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.
Day 2 in New Delhi provided one of the unexpected days in the history of the Super Series as countless seeds fell in almost every event today, from top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in the mixed doubles to Tine Baun in the women’s singles.
The top three seeds in the men’s singles all survived their second round matches in two games to progress into the last 8, with Lee Chong Wei taking on Indian qualifier Sourabh Verma who defeated the 7th seeded Kenichi Tago in three games to reach the quarter final. Peter Gade takes on his 3rd Japanese player this week in Takuma Ueda in tomorrow’s quarter final, with Gade’s victory over Sho Sasaki in his second round match. Taufik Hidayat takes on the 6th seeded Park Sung Hwan in his quarter final match after the 2nd seed won his second match in two games to reach the last 8.
Tine Baun’s chance to claim victory after Saina Nehwal’s early departure lasted just one day as the 2nd seed lost out to Singapore’s Chen Jiayuan in two games, who goes on to play Sayaka Sato of Japan in the quarter final. Bae Youn Joo of Korea becomes the highest seeded player left in the draw and faces a tough task in the quarter final against Yao Jie, seeded 7th this week. The top half of the draw has been decimated to just one seed in Yip Pui Yin as 5th seeded Eriko Hirose and 6th Sung Ji Hyun both crashed out today to unseeded players.
The men’s doubles has faired well in comparison to other events with 6 of the 8 seeds making the quarter final stage, with the biggest name to crash out to day being the 2nd seeded Ahsan and Septano losing to team-mates Septura and Pratama. Indian hopes also ended with 8th seeded Thomas and Kumar losing out to another unseeded Indonesian pair in Sugiarto and Wirawan to reach the last 8. Top seeded Koo and Tan started off with a routine two game victory, but their biggest test to date will be in the last 8 against Cho and Kwon of Korea.
Just three seeds remain the women’s doubles event as the second round claimed it’s share of casualties today, with the exception of the top two seedings from Japan. Maeda and Suetsuna safely progressed in two games to set up a quarter final against unseeded Koreans Jang and Kim whilst 2nd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa were just as clinical to set up match against Jung and Kim, also of Korea. 4th seeded Jauhari and Polii are the only other seed left in the draw and take on the Malaysian pair of Chin and Wong in their quarter final match.
Sato and Matsuo claimed the biggest shock of the mixed doubles this week with their two game victory over top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam to reach the last 8. Widianto and Marissa are rolling back the years this week to reach the last 8 where they will take on their Indonesian counterparts, 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir for a chance to reach the last 4. Second seeded Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul safely reached the last 8 with a two game victory and will take on the 5th seeded Chan and Goh of Malaysia who needed three games to defeat their unseeded Indian opponents Dewalkar and Gadre to reach the quarter finals.
Day 2 Results:
India’s main chance of success in their first Super Series event took a massive dent on the opening day of play with top seeded Saina Nehwal crashing out in the last match of the day to Ai Goto of Japan.
There were shocks in the men’s singles also, with 4th seeded Boonsak Ponsana crashing out as well as 5th seeded Simon Santoso being losing out on the opening day of play. There were no such problems for Lee Chong Wei who progressed in two tight games against Ajay Jayaram whilst Taufik Hidayat had little problems in reaching round 2. Peter Gade struggled through in three games against Kazushi Yamada and takes another Japanese player in Sho Sasaki in the second round.
The weight of a nation lay on Saina Newhal for the second time in less than a year but this time it was far from the fairytale ending with her 21-17, 21-19 loss to Ai Goto stunning the crowd at the end of play this evening. The seven other seeds progressed with varying results, with 2nd seeded Tine Baun needing three games to defeat Xing Aiying of Singapore. Yip Pui Yin and Eriko Hirose are the main beneficiaries of Nehwal’s early departure, with the top half of the draw opening up.
There was limited action in the doubles events on the opening day, with Sato and Matsuo setting up their second round match against Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in the mixed doubles. Marissa and Widianto are also through to the second round in the mixed doubles after defeating Fujii and Hashimoto of Japan.
Day 1 Results:
Korean shuttlers won 7 of the 9 semi-final matches they were featured in today with only Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Joachim Fischer Nielsen and India’s Saina Nehwal denying their respective opponents. With Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen’s win over Lee Yong Dae and Ha Jung Eun they prevented Korea from having a finalist in all finals. The defeated the Korean pair in three very close games 15-21, 21-17, 22-20 and now play Britain’s Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork. The British pair defeated Indonesia’s Tantowi Ahmad and Lilyana Natsir 21-12, 22-20.
Saina Nehwal fought long and hard to prevent an all Korean final by defeating Bae Youn Joo in a 58 minute match. Nehwal won in three games 21-19, 13-21, 21-14 and will have yet another Korean opponent Sung Ji Hyun who had a more straight forward win over Juliane Schenk of Germany.
The remaining events will feature all Korean match ups, a testament to their dominance in Basel this week. In the women’s doubles Ha Jung Eun would avenge her mixed doubles loss with her partner Kim Min Jung by defeating Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl 21-13, 21-19. Next they will face their compatriots Jung Kyung Eun and and Kim Ha Na.
Lee Yong Dae may have been disappointed with his mixed doubles loss, however his mens doubles match went much better. Lee and his partner Jung Jae Sung easily defeated Indonesia’s Gunawan and Chandra in two games 21-12, 21-15. Their opponents will be Yoo Yeon Seong and Ko Sung Hyun who’s semi-final win was much more hard fought. The Korean pair won in three long games 15-21, 26-24, 21-17.
While it was a surprise on paper few would be surprised to hear Lee Hyun Il defeated second seeded Simon Santoso. In spite of his lower ranking the Korean shuttler has been quickly rising up the ranks again and showed he still has what it takes to take out top players with his 17-21, 21-10, 21-10 win over Santoso. Lee will play his compatriot Park Sung Hwan in the finals after Park defeated a tough Wong Choong Han 24-22, 21-13.
Swiss Open Grand Prix Results
Friday’s matches started with the second seeded Simon Santoso sneaking past Sho Sasaki in two close games 21-17, 21-18. Santoso now faces Lee Hyun Il in the semi-finals after Lee knocked out Pablo Abian in his quarter-final match 21-14, 21-12. This fate would escape the top seed Jan Jorgensen who fell to Wong Choong Han. Jorgensen seemed to struggle with the speed of shuttles throughout the match and could not find his depth as many shuttles fell long. Wong won in two straight games 21-11, 21-15 to book his place in the semi-finals against Park Sung Hwan. Park narrowly defeated his opponent AJay Jayaram 21-19, 21-19.
The womens singles event was yet another example of Korea’s strong showing in Basel. Sung Ji Hyun has made her way into the semi-finals and will now face Germany’s Juliane Schenk who ironically enough took out one of Korea’s other hopefuls Kim Moon Hi in two games 21-14, 21-17. On the far side of the draw yet another Korean is through to the semi-finals, Bae Youn Joo. Bae will now face India’s superstar Saina Nehwal who knocked out Petya Nedelcheva 22-20, 21-17.
Korea was omnipresent once again in the womens doubles with two pairs remaining at the semi-finals stage. Ha Jung Eun and Kim Min Jung are set to play Denmark’s Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen who took out the top seeds Cheng and Chien 21-17, 21-19. On the bottom of the draw yet another Korean pair is still in play with Kim Ha Na and Jung Kyung Eun set to play Indonesia’s second seeded pairing of Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii who easily defeated another Korean pair, Jang Ye Na and Kim Min Seo, 21-9, 21-7.
While Dutch pair Ruud Bosch and Koen Ridder may have pulled off a big upset by defeating top seeds Boe and Mogensen their winning ways would not continue as they lost a tough three game match against Chandra and Gunawan 16-21, 21-15, 21-17. The Indonesian pair now have a tough task on hand as they face Korea’s Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae. The bottom of the draw has another Korean pair as Ko Sung Hyun and Yoo Yeon Seong will be set to play Fang and Lee of Chinese Taipei.
Lee Yong Dae and Ha Jung Eun laid a thrashing on the top seeds Chen and Cheng in the mixed doubles winning in two decisive games 21-9, 21-5. The Korean power pair will play Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen in their semi-finals match. Britain’s only remaining players Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork made their way through to the semi-finals after beating Malaysia’s Chan and Goh 21-7, 18-21, 21-16. Wallwork and Robertson will play Indonesia’s Natsir and Ahmad in hopes of booking a place in the finals.
Swiss Open 2011 Results
Saina Newhal had the opportunity to avenge her defeat to Eriko Hirose from the All England today in Basel and it was an opportunity she took advantage of as several big names crashed out in the last 16 in the Swiss Open.
Jan O Jorgensen was one of the top seeds to progress today as he defeated Kazushi Yamada in three games to book her place in tomrorow’s quarter final against Wong Choong Hann, the 12th seed from Malaysia who defeated Dicky Palyama to progress. Park Sung Hwan wasthe first of two Korean successes as Lee Hyun Il defeated his counterpart from Korea, the 5th seeded Shon Wan Ho in a three game victory today. Pablo Abian also defeated the 9th seeded Muhammad Hafiz Hashim to book his place in the quarter final against Lee Hyun Il. 2nd seeded Simon Santoso is also into the quarter finals, where he takes on Sho Sasaki of Japan after both recorded two game victories today.
Juliane Schenk is the sole seed and European left in the top half of the women’s singles draw, with Yao Jie crashing out to Kim Moon Hi of Korea in three games and now takes on Schenk in the last 8. The bottom half of the draw still has three seeds, with Bae Youn Joo defeating Japan’s Sayaka Sato to reach the last 8 whilst the other quarter final sees the 6th seeded Petya Nedelcheva take on Saina Nehwal. Nedelcheva defeated Germany’s Karin Schnaase in two games whilst Saina Nehwal gained revenge for her defeated in the quarter finals last week to win this week in three games and reach the last 8 to take on the Bulgarian 6th seed.
The big shock of the day came with the All England champions and top seeds Boe and Mogensen crashed out to the Dutch pair of Bosch and Ridder in a three game match, with the Dutch’s reward being a quarter final match against the 7th seeded Chandra and Gunawan of Indonesia. Lee and Jung safely progressed into the last 8 where they take on the 8th seeded Germans Kindervater and Schoettler who defeated Malaysia’s Chan and Lim to set up their match with the 3rd seeded Koreans. The 2nd seeded Ko and Yoo had to battle through a tight three game match with Sato and Kawamae to reach the last 8 and a match against the 5th seeded Indonesian pair of Septano and Ahsan who also defeated a Japanese pair in their last 16 match in Hirobe and Kazuno.
Cheng and Chien struggled into the last 8 with a win over Misaki and Takahashi in three games and will take on the lone European pair left in the draw, the 5th seeded Pedersen and Rytter Juhl who defeated Wang and Wang of the USA to reach the last 8. Jauhari and Polii were taken to the brink of elimination before defeating White and Wallwork 24-22 in the deciding game of their match to reach the last 8, where they will take on the unseeded Korean pair of Jang and Kim who defeated the 8th seeded Rie and Wakita in three games.
Lee and Ha’s new partnership has been undefeated to date, with the 8th seeds winning both matches to date comfortably but face their toughest test against the top seeds Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei who came through a three game match against Ikeda and Shiota to reach the last 8. Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen defeated the German Open champions Blair and White in two games to reach the quarter finals and they are joined in the last 8 by another Danish pair, Pieler Kolding and Houmann who take on the 5th seeded pair of Ahsan and Natsir in their quarter final. 2nd seeded Wallwork and Robertson are also safely into the last 8 after a two game victory over Triyachart and Yao of Singapore.
Some of the seeded players faced their biggest tests of the week so far, as the world’s elite continues on their individual quests to reach Sunday’s final and the prize money on offer for winning this week. Over half of the 20 matches today went the full distance, with some of the world’s best crashing out before the weekend.
Lee Chong Wei was in the minority, he disposed of Wang Zhengming in just two games and further boosted his chances of winning this week in Seoul. He faces another Chinese player in his semi final, Du Pengyu defeated Japan’s Kenichi Tago in two games to set up a match against the world #1 tomorrow. The bottom half of the draw seen the two highest seeds crash out today, with Peter Gade losing out to on-form Simon Santoso in a two-game, 45 minute matchup. Santoso will take on the 6th seeded Lin Dan in tomorrow’s semi final as he defeated Santoso’s countryman Taufik Hidayat in a three-game match that took a mere 49 minutes to complete. The possibility of a Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan final looms large.
Top seed Wang Xin suffered a shock exit to Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun, after taking the opening game 21-11 the top seed lost the next two games to allow the unseeded Korean to progress. 2nd seed Wang Shixian had her own three-game matchup against the 5th seeded Tine Baun and needed 6 match points to defeat the Dane and progress into tomorrow’s semi final. 3rd seeded Wang Yihan defeated her team-mate and 6th seed Jiang Yanjiao in two games to set up a semi final against the unseeded Korean Sung Ji Hyun. The unseeded Thai player Porntip Buranaprasertsuk continued her improbable run with a win over Japan’s Sayaka Sato to book her place in the semi final against Wang Shixian.
Four seeds remain in the men’s doubles, with a double interest for the Korean fans as they have a partnership in each of tomorrow’s semi finals. 4th seeded Ko and Yoo defeated the 7th seeded Fang and Lee to set up a semi final against the top seeded Boe and Mogensen, who defeated fellow Danish pair Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen in two games to reach the last 4. 2nd seeded Koo and Tan had to battle through a three-game match against Tazari and Ong to reach the semi final where they will play the 6th seeds and last years winners, Lee and Jung who defeated the Korean qualifiers Kim and Kim in two games to book their place in the last 4.
The Chinese monopoly on the semi final spots in the women’s doubles has been derailed by the top seeded Chien and Cheng as they defeated the 7th seeded Ma and Cheng in a three-game matchup with the top seeds taking the final game 23-21. They will take on the 6th seeded Wang and Yu in the last 4 after they defeated the Hong Kong qualifiers Tse and Poon to reach the semi finals. The second semi final is an all-Chinese match, with 8th seeded Tian and Zhao taking on 5th seeded Du and Pan, with the 5th seeds defeating the 2nd seeded Maeda and Suetsuna in three-game, 62 minute match.
Just like in the women’s singles, three Chinese are joined by a sole Korean. Zhang and Zhao held off Ahmad and Natsir in three games to book their place in the last 4, where they will play the unseeded Ma and Xu, with Ma Jin exacting revenge on her previous partner He Hanbin and partner Yu Yang in a two game victory for the unseeded pair over the 8th seeds. Ko and Ha of Korea are the highest seeds left in the draw at 4 and also ended the run of the 7th seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen of Denmark in the quarter final, winning in three tight games. The Korean pair now take on the 6th seeded Tian and Jiaming of China, last weeks runners up in this event in Malaysia. The Chinese pair defeated the Chinese Taipei pair of Chen and Cheng in three games to continue their excellent form in 2011.
The massive Chinese presence saw some of the mainstream and formidable players humbled by the new generation of Chinese talent in Seoul in the second round. Whilst the day also seen several seeded players lose out to their unseeded opponents.
The top three seeds in the mens singles remain in the draw, with Lee Chong Wei bouncing back from his opening round match to defeat Park Sung Hwan in two games to set up a quarterfinal with Chinese qualifier Wang Zhengming, who defeated his team mate and current world champion Chen Jin in an impressive 21-11, 21-14 victory. Chen Long and Bao Chunlai also suffered losses in the second round, with 4th seeded Chen Long losing out to Kenichi Tago of Japan whilst 8th seeded Bao Chunlai was defeated by Du Pengyu in a 21-16, 21-13 win for the unseeded Chinese player.
The bottom half has two fantastic matchups, with Simon Santoso taking on the 3rd seeded Peter Gade, with both players in excellent form and have not dropped a game in reaching the last 8. The second match is one of the oldest rivalries of the current crop of players, with 6th seeded Lin Dan and 2nd seed Taufik Hidayat. Lin Dan has been throughly impressive in reaching the last 8, winning both of his matches comfortably whilst Taufik Hidayat narrowly won his second round match over Wong Wing Ki in three games to book his place in the last 8.
The probability of an all-Chinese final looms large in the womens singles, with several of the contenders crashing out on the second day. 4th seed Saina Nehwal suffering a surprise defeat to Sayaka Sato of Japan in their three-game match, 7th seeded Juliane Schenk also lost out to unseeeded Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in another three-game encounter and plays Sakaya Sato for a place in Saturday’s semi final. The other match in the bottom half of the draw seeds the two remaining seeds in this half play one another, 2nd seeded Wang Shixian plays 5th seeded Tine Baun with both players in excellent form on route to the last 8, neither player dropping a game on route to the quarter final.
The top half has three Chinese seeds and a sole Korean representative making up the four. Top seeded Wang Xin has dropped just 49 points on route to the last 8, where she takes on Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun who defeated the 8th seeded Bae Youn Joo in three games to book her place in the quarter finals. The final quarter final is an All-Chinese affair, with 3rd Wang Yihan takes on her second Chinese player this week, after defeating Lu Lan in the second round. Her opponent in the last 8 is the 6th seeded Jiang Yanjiao who has like Wang Yihan, failed to drop a game on route to tomorrow’s quarter final.
The men’s doubles has three different nations all taking on their countrymen for a place in the last 4. The first is an all-Danish matchup between the top seeded Boe and Mogensen who take on the pairing of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen, who defeated the 5th seeded Cai and Fu in a three game match today. There is an all-Korean match up between Kim and Kim, who defeated the 3rd seeded Kido and Setiawan. They take on the 6th seeds and last years winners Lee and Jung for a place in the last 4. The third and final match of this kind is an all-Malaysia encounter between Koo and Tan, seeded 2 and the unseeded pair of Ong and Tazari, who defeated the 8th seeded Chandra and Setiawan to reach the quarter finals.
The 4 Chinese seeds in the womens doubles loom large, with the potential of a Chinese monopoly on the semi final a distinct possibility. Top seeded Cheng and Chien take on the 7th seeded Cheng and Ma, with the Chinese pairing dropping just 49 points and spending just over an hour on court to this point. The unseeded pairing of Tse and Poon have the almighty task of taking on the on-form pairing of Wang and Yu, seeded 6th this week and in stunning form, winning three of their games to 3, 4 and 7 points and the fourth game to 12 points. The bottom half sees 8th seeded Tian and Zhao take on India’s Gutta and Ponnappa, who defeated the world #11 Fujii and Kakiiwa in the second round. The last of the quarter finals sees the 5th seeded Du and Pan take on Japan’s Suetsuna and Maeda, seeded 2nd and in excellent form in their opening two rounds.
The mixed doubles is without it’s two top seeds, losing the 2nd seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam to unseeded Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei. They take on 6th seeded Tian and Jiaming of China in their quarter final match. The other match in the bottom half seeds the 4th seeded Ko and Ha taking on the 7th seeded Pedersen and Fischer Neilsen, with the Danes being significantly more rested than their opponents who have struggled through two 3-game matches to reach this point. The top half of the draw is laden with Chinese potential winners, with Ma Jin taking on her ex-partner He Hanbin in the quarter final, as the 8th seeded Yu and He take on the unseeded Ma and Xu. The final quarter final sees the 2010 All-England winners Zhao and Zheng take on the Indonesian pair of Natsir and Ahmad.
The opening day of the Super Series Premier offered the opportunity for several of the world top players to stumble early, however all of them passed their opening round tests. The Chinese as expected faired well on the first full day of competition, with several of their new partnerships getting off to excellent starts in the doubles events.
The last 16 of the men’s singles is one befitting of this new Premier series of events, with even the second round match of Rajiv Ouseph and Simon Santoso being one of intrigue. Santoso defeated the 7th seeded Boonsak Ponsana, whose nightmare start to 2011 continues whilst Rajiv Ouseph defeated Hu Yun, ranked one place higher at #12 in the world in his opening round matchup. Lee Chong Wei survived a scare against Jan O Jorgensen, eventually progressing in three games to set up his second round match with Park Sung Hwan. Peter Gade’s opening Super Series match of 2011 was a excellent two game win over Indonesia’s Dionysuis Hayom Rumbaka, leaving him as the last Dane remaining in the draw. China however have 6 of the last 16 players in the singles, with all four of their seeded players progressing into round 2. The top half of the draw has 5 Chinese players in it, with Bao Chunlai taking on qualifier Wang Zhengming is what is unlikely to be the last all-Chinese match this week. Lin Dan is the sole representative in the bottom half of the draw and takes on Germany’s Marc Zwiebler in the second round.
All 8 of the seeded women are safely into the second round of the singles, with Tine Baun impressively beating China’s Li Xuerui in two games to book her place in the last 16. The four Chinese seeds are also joined in the last 16 by the 2009 world champion Lu Lan, who takes on 3rd seeded Wang Yihan in tomorrow’s second round. The Korean’s will have split allegiances in the second of the women’s singles matches as 8th seeded Bae Yoo Joun takes on Sung Ji Hyun in an all-Korean affair. Saina Nehwal had to battle all the way in her opening round match winning a tight three game match 22-20 in the final game.
Top seeded Boe and Mogensen survived a minor scare in their opening round match against Gan and Tan, needing eight attempts to win the opening game after leading 20-13 but eventually coming through in two games and take on the Japanese pairing of Kawamae and Sato. Cai and Fu progressed safely into round 2 and have set up one of the best matches in tomorrow’s order of play against the on-form Danish pair of Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen who avenged their loss in last week’s final in Malaysia to Chinese pair Chai and Guo. 4th seeded Korean pair Ko and Yoo are also safely into the second round and take on the partnership of Blair and Limpele in the last 16.
The prospect of an all-Chinese final in the women’s doubles is all the more likely with the loss of two non-Chinese seeds on the opening day, with 4th seeded Nedelcheva and Russkikh defeated by Indonesian’s Marissa and Melati. The 3rd seeds did no better, with Vislova and Sorokina defeated by last years runners-up in this event, Fujii and Kakiiwa of Japan. The four Chinese seeds all progressed easily into the second round with the loss of just one game between them, the 5th seeded Pan and Du were taken to three games by the Chinese Taipei pair of Hsien and Wang. The top two seeds also progressed without difficulty, with Chien and Cheng defeating the Danish pair of Rytter Juhl and Pedersen in two games and take on the Korean qualifiers of Eom and Kim in the second round.
The 3rd seeds in the mixed doubles, Mateusiak and Zieba suffered a crushing two game defeat to the new partnership of Xu and Ma as this new partnership hopes to continue in the long line of Chinese domination in this event. A potential quarter final match with old partner He Hanbin is on the cards for Ma Jin if both progress through tomorrow’s games, with Ma and Xu taking on semi finalists last week, Blair and White whilst He and Yu take on Korean qualifiers Kim and Yoo. 2010 All-England winners Zhang and Zhao made it a double disappointment for Anastasia Russkikh today, defeating her and partner Hendra Setiawan in two games and the 5th seeds set up a second round match with Rijal and Susanto of Indonesia.
The opening Premier event of 2011 ushers in a new era for badminton, with added prize funds now over $1,000,000 there is suddenly a massive incentive to play in these “Premier” events that will ultimately attract the best players in the world. The opening round in Korea has provided the strongest field since the World Championships in August, perhaps even stronger than that due the depth of certain nations that allows them to field more than 4 players from their nation.
The clear favourite going into this week is Lee Chong Wei, dominant in Malaysia in his home event and looking to be in similar form to his impressive 2010 campaign. He will need to be at his very best for his opening round match when he takes on the world number 9 Jan O Jorgensen in his opening round match, such is the depth of talent in this event. Potentially all of his opponents this week will be ranked inside the top 25 in the world, nothing that could ever be boasted before this week. The question marks over Lin Dan’s withdrawals over the last couple of months should end here, with no Chinese players in his half of the draw for him to conveniently withdraw before player, the chance of seeing the dream final against Lee Chong Wei is a strong possibility. However, he must overcome a qualifier in Round 1 and the potential of playing his long-time rivals Taufik Hidayat and Peter Gade in the later rounds is going to test the 6th seed to the very limit.
There are other high-caliber matches in the opening round in the singles, world number 4 and 4th seeded Chen Long takes on the world number 7 Tien Minh Nguyen who did not receive a seed for this week’s event and the on-form Simon Santoso takes on Boonsak Ponsana who will be looking to play better than last week in Malaysia.
The women’s singles will undoubtably be a mainly Chinese affair, with 4 of the 6 top seeds coming from China. Only Saina Nehwal (seeded 4) and Tine Baun (seeded 5) potentially posing any sort of challenge before the all-Chinese matches later in the week than has been the story of much of the later half of 2010. Top seed Wang Xin could have an all-Chinese match as early as the second round with Liu Xin a potential opponent, there is also Lu Lan and Li Xuerui in the draw to boost the potential for a Chinese monopoly this week. Wang Shixian takes on the world number 16 Salakjit Ponsana in her opening round match whilst the world number 5 Tine Baun’s campaign begins against Li Xuerui, seeded just six places lower than her in the current rankings. Saina Nehwal’s campaign will not run into a Chinese opponent at least until the semi final, but will potentially have a meeting with Germany’s Juliane Schenk to reach the last 4.
Local favourites Lee and Jung are hoping to retain their title from last year where they triumphed as the top seeds, 12 months later and they are the 6th seeds and begin with a match against the 2005 world champions Bach and Gunawan with Kido and Setiawan as well as Koo and Tan in their half of the draw. There is also potential banana skins in the draw with the unseeded Chinese pairings throughout the draw, Zhang and Xu are also in the bottom half of the draw whilst the likes of last weeks winners Chai and Guo who were seeded last week in Malaysia and play their opponents from that final in Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen in the opening round this week, with a potential matchup against Cai and Fu waiting in round 2. The top seeded Danish pair of Boe and Mogensen could almost boast to have an “easy” draw until the last 8, taking on the world #16 pairing of Gan and Tan of Malaysia in their opening round match.
The women’s doubles is one of the events this week where seedings simply don’t matter, this about how is on form that week, especially with the Chinese ladies playing at such a high level over the past few months. The two “favourites” for this week are the 6th seeded Wang/Xu and 7th seeds Cheng/Ma from China who are both in the top half of the draw whilst another Chinese pair is expected to come out of the bottom half for the expected all-Chinese final on Sunday. The other four seeds simply have to stop that happening, with top seeded pair Chien and Cheng taking on the Danish pair of Pedersen and Rytter Juhl and the 2nd seeds from Japan, Maeda and Suetsuna having to play into some sort of form before the expected matchup with the 5th seeded Chinese pair of Du and Pan.
Ma Jin’s excellent run with He Hanbin seemed to be a temporary one, as Yu Yang has returned as He Hanbin’s partner this week in what must be an increasingly annoying situation for one half of the current mixed doubles world champion. However her partner this week is the excellent Xu Chen but they begin their campaign against the 3rd seeded Polish pair of Mateusiak and Zieba. The main news from the mixed doubles draw is the withdrawal of the top seeded pair of Laybourn and Rytter Juhl, with Thomas Laybourn not recovering from an injury that cut his SuperSeries finals appearance short earlier in the month. The top half of the draw has been opened up for a Chinese monopoly with 4 pairings in the top half of the draw. 8th seeded He and Yu and 5th seeded Zhang and Zhao will look to capitalise on the opportunity. The bottom half is not without some excellent pairings also, with last week’s runners up Tian and Jaiming seeded 6. Ko and Ha are the big local hope, seeded 4th and taking on the German pairing of Fuchs and Michels in their opening round match.