After losing the top seed in the mixed doubles, the Chinese squad got back on track in Seoul today whilst the Danish contingent had little to celebrate in the second round.
Four Seeds Remain
The top two in the world progressed to the last 8 with both needing the full three games to ensure their place in the quarter finals. Lee Chong Wei was tested by Shon Wan Ho before eventually setting up his quarter final match with Kenichi Tago. Simon Santoso is the other seed remaining in the top half of the draw who will likely move up the rankings after this week after securing a quarter final match against Du Pengyu who continues his excellent run with a three game victory over Hu Yun.
A lot was expected of Marc Zwiebler after his double victory over Taufik Hidayat and he has finally delivered with a run to a Premier quarter final against Sho Sasaki. The Japanese 6th seed was impressive in his two game victory over Wang Zhengming to ensure his place in the last 8. Jan O Jorgensen claimed the biggest scalp of the day in his victory over Chen Jin in three games to set up a quarter final against Lin Dan, who had his own struggles in beating Lee Hyun Il before progressing in three games.
Chinese Presence In All Quarter Finals
All four of the quarter finals will have some Chinese presence as the three seeded players are joined in the last 8 by Li Xuerui. Juliane Schenk is the sole European in the draw but will have a tough test to still be in the draw after the end of play tomorrow as she takes on Wang Yihan, whilst Jiang Yanjiao or Saina Nehwal will face the winner depending on the result of their quarter final in the top half of the draw. Wang Shixian takes on Gu Juan for a place in the last 4 whilst the only non-seeded Chinese player Li Xuerui takes on Bae Youn Joo in the second quarter final in the bottom half of the draw.
Seeds Topple In Men’s Doubles
Only three seeds remain in the draw, with a Cai/Fu versus Lee/Jung final looming large. Boe and Mogensen crashed out to Hong and Shen of China who take on Korea’s Kim and Kim for a place in the semi final. Lee and Jung needed three games to ensure their place in the last 8 where they will take on the Chinese Taipei pair of Fang and Lee a place in the last 4. Cai and Fu saved a match point before booking their place in the quarter finals against the German pairing of Fuchs and Roth, the last remaining European pair in the draw. Ko and Yoo will hope to ensure an all-Korean final as they try to progress into the last 4 in their match against Endo and Hayakawa of Japan.
Chinese Powerhouses Cruise Into Last 8
Wang and Yu progressed into the last 8 in straight forward fashion, and were joined by their team-mates Tian and Zhao in equally impressive fashion. The prospect of a ninth meeting of the year in Sunday is almost a foregone conclusion, such is their gap at the top of the world’s elite. Xu and Ma are into the last 8 in the mixed doubles and take on the 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl in their quarter final matchup. Whilst in the top half, He and Yixin ensured a Chinese involvement after their victory over Adcock and Bankier in the second round.
The 2012 Olympics signals the end of four legendary careers, with the hope of a last great battle between Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan for the Olympic gold on August 5, 2012. August of this year provided with perhaps the greatest advertisement for the game that there has ever been as Lee Chong Wei took on Lin Dan for the 2011 World Championship.
Malaysia expected as Lee Chong Wei had two match points to claim his first world title, only for Lin Dan to break a nations heart with his refusal to be beaten. A nation distraught as China claimed a clean sweep in London as Lin Dan ripped off his top in celebration after his historic victory. It was the defining image of 2011, that the Chinese were still the nation to beat and that Lin Dan will still the man to beat.
As much as the Chinese tactics are questionable on how they get so many players to qualify, there is little doubting they are the nation to beat going into next years Olympics. Malaysia and Lee Chong Wei’s last chance waits in London once more, in the arena that robbed him of a world title 12 months previously.
From the stunning mistake by Lin Dan at 19-19 in the third game, to his net play and smashes that saved the two match points before his precise pushes into Lee Chong Wei’s forehand that forced the errors that led to the match point and the eventual winning point, it was an absolute master class on the greatest stage by both players. They simply are the best two players in the world and the only two men capable of winning gold in London.
Fighting For Gold
Lee Chong Wei was the overall best player of 2011; winning almost every event he entered and claimed his first All England title against Kenichi Tago in March. The last three months have seen him lose to China’s Chen Long no less than three times which is the only real worry for the Malaysian going into 2012. He will undoubtedly play a full schedule going into the Olympics, with the chance of a second All England title looming large.
Lin Dan goes into 2012 in top form, winning his last three events including the Super Series Finals earlier in December. He won the opening Super Series Premier in Korea in January and followed it up with Asian Games gold, an event that Lee Chong Wei did not play. The top two in the world played each other 5 times in ranking events, with Lin Dan winning four of the five meetings with Lin Dan holding a 18-8 advantage in their 26 meetings to date.
Gade’s Last Chance
Peter Gade celebrated his 35th birthday this month but there was little to celebrate on the court for the Dane as he failed to claim a single title in 2011 as Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei proved too strong throughout the year in a recurring theme for Europe’s number 1. In his 12 meetings with the top two players, he won just three games and failed to win a single match.
His record against the top two is 32-4, with his last victory over Lin Dan over 18 months ago and almost three years since his last win over Lee Chong Wei. His chances of a stunning upset and a Danish gold in London look grim whilst in the Super Series events he will be a perennial contender and will reach the latter stages of most of the events he participates in, but his chances of gold in London are slim.
Taufik’s Fall From Grace
The decline of Taufik started in May of this year when his #2 ranking slipped to 3 and then came the double defeat to Marc Zwiebler in the US and Canada Open. The foundation of his ranking came from his Denmark and France Super Series victories in 2010. His defeat in the second round to Viktor Axelsen in Denmark followed by his opening round loss to Wang Zhengming in France ensured Hidayat’s decline out of the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time in recent memory.
He ended the year with a whimper, losing all three games in the Super Series Finals and taking just a single game against Kenichi Tago. He will start 2012 with a world ranking of 12, still inside the qualifcation zone for the Olympics but he is currently the #2 ranked player from Indonesia with Simon Santoso ranked 7 in the world and Tommy Sugiarto a threat to Hidayat’s qualification also, ranked 17th in the world.
The Chinese Threat
The 2009 world champion Chen Jin as well as the new star of Chinese badminton, Chen Long are just the tip of a massive Chinese threat going into any major tournament in 2012. With 5 Chinese players inside the top 16, there is a massive internal battle within the Chinese squad to claim one of a potential three spots in the Olympics, should China manage to get three players inside the top 4 in the world.
Chen Long is clearly the new star of Chinese badminton, the 22-year old begun this year well outside of the top 10 and his stunning loss to Kevin Cordon in the opening round of the world championships could have derailed his promising career. However, he returned to form later in the year with a trio of titles including a Super Series Premier title in China before his milestone victory over Lee Chong Wei in Japan the next week. This became a recurring theme, with another victory over Lee Chong Wei in Denmark and then finally in their most recent matchup in the Super Series Finals. He is the main threat to the top two in the world going into 2012.
Chen Jin claimed just a single title this year, in the Singapore Super Series after a Lin Dan walkover in the final and without Lee Chong Wei even in the draw. His two runner-up medals were defeats to Lin Dan and Chen Long to firmly establish himself as the third force of Chinese badminton now.
Du Pengyu and Wang Zhengming are the two wild cards of Chinese badminton. They have all but been eliminated from being able to qualify for the 2012 games but will be vital in ensuring a massive Chinese presence at the London Olympics. Ranked #10 and #14 in the world will put them in a position of being seeds in some events but potentially facing one of the seeds in the Premier events of 2011, like Wang Zhengming taking on Taufik Hidayat in the French Super Series in October. They will also play a role in ensuring Chinese success at these events, with the Chinese squad allowing walkovers to occur in all-Chinese matchups, meaning more rest for the higher ranked Chinese players in their big events.
The Breakout Stars of 2011
2011 seen the emergence of Sho Sasaki, Lee Hyun Il, Simon Santoso and Marc Zwiebler into the top 16 players in the world. 29-year old Sho Sasaki has been grinding away a career that seen him ranked as low as 40 in June of this year after a string of opening round losses to start 2011. He then reached the semi finals in the Indonesian Super Series Premier and followed that with a win in the US Open in July. An excellent run to the last 8 of the world championships boosted his ranking into the top 10 and finishes the year with his highest ever world ranking of 7. A lot is expected of Sasaki in 2012 with impressive victories over Lin Dan and Du Pengyu in 2011 but has to ensure no opening round upsets that marred his 2011 season.
Lee Hyun Il ended his career after the Beijing Olympics, only to be talked back into playing competitively just 20 months ago. Ranked 196th in May of 2010, he has returned to the world’s top 10 going into 2012, winning his last two events of 2011. A former world number 1 in 2004, his return to the top 10 is nothing short of stunning with victories over Chen Jin, Wang Zhengming , Du Pengyu and Simon Santoso confirming his top 10 status. He will benefit in 2012 with being seeded for most of the early Super Series events of the year to bolster his place in the top 10.
Simon Santoso was touted to overtake Taufik Hidayat as Indonesia’s number 1 in the summer after Hidayat’s poor run in the US and Canada Open. He entered the world championships ranked 19th but his run to the semi finals in China and Macau, that featured a victory over Peter Gade seen Santoso become the top ranked Indonesian player and ensured his place in the top 10 in December. His victory over Hidayat in the China Masters saw the passing of the guard to the 26-year old.
Marc Zwiebler has cemented his place as Europe’s number 2 behind Peter Gade, but his double victory over Taufik Hidayat has pushed him into the spotlight. Ranked as high as 11 earlier in the year, he has levelled out within the 15-17 ranking in the later half of the year following his Canada Open success. Big things are expected of Zwiebler in 2012 as he is set to take on the mantle of Europe’s #1 after the Olympics.
The New Breed
Denmark’s future lies with Viktor Axelsen, the 2010 junior world champion and current European junior champion carefully scheduled his 2011 calender, with a victory in Spain before his greatest moment of his career in the Denmark Open as he defeated Taufik Hidayat in his hometown to reach the last 8 of a Super Series for the first time. He took a game off Peter Gade in his quarterfinal before losing out in three games but that propelled him onto the world stage. He played the Hong Kong and China Masters in the latter half of 2011 and will likely take on a full schedule in 2012 as he looks to improve on his ranking of 36.
Wong Wing Ki’s victory over Lin Dan in Denmark was the 21-year old’s first breakthrough victory of his career and a series of promising results to end 2011 has him just outside the top 20 in the world going into 2012. He has been competitive against the world’s elite throughout the last year with only his standout victory against Lin Dan to show for it, he will hope to have several more impressive wins in 2012.
The European Hopefuls
Pablo Abian, Rajiv Ouseph have been the powerhouses of the EBU circuit, whilst Jan O Jorgensen has been reaching the latter stages of the Super Series towards the end of 2011 after a health scare during the week of the Denmark Open.
Pablo Abian started 2011 just inside the top 50 in the world before taking four titles in the first half of the year, including a victory over Viktor Axelsen in Sweden in January to claim his first title. Opening round defeats in the Denmark and France Open will have to be improved on in 2012 to break into the world’s elite.
Rajiv Ouseph will go to the London Olympics as GB’s only chance of a medal in this event but his success in 2011 has came in Europe, with victories in Ireland and Scotland, choosing to play the European events instead of the Super Series Premier event in China. He goes into 2012 in need of a notable run in a Super Series to boost his confidence ahead of the pressure of performing on home soil after a poor attempt this year in a 21-8, 21-18 defeat to Peter Gade in the opening round of the 2011 world championships.
Jan O Jorgensen is a former top 10 player whose health scare in Denmark forced him into a layoff of 4 weeks that seen him dip to 19 in the rankings. Three quarter final appearances in Super Series events in 2011 will be the very minimum he will need to ensure his place at the Olympics ahead of Viktor Axelsen, as the two battle it out to be Denmark’s number 1 after Gade’s retirement.
However, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus is also a contender in the debate. Ranked outside the top 30 at the start of 2011, the Dane took the Dutch Open title in April to push him into the top 25 and another victory in the Bitburger Open sees him inside the top 20 and finished the year with a close match with Chen Long of China. The performance in the China Open will be one that Vittinghus hopes to emulate throughout 2011 to ensure his name is in the discussion over Denmark’s top men’s singles player.
The Asian Contingent
The rarely spoken about Tien Minh Nguyen has been inside the top 10 in the world for almost two years without any major runs in the Super Series, the Vietnamese player earns his ranking points from the GP Gold series of events but did put have a good run at the world championships, eventually losing out to Peter Gade in three games at the quarter final stage. Defeats to Sho Sasaki and Jan O Jorgensen in the latter part of 2011 still raise question marks over Nguyen’s true ability and significance within the rankings.
Park Sung Hwan’s year was cut short with an injury after the world championships. After surgery on his knee in September there was further complications after it was revealed that the Korean had circulation problems in his shoulder but is expected to return to action in the opening months of 2012. He was ranked inside the top 10 before his lay off due to injury.
Boonsak Ponsana is another player in the Tien Minh Nguyen mould in that he was almost discounted as a threat in the opening half of 2011 when he was ranked 6th in the world, mostly due to ranking points gained through the GP Gold series. His quarter final defeat to Lee Chong Wei is the highlight of a poor year for the Thai player that has seen him crash out of the top 10 but surgery has sidelined Ponsana for most of the second half of 2011, with 2012 seeing the Thai player hopefully return to the court.
The End Of An Era
Regardless of the results in London, Lee Chong Wei and Peter Gade have confirmed their intentions to retire after the Olympics. Lin Dan and Taufik Hidayat likely to follow suit, especially should Lin Dan claim his second Olympic title. Hidayat’s dip in form will likely be a contributing factor especially with his place in London far from guaranteed.
2012 will provide us with the end of an era and the chance to crown a new world number 1 after the Olympics. Whether that is Lee Chong Wei winning gold for Malaysia, Lin Dan retaining his Olympic title or the dream finale to Peter Gade’s stunning career, the countdown has begun. There is no more putting off talking about the likely retirement of these four players, for it is now a matter of months, not years now.
The 2012 season starts in just a few weeks, with the Korean Open Super Series Premier being moved 3 weeks to the first week in January, with the Malaysian Open Super Series the next week to ensure an exciting start to the year. The doubleheader of the Indonesia Premier and Singapore Super Series will be the final event before the run-in to the Olympics in late July.
Then, another 6 week break before the China Masters and the first opportunity to survey the aftermath of the 2012 Olympics. The year ends with the China Open Premier and the Hong Kong Super Series in late November to conclude what is likely to be a historic year of badminton.
The majority of the top ranked players and pairs have progressed into the playoffs needing just two games to ensure qualification, however some groups are doing down to the wire tomorrow in the final matches of the group stage.
Lee Chong Wei, Peter Gade, Lin Dan All Through
Few expected any resistance in Group A as Sho Sasaki and Simon Santoso were outclassed by the eventual qualifiers from the group in Peter Gade and Lee Chong Wei. Both players secured two victories and will play tomorrow for top spot within the group and the likelihood of the loser meeting Lin Dan in the semi final stage. The Group B winner takes on Kenichi Tago to ensure top spot, whilst the Japanese player needs a victory to have any chance of progressing. The other match in Group B sees Chen Long take on Taufik Hidayat, with the Chinese player also looking for a victory to ensure his place whilst the Indonesian cannot qualify for the last 4.
Sung Ji Hyun Remains Unbeaten
After her stunning win over Wang Yihan, Sung Ji Hyun ensured her place at the top of Group A with a two game victory over Juliane Schenk but still needs a victory over Tine Baun to ensure qualification, whilst the Dane must defeat Sung to have any chance of qualifying whilst Wang Yihan needs only to beat Juliane Schenk to reach the last 4. Group B is already settled with only the top spot on offer as Wang Xin and Saina Nehwal play in the final group match.
All To Play For In Doubles
Group A of the men’s doubles offers the simplest of equations, win and progress into the playoffs. All four pairs have won one and lost one going into the final round of matches tomorrow, with Cai and Fu against Ko and Yoo likely to be the standout match of tomorrow’s play with at least one of these pairs not playing this weekend. Chai and Guo take on Hashimoto and Hirata for the other place in the last 4. Group B is a different story, with Boe and Mogensen progressing as well as Lee and Jung ahead of their match tomorrow to determine top spot in the group.
Wang and Yu are safely into the last 4, even with a defeat tomorrow their points and games difference is too strong and have secured the top spot in Group A. Ha and Kim have to become the first non-Chinese pair to defeat Wang and Yu to have any chance of progressing into the last 4. Tian and Zhao are not mathematically through, but would need to lose convincingly to the Japanese pair of Fujii and Kakiiwa for the world number 3 pairing to have any chance of progressing.
Zhao Yunlei faces a similar situation in the mixed doubles, needing only to avoid a big defeat to Ahmad and Natsir to advance to the playoff stages. Xu and Ma need a victory against the British pair of Blair and White to ensure their place in the last 4, with the world number 22 pairing already out of contention. Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen have already won Group B, whilst either of the three pairings in their group capable of taking second place in the group. The likely winner between Ikeda and Shiota against Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam will look like the favourite to take the second place spot in the group.
Once again BWF is offering a live stream to select countries. You can find the various feeds here:
Day 1 Session 1
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Day 2 Session 2
Day 3 Session 1
Day 3 Session 2
Semi Finals Session 1
Semi Finals Session 2
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.
If China’s plan is to demoralize Lee Chong Wei before the Olympics, their plan is succeeding. After two losses in a month to Chen Long, the world number has suffered a double defeat to Lin Dan in back to back events but this time it was in front of a partisan crowd in Shanghai.
Chinese Dominance In Singles
Lin Dan’s 75-minute marathon victory over Lee Chong ensured two all-Chinese finals in the singles, with Chen Long defeating Simon Santoso in two games to ensure his place in the final without the loss of a game. The two finalists last met in exactly a year ago in this event at the final, with Lin Dan winning in three games and currently leads their overall head to head 2-0. The women’s singles final also sees the 2nd and 3rd seeds from Chinese face each other, with Wang Yihan taking on Wang Xin. Both players progressed after a tough three game match against an unseeded Chinese player, with Wang Xin saving two match points against Li Xuerui to reach the final, winning 23-21 in the deciding game.
Danish Delight In Doubles
Whilst China can claim half of the remaining finalists in the doubles events, Denmark can also claim two of their own in a resurgence of form for the European nation. Boe and Mogensen defeated the 2nd seeded Lee and Jung in one of the best results of the year for the former world number one pairing and will take on Ko and Yoo of Korea in the only final with no Chinese interests. The women’s doubles final sees the pairing of Wang and Yu going for win number 58 of the year against the unseeded pairing of Tang and Xia who received a walkover against Tian and Zhao in their semi final. Zhao Yunlei managed to reach one final with partner Zhang Nan in the mixed doubles and will take on the Danish pairing of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen who have an excellent 4-1 head to head matchup against the world number 1 pairing, but the Chinese pairs only victory came in their most recent encounter, last week in Hong Kong.
With China having more than half the remaining players in the draw, the few non-Chinese players will stand out over the weekend but some big names will not be around for the semi final stages in Shanghai.
Gade Out To Santoso
Simon Santoso’s run of good form this run has claimed another seed, the 4th seeded Peter Gade. The Indonesian defeated Gade in a three game 73-minute match to book his place in the last 4 where he will face Chen Long. The 2nd seed defeated his countryman Chen Jin in a one-sided quarter final to book his place in the semi finals. The other semi final is a repeat from last week that sees Lee Chong Wei take on Lin Dan after both secured two game victories in their respective quarter final matches.
Clean Sweep In Women’s Singles
The question in the women’s singles is now which of the four Chinese players will take the title on home soil. Wang Yihan is the top seed remaining and takes on Liu Xin in the bottom half of the draw, with both players winning in three games. Wang Xin will play Li Xuerui in the other semi final, with Wang Xin the other player of the four remaining not to drop a game in the quarter finals.
Chinese Interest Looms Large In Doubles
The men’s doubles is without a Chinese pair going into the last 4, with Cai and Fu pulling out before their match with Kawamae and Sato to set up a semi final against Ko and Yoo of Korea. Lee and Jung are the highest seeds left in the draw and take on Boe and Mogensen after they defeated Kido and Setiawan 28-26 in a 73-minute thriller. Wang and Yu are one of three Chinese pairs left in the women’s doubles with the top seeds taking the 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa in the first of the semi finals. The other semi final sees the 2nd seeded Tian and Zhao take on the unseeded pair of Tang and Xia for a place in Sunday’s final. China are also guaranteed a finalist in the doubles with Zhang and Zhao taking on qualifiers Jiaming and Xia, who defeated the Danish pair of Laybourn and Rytter Juhl to reach the last 4. The other semi final sees the 3rd seeded Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen take on the Thai pairing of Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul for a place in Sunday’s final.
Few expected the lone European nation in the last 8 to reach the final against the home nation of China. Their 3-1 victory over Indonesia was done again without the help of the #1 pair in the world for men’s doubles, as Boe and Mogensen succumbed to another defeat this week.
The first semi final seen the host nation take on Korea, the nation that defeated China in last year’s Uber Cup. The first match set the tone for the entire semi final as Xu and Ma took on Ko and Ha in a brutal 71 minute encounter that Korea had four chances to win the match and failed to deliver. The Chinese pairing had just one in the deciding game and took their opportunity to steal the victory from the Korean’s and but China 1-0 up.
Lin Dan doubled the host nations advantage with a convincing 21-16, 21-10 victory to put China within one match of the final. Cai and Fu took on their rivals Lee and Jung for the 13th time, with the head to head being level at 6-6. Lee and Jung had won the previous two matches and made it a third consecutive victory over Cai and Fu in their 62 minute encounter to pull the tie back to 2-1. Wang Shixian was given the chance to redeem herself after her opening match loss to Juliane Schenk in the 4th match of the tie, against Bae Youn Joo. It took 50 minutes but the Chinese were through the the final with Wang Shixian’s two game victory securing the 3-1 victory for China.
The second semi final started almost exactly the way of the first semi final, with the opening mixed doubles match going all the way to a third and deciding game. Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen were dominant in the decider and took the opening match for the Danes in a 63 minute match against Teng and Bernadeth. Peter Gade doubled the advantage with a tight two game victory over Simon Santoso, winning 21-18, 21-16 in 44 minutes.
The Danish pair of Boe and Mogensen have been the weak link this week, losing both of their matches to date. They had a third chance to win this week against the pair of Chandra and Ahsan but again struggled to produce any of the form that made them into the top partnership in the world and tamely lost 23-21, 21-17 to cut Indonesian deficit in half. It was left to Tine Baun to clinch a place in the final against Adriyanti Firdasari, their first meeting in almost two years. Tine Baun duely delivered a superb performance to win 21-13, 21-13 to book Denmark’s place in the final.
Tomorrow’s final will be won and lost with the men’s events. Can Boe and Mogensen regain any sort of form to defeat Cai and Fu in the men’s doubles? Can Peter Gade roll back the years and defeat Lin Dan for only the 4th time in their 16th meeting? Tine Baun will undoubtably needed to defeat one of the Chinese women in the singles if Denmark have any chance of winning the final. The Chinese are almost certain of winning the women’s doubles should Wang and Yu play. Meaning they only have to win 2 of the other 4 events to retain the Sudirman.
Semi Final Results:
It was well past midnight before the fourth nation was confirmed for the semi finals of the Sudirman Cup, as Indonesia and Japan’s quarter final went all the way to the 5th and final rubber.
Chandra and Ahsan took the opening doubles match for the Indonesians before the likely Japanese comeback took place in the singles event. Eriko Hirose leveled the quarter final at 1-1 with a three game victory before Kenichi Tago put Japan into a 2-1 lead with a comfortable two game victory over Simon Santoso in two games as Indonesia toiled without the threat of Taufik Hidayat in the men’s singles.
Japan went on the brink of victory, only for Indonesia to level the tie at 2-2 with a tight 2 game victory from Polii and Jauhari over Naito and Matsuo to send the match into a deciding rubber. The mixed doubles would determine who would progress and it was the Indonesian pair of Tang and Bernadeth that struck first against Ikeda and Shiota, winning the opening game 21-19. The Japanese faught back in the second, but the Indonesian’s had two chances to win the match in the second game, only to squander them and allow the match to be levelled at 1-1 as the Japanese pair took the second game 25-23. The Indonesian’s response in the 3rd game was nothing but positive, refusing to let the Japanese pair close the gap as the match time ticked well past the 60 minute mark before clinching the match 21-14 in the deciding game in a stunning 83-minute match to book Indonesia’s place in the last 4, with the entire tie taking more than four and a half hours to complete.
The other quarter final played today was a much more straightforward encounter, as Denmark took on Chinese Taipei for a chance to play Indonesia in the last 4. The Danes started the strongest, with a win from Pedersen and Fischer Neilsen in two games to set Denmark on their way. Peter Gade doubled the lead, after losing the opening game to Hsueh Hsuan Yi but eventually came through in three games in a match that took exactly one hour.
The world #1 pairing of Boe and Mogensen had the chance to secure a 3-0 victory for Denmark but they were defeated by the world #6 pairing of Fang and Lee in an exceptionally tight three game match, with the Chinese Taipei pair taking the match 22-20, 21-23, 21-18 in 70 minutes to send the tie to the fourth match. Tine Baun was given the chance to close out the match like Boe and Mogensen, but after losing the opening game to Tai Tzu Ying expectation of a deciding match begun to creep into the Danish squad. Tine Baun responded to level the match at one game all before completing Denmark’s progression into the semi finals with a 13-21, 21-16, 21-14 victory to book a semi final clash against Indonesia.