17-year old Viktor Axelsen has been touted as the future of Danish badminton, from his junior world championship success last summer to his first victory on the European circuit in Cyprus in October 2010. Today, he arrived on the world stage with his 23-21, 21-15 victory over the 7th seeded Bao Chunlai of China.
With just two months before the world championships in London, the men’s singles is seeing a new generation come through to challenge the old guard. Wang Zhengming defeated top seeded Taufik Hidayat in three games to set up a quarter final against Viktor Axelsen whilst in the other quarter final in the top half, Chen Jin will take on Lee Hyun Il after both players defeated their seeded opponent in the second round, meaning no seed is left in the top half of the draw. In fact, just two seeds remain with 2nd seeded Lin Dan defeating Jan O Jorgensen in two games and 4th seeded Peter Gade defeating Rajiv Ouseph of England to book their places in the last 8.
Wang Lin’s retirement during her second round match against top seeded Wang Shixian could be a real scare after coming back from serious injury, the current world champion was 12-8 down in the opening game when she chose to pull out of the match. Wang Shixian will take on Juliane Schenk in the last 8. Saina Nehwal’s run this week ends even more abruptly than last week, with a three game defeat to Cheng Shao Chieh of Chinese Taipei who takes on the 6th seeded Tine Baun in the quarter finals. Wang Yihan is safely into the last 8 with two victories and takes on Yao Jie in the quarter finals after the Dutch woman defeated the 5th seeded Bae Youn Joo of Korea in two tight games.
There was another two seeded casualties in the men’s doubles, with Kido and Setiawan losing out to Endo and Hayakawa of Japan in two games to set up a quarter final against Lee and Jung of Korea, who have been impressive in their opening two matches. The second seed to crash out is the 8th seeded Ahsan and Septano, who lost out to Chinese qualifiers Shen and Hong to set up an all-Chinese quarter final against Cai and Fu. Germany’s pairing of Kindervater and Schoettler have been impressive this week and defeated the Danish pairing of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen to reach the last 8 this week and a chance to play the 7th seeded Chinese pairing of Chai and Guo.
All 7 seeds that started the week remain in the women’s doubles draw, with Indonesia’s Marissa and Melati making up the field. The top half of the draw has been fairly straight forward for the four pairs, with all winning in two games today. The bottom half has been much more competitive, with 6th seeded Ha and Kim needing three games to progress to their quarter final match against Jauhari and Polii. The 4th quarter final between Vislova and Sorokina and Fujii and Kakiiwa could be a battle of fitness, with both being involved in a lengthy and closely fought three game match to reach the last 8.
Asia dominates the mixed doubles field, with only Robertson and Wallwork stopping a complete monopoly on proceedings. The super-competitive top half has two fantastic quarter final matches, with top seeded Zhao and Zhang taking on their team-mates He and Yu in an all-Chinese match. Whilst the second quarter final sees the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir take on the unseeded pairing of Lee and Ha, playing just their second event together. The Korean pair defeated the 7th seeded Mateusiak and Zieba to reach the last 8. The English pairing of Robertson and Wallwork will be the third British pairing to take on the 2nd seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam after the Thai pair defeated Adcock and Bankier in round 1, then Blair and White in round 2. Robertson and Wallwork will hope it is third time lucky for them.
Denmark’s best chance of a title ended before play even started today, with Boe and Mogensen’s withdrawal and it went from bad to worse in the doubles for the Danes.
Peter Gade was one Danish highlight, with a two game victory against Tommy Sugiarto and he has been joined in the last 16 by another two Danes. Jan O Jorgensen defeated Kenichi Tago in two games to set up a second round match against Lin Dan, who also progressed comfortably into round 2. Viktor Axelsen reversed the result from last week’s Thailand Open and defeated Wong Choong Hann in two tight games to reach the second round, where he takes on the 7th seeded Bao Chunlai. Taufik Hidayat survived an early scare to reach the second round where he takes on Wang Zhengming of China, whilst world champion Chen Jin also survived a scare in the opening round before progressing to take on the 8th seed Park Sung Hwan.
The women’s singles continues to entertain in the early rounds, with Saina Nehwal against coming through against the 2009 world champion Lu Lan in three games to reach round 2. The second round sees an intriguing all-Chinese match between top seeded Wang Shixian and Wang Lin, the current world champion. The other two Chinese seeds progressed safely into the second round from their half of the draw, whilst Tine Baun is the main European threat in the draw and faces Sayaka Sato of Japan in her second round match.
The big shock in the mens doubles is the defeat of 3rd seeded Ko and Yoo to unseeded German pairing Kindervater and Schoettler in three games, further opening up the top half of the draw. There were more surprises as the 5th seeded Lee and Fang lost out to Indonesia’s Chandra and Gunawan, to leave the 7th seeded Chai and Guo as the lone seeds remaining in the top half of the draw. The bottom half was more straightforward for the seeds, with all 4 coming through their match in two games to reach the last 16.
The new Chinese pairing of Ma and Pan lasted just 76 minutes this week, before falling to the top seeded Maeda and Suetsuna. All England semi finalists Ropke and Damkjaer Kruse progressed in the tightest of matches, winning 23-21 in the deciding game to reach the last 16 and a match with the Chinese pairing of Tian and Zhao. There are 4 Japanese pairs into the last 16, with one all-Japanese match set for the second round as 2nd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa take on the unseeded Misaki and Takahashi for a place in the last 8.
Denmark’s strength in the mixed doubles discipline was dealt a huge blow with all three pairings crashing out in the opening round. 5th seeded and 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl lost out to Sato and Matsuo of Japan in two games, whilst the 3rd seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen lost tamely to Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei 21-15, 21-15 and the third pairing of Pieler Colding and Houmann faired the best of the three, but still lost out to Japanese pairing of Ikeda and Shiota. Top seeded Zhao and Zhang survived a three game match to progress into the last 16 and are joined in the top half of the draw by two other Chinese pairs of Xu and Ma as well as He and Yu.
The second of three events in June takes the world’s best to Singapore, with only Lee Chong Wei missing from the men’s singles field. China have all of their big names here this week ahead of next week’s Premier Series event in Indonesia too.
Taufik Hidayat is the top seed this week with Lee Chong Wei’s absence and could face a real battle to progress this week with three Chinese players in his half of the draw. Wang Zhengming likely waits in the second round with Bao Chunlai and Chen Long looming should the Indonesian progress into the weekend. Viktor Axelsen gets a second shot at Wong Choong Hann inside of a week and world champion Chen Jin is unseeded this week and is also in the top half of the draw. Lin Dan is the 2nd seed this week and starts his campaign aganinst Shon Wan Ho before likely taking on the winner of Jan O Jorgensen and Kenichi Tago. Peter Gade starts his campaign this week against Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia before likely quarter final match against Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand.
Saina Nehwal begins her campaign this week against Lu Lan, again. The 4th seeded Indian also has Tine Baun in her half of the draw, but the top seed is China’s Wang Shixian who could face Wang Lin in an all-Chinese 2nd round match. Wang Yihan and Wang Xin are the big threats from the bottom half of the draw, but there is unseeded threats in the way of Ai Goto, Eriko Hirose, Yao Jie and Pi Hongyan.
The big shock in the men’s doubles is the pre-event withdrawal of top seeded Danish pair Boe and Mogensen, with the pair in a poor run of form since their performance at the Sudirman Cup. The main beneficiaries are the 3rd seeded Ko and Yoo whose run in the top half of the draw has become all the more easier. The bottom half of the draw is headlined by Lee and Jung, seeded 2 and the 4th seeded Cai and Fu of China, who are set to meet at the semi final stages this week. The match to look out for tomorrow is the 6th seeded Kido and Setiawan taking on the unseeded Bach and Gunawan in the opening round.
With no Wang and Yu this week, the Japanese pair of Maeda and Suetsuna are top seeds this week. However they face a new Chinese partnership in Ma and Pan who are both accomplished players within the Chinese ranks and are playing their first event together. Tian and Zhao, last weeks winners in Thailand are also in the top half of the draw. The 2nd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa have less competitive half of the draw, with only Jauhari and Polii, Ha and Kim and Vislova and Sorokina as main threats to the Japanese pair.
The top half of the mixed doubles is loaded with potential winners, from the top seeded Zhang and Zhao to 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir and countless unseeded pairings capable of putting a good run this week together. Hashimoto and Fujii, He and Yu, Xu and Ma, Lee and Ha, Widianto and Marissa as well as Nikolaenko and Sorokina are all in the top half of the draw. The bottom half as a distinct European feel to it, from the 3rd seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen as well as the 5th seeded Laybourn and Rytter Juhl of Denmark. There are three British pairs in Robertson and Wallwork, Adcock and Bankier as well as German Open winners White and Blair but there is still a Chinese threat in the 6th seeded Jiaming and Tian.