The Chinese dominance has been the main talking point in Malaysia this week, but the local world number 1 has been quietly conducting his business under the radar this week. There may be 7 Chinese players or pairs in the final tomorrow, but the top seed in the mens singles will be the undoubted main attraction on finals day.
Lee Chong Wei’s 21-9, 21-9 victory over the 3rd seeded Chen Long was a statement of intent for 2011 as he edges ever close to his first title of 2011. His opponent in tomorrow’s final is the 2nd seeded Taufik Hidayat who won his all-Indonesian clash with Simon Santoso in two games also. Their 17th meeting tomorrow is a real barometer for the year ahead to see if Taufik has narrowed the gap to the elite two or if Lee Chong Wei domination continues into 2011.
Wang Yihan continued her streak over the top seeded Wang Xin to 4 matches in their semi final, with the 3rd seeded winning the first of the all-Chinese semi finals. Jiang Yanjiao couldn’t make it a pair of upsets in the second semi final, losing to the 2nd seeded Wang Shixian in two tight games. The final will be the 4th meeting between the two, with Wang Yihan leading the head-to-head 2-1.
The mens doubles boasts the last of the European interest this week, with the unseeded Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen defeating their Japanese opponents, Kawamae and Sato in two games to book their place in the final. They will take on the 5th seeded Chai and Guo in the final after their win over the 6th seeded Ahsan and Septano of Indonesia in two games.
The women’s doubles sees 4 Chinese pairs come down to 2 for the final tomorrow, such is the strength and depth in this event. Ex-partners Ma and Jin battled, with the latter taking the victory with partner Yu in two tight games. The 6th seeds will take on the 8th seeded Zhao and Tian after their win over the 5th seeded Pan and Du in another tight two game match.
Tian would also reach the mixed doubles final with partner Jiaming after their two game victory over the British pair of White and Blair in one of the more comfortable victories of the day, winning 21-11, 21-15. They will take on another Chinese pair in Ma and He who were a game and 17-14 up in the second when the 6th seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen were forced to retire.
With an invested interest in most of the matches today, the Chinese squad had plenty of reasons to be confident about progressing into several of tomorrow’s semi final matches. There were two all-Chinese matchups that didn’t take place, with Lin Xiu withdrawing from her match against Jiang Yanjiao and Lin Dan pulling out of his match against Chen Long, the second time in just over a month.
Lee Chong Wei’s run to the last 4 has been as impressive as ever, without the loss of a game to date and brushing aside the 8th seeded Tien Minh Nguyen in a one-sided two game matchup and the Malaysian’s sixth win over Nguyen in their 7 meetings. Taufik Hidayat disposed of Kenichi Tago in two games in his semi final and his reward is an all-Indonesian semi final against Simon Santoso. Chen Long will have to make the most of his extra day of rest as he takes on the top seeded Lee Chong Wei.
The women’s singles has turned into a four-women Chinese shootout for the title, with the top 4 seeds all progressing to this stage. Wang Xin takes on Wang Yihan whilst Wang Shixian takes on Jiang Yanjiao in tomorrow semi finals. Both of the matches tomorrow sees the lower seeded player with the better of their higher seeded opponent in their recent head to heads also.
Another seeded was toppled in the mens doubles, with Chandra and Gunawan losing out to Danish pair Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen in a tight two game battle. The remaining two seeds will play each other in the second semi final, with 6th seeded Ahsan and Septano taking on Chai and Guo of China, the 5th seeds.
The women’s doubles has a similar feel to the singles, with all 4 pairings coming from China. Former partners Ma and Jin face off in their new pairings in the second of the semi finals, whilst the elder stateswomen of the Chinese game play in their first semi final with Zhao and Tian taking on Du and Pan for a place in Sunday’s final.
The European interest in the tournament has been poor in the previous four disciplines, but the mixed doubles can boast two couples from Europe. Unseeded pairing of Blair and White have been one of the stories of the week with their unlikely run in their first event taking them to the last 4 where they will play Jiaming and Tian, the 5th seeds from China. The other semi final sees the 7th seeded He and Ma take on the 6th seeded Danes, Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen who defeated the 3rd seeded Zhang and Zhao in China’s only defeat on quarter finals day.
Day 2 in Malaysia and the first major surprises in the tournament were in the mens singles, with the perennial top-10 ranked players losing out in their second round matches.
6th seeded Boonsak Ponsana was the first to suffer a surprise defeat to Alamyah Yunus in a three game encounter lasting 72 minutes and just over an hour later, current world champion and 4th seeded Chen Jin lost his own second round in a 73-minute matchup with world number 27, Simon Santoso who claimed his first victory over the 4th seed in his sixth match against the Chinese player.
The rest of the seeds remaining had little problem in reaching the last 8, with Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei on a crash course in Saturday’s semi final if the pair can defeated their opponents tomorrow. Lee Chong Wei takes on Tien Minh Nguyen with both players reaching the last 8 without the loss of a game to date whilst Lin Dan takes on his Chinese team mate Chen Long in his quarter final, with the questions finally being answered of how close Chen Long is to beating the Olympic champion after the withdrawal of Lin Dan in China last month allowed Chen Long a free pass into the last 4. There were also wins for Taufik Hidayat and Kenichi Tago today and their reward is a matchup against one another for a place in the last 4.
All 4 of the women’s singles quarter final have a Chinese interest, such is the strength and depth of the Chinese squad. Top seeded Wang Xin was pushed to three games of Mew Choo Wong in her second round match and will be tested again with the 5th seeded Juliane Schenk being her opponent in tomorrow’s match. 2nd seeded Wang Shixian and 3rd seeded Wang Yihan have had little problem in reaching the last 8, with neither player dropping a game on route to this stage whilst the 4th of the quarter finals is an all-Chinese matchup between Jiang Yanjiao and Liu Xin, both have survived a three game match to reach the last 8 but this will be their biggest test to date with Liu Xin being one of the breakthrough players of the last few months for China, reaching 23 in the world rankings.
The men’s doubles is losing it’s compliment of seeded players on a daily basis, today saw the end of the 4th seeded Hashimoto and Hirata’s title challenge as well as the 7th seeded Bach and Gunawan losing out to Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen of Denmark. Ko and Yoo begun their campaign with a straight forward two game victory and will take on Chai and Guo in their last 8 match up, whilst the two Indonesian seeds are also safely into the last 8. Chandra and Gunawan are through to face the Danish pair of Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen whilst the 6th seeded Ahsan and Septano are through to take on the Korean pair of Cho and Kwon in their quarter final match.
The women’s doubles is another event laden with Chinese interest, with all four quarter final matches having Chinese players in it. Du and Pan, seeded 5 will take on the top seeded Cheng and Chien in the first of the quarter finals, with both coming through three game matches in the second round to book their place in the last 8. 8th seeded Tian and Zhao take on the unseeded Singapore pair of Sari and Yao with both duos in fine form without the loss of a game to date. Ma and Cheng take on Ha and Kim of Korea, another match with both pairs coming into the match in excellent form. The most intriguing of the 4 matches is the match between Wang and Yu, seeded 6 against the 2nd second Nedelcheva and Russkikh with the most dominant performances this week coming from their two pairs who have progressed with the loss of 70 points in 8 games to this point.
With six of the eight seeds remaining, the possibility of a winner coming from one of those six is high especially with the remaining two unseeded duos playing each other in the quarter final. Thai pairing of Voravichitchaikul and Anugritayawon take on the Scottish/English partnership of Robert Blair and Gabby White after both came through their difficult second round matches without the loss of a game between the two matches. The highest remaining seeds are the Korean pair of Ko and Ha who take on the 7th seeded pairing of He and Ma, a rematch of their second round match in Hong Kong last month that the Koreans won convincingly in two games.
The draws for the 2010 World Championships were made in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, there were little doubts about the top seed in the men’s singles draw with Lee Chong Wei taking the #1 seed but there will be no rematch of the 2009 final in Paris on August 29.
Lee Chong Wei begins his campaign against Kevin Cordon, the world number 46 from Guatemala and could face a tricky second round match against world #22 Muhammad Hafiz Hashim in an all-Malaysian second round encounter. The other seed in Lee Chong Wei’s section is Jan O Jorgensen, seeded 11. The Dane has had a disappointing 2010 after bursting onto the world scene with victory over Peter Gade in Denmark and reaching the Chinese Super Series final in 2009. He begins his campaign against the Austrian Michael Lahnsteiner, ranked 86 in the world. His second round encounter will be a much tougher match with one of the best matches of the opening round with Eric Pang taking on Rajiv Ouseph for the chance to play Jorgensen or Lahnsteiner in Round 2.
Taufik Hidiyat received the 5th seed and with that, he plays Ola Fagbemi of Nigeria who is the lowest ranked player in the draw, ranked #122 in the world. His likely second round opponent is ranked almost 100 places higher in the world rankings, world #23 Yu Shin Hsieh of Chinese Taipei who takes on Portugal’s Pedro Martins in Round 1. The other seed is Kenichi Tago, one of the breakout stories of 2010 who is the #12 seed and faces the Czech national champion Petr Koukal, the world #48 in the opening round.
Lin Dan has barely played in 2010, but is still the Chinese #1 and seeded 3 for the Worlds and begins his campaign against Ali Shahhossieni of Iran, ranked 110 in the world before potentially playing the winner of the all-European match between Henrik Toth and Henri Hurskainen in the second round. The conspiracy theorists will claim that Lin Dan’s opening two matches could be the easiest run to the last 16 of any of the seeds, with only Hurskainen inside the top 50 in the world (ranked 50th). His first big test will be against Bao Chunlai, seeded 10 and the player who defeated him in the 2010 All England. The 10th seed begins against Yan Kit Chan who is current ranked 20th in the world in one of the hardest opening round match for any seed. If anything, the winner of this match will have an easier second round match, playing the winner of David Snider of Canada (ranked 89) and Scotland’s Alistair Casey (ranked 78).
Tien Minh Nguyen may not have won in Chinese Taipei to gain him more ranking points but is still seeded 7 and plays the world number 62 Ukrainian Valeriy Atrashchenkov in his opening round match. The winner of Raul Must and Dieter Domke is likely to play the Vietnamese player in round 2. Park Sung Hwan is the other seed in this section, the 13th seeded Korean takes on Derek Wong Zi Liang of Singapore, ranked 79 in the world with Park likely to play the winner of another all-European clash between Matthieu Lo Ying Ping and Vladimir Ivanov in the opening round.
The opening section from the bottom half of the draw is arguably the hardest one to come out of, with England’s Carl Baxter, ranked 27 in the world taking on Slovakia’s Michal Matejka for the chance to play the 9th seeded Boonsak Ponsana, should he defeat world number 52 Vladimir Malkov of Russia. The other seed is Simon Santoso, winner in Chinese Taipei and seeded 8. He takes on Poland’s Przemyslaw Wacha, ranked 37 in the world with the winner of that match taking on the winner of Scott Evans, ranked 45 in the world and Hsuan Yi Hsueh of Chinese Taipei, ranked 41 in the world.
The 14th seed Chetan Anand begins his campaign against Ashton Chen Ong Zhao, ranked 112th in the world in one of the bigger mismatches of the opening round and likely to play the winner of Dmytro Zavadsky and Stephan Wojcikiewicz, ranked 47 and 56 respectively. The other seed in the section is the 4th seeded Chen Jin who begins his campaign against Finland’s #1 and world #53 Ville Lang in his opening round. The other match and potentially Chen Jin’s second round opponent is between Kestutis Navickas of Lithuania, the world number 59 and Scotland’s #1 Kieran Merrilees, ranked 72 in the world.
Wong Choong Hann received the 16th seed and will take on France’s own Simon Maunoury in his opening round match in the French capital, but the world number 81 will need to play the match of his life to reach round 2. The other match to determine the winner of the Wong/Maunoury match is between Iran’s Kaveh Mehrabi, ranked 92nd in the world and Kazushi Yamada of Japan, ranked 30 in the world. Sony Kuncoro won in Macau two weeks ago and the 6th seed comes into the championships in excellent form and begins his campaign against Misha Zilberman of Israel, ranked 84th in the world in round 1. Another all-European clash is the last match in the section with world #25 Dicky Palyama of Holland taking on the 3rd Frenchman in the draw, US Open runner-up Brice Leverdez for a place in round 2.
The final section is the only one with two European seeds, with 15th seed Marc Zwiebler taking on the Czech Jan Vondra in his opening round match and a second all-European match guarantees at least one European in the last 16, with Sweden’s Magnus Sahlberg taking on Pablo Abian of Spain. Peter Gade comes into the competition as the number 2 seed and starts his campaign against Brazilian Daniel Paiola, ranked 74 in the world. The big news from this section of the draw is world number 15 Yun Hu not receiving a seeding for the event despite Chen Long not being able to play as China’s #4 and world #10 and plays Shon Wan Ho of Korea, the world number 35 in his opening match and a likely second round match against Peter Gade, which would likely be the match of the second round.
The 2009 World Championships runners-up are looking to go one better than last year, Lee Yong Dae missed most of the last 4 months with injury but Lee and Jung are the form partnership going into this months World Championships after a convincing 21-10, 21-16 victory over fellow Korean’s Cho and Kwon, the 6th seeds. The Korean success story continued in the women’s doubles, as Lee Hyo Jung put her injury scare in Macau behind her as she took the title with partner Kim Min Jung, defeating another unseeded Korean pair of Lee and Yoo, winning 21-14, 22-20.
Top seeds Hendra Gunawan and Vita Marissa claimed the mixed doubles title in an all-Indonesian final, taking the title in three tight games against the 5th seeded Ahmad and Natsir and claiming revenge for their two game loss to Ahmad and Natsir in Macau just last week, winning 22-20, 14-21, 22-20. Title number two for Indonesia came in the men’s singles with 3rd seeded Simon Santoso defeating the unseeded Korean Shon Wan Ho in a impressive two game victory to boost his confidence ahead of the World Championships in Paris later this month.
The local support had their own reasons to celebrate as Cheng Shao Chieh took the women’s singles title, defeating 3rd seeded Bae Sueng Hee of Korea. Cheng defeated the 8th, 4th and 3rd seed to take the title after a 78 minute marathon, winning 21-11, 24-26, 21-17.
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.
This week turned into an opportunity for Zhou Mi to win her first ranking event of 2010 but was defeated by unseeded Li Xuerui to continue her winless streak this year. The women’s singles final will be contested by another unseeded player, Indonesia’s Adriyanti Firdasari is through to tomorrow’s final after a two game victory in her semi final.
Lee Chong Wei dropped his first game of the week, but fought back to win his semi final encounter against Simon Santoso, the 4th seed from Indonesia. He will play the unseeded Lee Hyun Il in the final, a player who only made it into the main draw after Peter Gade’s withdrawal earlier in the week. The Korean defeated the 5th seeded Boonsak Ponsana in two games to book his place in tomorrow’s final against the World #1.
There was yet another shock, this time in the men’s doubles as Ko and Yoo defeated the 2nd seeds, Kido and Setiawan to book their place in tomorrows final against the 3rd seeds, Chandra and Gunawan. They defeated the other unseeded Korean pair of Cho and Kwon in their semi final to book their place in tomorrow’s final.
The top seeds in the women’s doubles are out also, Maeda and Suetsuna were defeated by last weeks winners in the US, Cheng and Chien of Chinese Taipei. The 3rd seeds will play the 5th seeds Jauhari and Polii of Indonesia who ended the hopes of the 6th seeds, Zhang and Zhang of Macau. The mixed doubles is an all-Indonesian final, with top seeds Gunawan and Marissa taking on Ahmad and Natsir. The 6th seeds ended the impressive run of another Indonesian pair, Teng and Bernadet.
It was a bad day to be the 3rd seed in both singles events as both fell at the quarter final stage today. Eriko Hirose lost in the women’s singles to unseeded Adriyanti Firdasari of Indonesia in two games whilst Sony Kuncoro lost out to the 5th seeded Boonsak Ponsana in three tight games, losing 25-23 in the final game in 77 minutes.
Lee Chong Wei had no such problems in his two game win over Wan Ho Shon of Korea, his fourth straight victory without the loss of a game this week. In the semi final, he will play 4th seed Simon Santoso after his stunning 21-6, 21-5 victory over Wing Ki Wong of Hong Kong. The other semi final sees Boonsak Ponsana take on the Korean qualifier Lee Hyun Il who defeated the 13th seed Hsieh Yu Hsing of Chinese Taipei.
The women’s singles draw has just one seed remaining in Zhou Mi, the 4th seed defeated on-form Ai Goto in two games to book her place in the semi final against unseeded Li Xuerui of China, who defeated Macau’s Wang Rong in three games to book her place in the last 4. The other semi final sees Adriyanti Firdasari take on Chinese Taipei’s unseeded Shao Chieh Cheng, who profited in the women’s doubles from Lee Hyo Jung’s retirement in the opening round.
Shao Chieh Cheng’s run in the women’s doubles ended today with a tight two game loss to 6th seeded Zhang and Zhang of Macau. The Macau pair take on Jauhrai and Polii of Indonesia in the semi finals after the 5th seeds defeated 2nd seeed Chin and Wong of Malaysia. The two highest seeded pairs remaining in the draw play each other in the other semi final, as top seeds Maeda and Suetsuna of Japan play Cheng and Chien of Chinese Taipei, the 3rd seeds and last weeks winners in the US Open.
The top 2 seeds from the men’s doubles are still in the competition and are joined in the last 4 by two unseeded Korean pairs. 2nd seeded Kido and Setiawan, who have failed to drop a game this week take on Ko and Yoo of Korean who defeated Endo and Hayakawa 22-20 in the third of their quarter final match. The other Korean pair, Cho and Kwon take on the 3rd seed Chandra and Gunawan in the last 4 for a place in Sunday’s final.
The mixed doubles is between 3 Indonesian pairs and a Thai partnership. Top seed Gunawan and Marissa take on the 8th seeds Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand, who have yet to drop a game on route to the last 4. The other semi final is an all-Indonesian match between 6th seeded Ahmad and Natsir against the on-form unseeded pair of Teng and Bernadet who have defeated two seeds on route to the last 4 without the loss of a game to date.
The last 16 was going to see some all-seeded counters, so the expectation was that some seeds would fall, but there was still some unlikely casualties on day 3.
Lee Chong Wei however was not one of them as he safely booked his place in the last 8 with a routine two game victory in 30 minutes. He plays the 15th seeded Wan Ho Shon of Korea in the last 8 after a tight three game victory over Hu Yun, the 8th seed from Hong Kong. There were victories for the 3rd seeded Sony Kuncoro and 4th seed Simon Santoso also, as well as the 5th seeded Boonsak Ponsana who sets up a quarter final match against Sony Kuncoro tomorrow. The qualifier Lee Hyun Il is also through to the last 8 after an impressive two game victory over 11th seeded Yan Kit Chan.
The highest seed in the women’s singles , Jie Yao crashed out to China’s Li Xuerui in two close games and sets up a quarter final match against Macau’s Wang Rong who defeated the talented Japanese player Sayaka Sato to book her place in the last 8. There was little problems with Eriko Hirose after surprisingly dropping the opening game against Chinese qualifer Suo Di, but fought back to take the next two games in impressive fashion. The quarter final to watch tomorrow is between Ai Goto of Japan, who fought through a tight three game encouter with Deng Xuan of China. She will play the 4th seeded Zhou Mi who is having her best run in a tournament for a number of months, she also battled through her second round match in three games.
Only two seeds remain in the men’s doubles, 3rd seeded Chandra and Gunawan defeated their Korean opponents Kim and Shin in three games to book their place in the quarter finals whilst the 2nd seeded Kido and Setiawan had little troubles in their two game victory over Chan and Lim of Malaysia. The two seeded partnerships cannot meet until the final. Whilst in the women’s doubles draw, 6 of the 8 remaining partnerships are seeded, with Ng and Ng over Malaysia defeating the 7th seeded Thai pairing of Amitrapai and Munkit in three games. Cheng and Cheng of Chinese Taipei are the other unseeded pair in the draw, defeating Chan and Chau in two games, who defeated the 4th seeds in their opening round match.
The mixed doubles is dominated by South East Asia, only two Korean partnerships break up the monopoly in the last 8. Top seeds Marissa and Gunawan faught back from a game down to progress to the last 8 and set up an all-Indonesian match against Rijal and Susanto. The first of the Korean couples through is the 4th seeded Ko and Ha who came through a tight three game match to book their place in tomorrow’s quarter final. The other Korean pair in the draw is qualifiers Kwon and Jang who have taken the place of their higher profile Korean players Lee and Lee slot in their quarter of the draw, they will take on the 6th seeded Ahmad and Natsir of Indonesia.