more exciting than today!
Yonex All England Open Super Series 2009 Draws