The first full day of play begun in Birmingham with the organisers hoping not to repeat the farcical start to the 2012 tournament. Play begun at 9am on Wednesday and mercifully ended on Wednesday, albeit well after 11pm but the first day of this years edition of the All England will be remembered for the amount of seeds crashing out on the opening day of play.
Seeds Tested in Men’s Singles
Kenichi Tago was the sole seed that progressed into the second round without the loss of a game, defeating Viktor Axelsen in his opening round match. Hu Yun and Du Pengyu were the big name casualties of the first round, with Lee Chong Wei, Chen Long, Sony Dwi Kuncoro, Chen Jin and Tien Minh Nguyen all needing three games to progress to the last 16.
Lee Chong Wei takes on Wang Zhengming in the pick of the second round matches, with Chen Long also likely to be tested against Takuma Ueda of Japan. Jan O Jorgensen flys the flag for Europe and takes on Sony Dwi Kuncoro in a miserable day for European badminton, with just six wins coming in 29 matches over the course of the opening days play.
Chinese Misery In Women’s Singles
There is usually five to seven Chinese players left in the draw at the last 16 stage, but this week just three remain. Li Han takes on Tine Baun whilst the other two Chinese players, Wang Shixian and Jiang Yanjiao play against one another in the second round. The major shocks in the competition come at the expense of China with Olympic champion Li Xuerui losing in two games to Bae Yeon Ju whilst the third seeded Wang Yihan lost to Indonesia’s Lindaweri Fanetri, also in two games.
Both Saina Nehwal and Wang Shixian needed three games to ensure their passage into the second round but there was no such trouble for the European seeds. Juliane Schenk set up a tough second round match against P.V. Sindhu and Tine Baun’s future in the All England and her career will be tested to the full by Li Han of China.
Lee/Ko Crash Out
A pre-match withdrawal from Cai and Fu weakened the event but the shock loss of Lee and Ko to Germany’s Kindervater and Schoettler was perhaps the biggest positive from a European standpoint on the day. The loss of Cai and Fu as well as Lee and Ko has made the top half of the men’s doubles draw all the easier for the top seeded Boe and Mogensen, who take on China’s Liu and Qiu in tomorrow’s second round.
Moren and Szkudlarczyk provided their own shock in the bottom half, with a three game victory over the 5th seeded Hong and Shen to ensure there would not be a full compliment of seeds in the bottom half of the draw. Koo and Tan defeated Ellis and Adcock to end English hopes in the competition, with Robert Blair partnering Tan Bin Shen who take on the 4th seeded Endo and Hayakawa in the second round.
Asian Dominance In Women’s Doubles
The second seeded Danish pair of Pedersen and Rytter Juhl crashed out to Bao and Tian in the opening round, ending any hope of a European threat in the women’s doubles. Wang and Yu progressed safely into the second round, joined there by Ma and Tang as well as Cheng and Zhao. Zhao and Tian were previously partners but will play against one another for the first time in their new partnerships in the second round tomorrow.
The sixteen remaining pairs all hail from Asia, with all four European pairs crashing out in the first round. Jenny Wallwork’s retirement in the days leading up to the All England surprised many and asks the question about how far her and partner Alex Langley would have gone in the event this year.
Danish Disaster In Mixed Doubles
Christinna Pedersen’s opening day ended in disaster as her and partner Joachim Fischer Neilsen were the only seeds not the progress into the last 16, beaten by the Indonesian pair of Kido and Bernadeth. Xu and Ma defeated Adcock and White to set-up an all-Chinese second round match against Qiu and Bao. Zhang and Zhao made light work of another Danish pair, Pieler Kolding and Rytter Juhl to reach the last 16.
Day 1 Results:
Even with all the Chinese withdrawals that have marred the week’s play, they still have a chance at four of the five titles in Seoul. Only the men’s doubles will not feature a Chinese pair but instead have Korean and Danish interest in tomorrow’s final. Lee Yong Dae will look to go one better than last year after suffering defeat to Cai and Fu in the 2012 final.
Lee Chong Wei has rarely been troubled on route to the final and Wong Wing Ki did little to challenge the top seed in a one-sided semi final. Du Pengyu will be the Malaysian’s opponent in the first Super Series final of 2013 after his two game victory over Sony Dwi Kuncoro, who returned to the top 10 in the world rankings this week.
Wang Shixian will be the sole Chinese player in a women’s singles final as she looks to defend her title against Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun in a rematch of the 2010 final that the Chinese player won in two games. It is Wang Shixian’s fourth consecutive final in Korea and has won two of her three finals to date.
The world number 1 pairing of Boe and Mogensen takes on the form pair in Lee and Ko in the men’s doubles final. They have met once previously in China at the last Premier event of 2012, which the Danish pair won in two games. Only the Danes have dropped a game this week, in their semi final victory over Hong and Shen whilst Lee and Ko defeated the second seeded Koo and Tan to reach the final.
The women’s and mixed doubles final will be all-Chinese affairs, both featuring Ma Jin. Ma and Tang take on the top seeded Wang and Yu after their three game victory over Pedersen and Rytter Juhl, seeded 2nd this week. It was their second win against a higher seeded pair after their victory over Matsutomo and Takahashi in the quarterfinals. The top seeded Xu and Ma take on Zhang and Zhao as they renew their rivalry that begun at this event two years ago. It will be their 14th meeting, with Xu and Ma failing to any matchups in 2012 and winning just 2 of the previous 13 encounters.
Semi Final Results:
20 matches were scheduled for Friday, but only 19 took place as the all-Chinese match between the top seeded Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang and the 6th seeded Zhao Yunlei and Cheng Shu resulted in a wakover victory for the top seeds. Another asterisk will put next to another victory between two Chinese pairs.
Lee Chong Wei successfully reached the last 4 with a two game victory over Hu Yun and takes on Wong Wing Ki in the first of the semi finals. Sony Dwi Kuncoro has been having a renaissance in the past few months and continues his excellent form with a victory over Takuma Ueda to reach the last 4. His opponent in the semi final will be Du Pengyu of China, with the Indonesian holding a 3-1 advantage in their head to head, defeating the Chinese player in their most recent matchup in China just 2 months ago.
Saina Nehwal was the latest big name casualty in the women’s singles, losing to China’s Li Han in three games as the world number 26 continues her incredible rise up the world rankings. Sung Ji Hyun will be her opponent in the semi finals, with the world number 7 being Korea’s last chance of a singles title in Seoul this year. The second semi final will also be a tightly contested match between te enigmatic Wang Shixian and the future of Japanese badminton, Minatsu Mitani. Mitani has rised to world number 10 and defeated Wang Shixian in the last meeting in China in September but a victory for the 5th seed would edge her back closer towards the top 4 in the world rankings.
Lee and Ko safely progressed into the semi finals as they look for their second title of their new partnership. They take on Koo and Tan in the semi finals, who defeated the Korean pair on their Super Series debut in Denmark last year. Since then Lee and Ko have avenged that defeat and broke into the top 10 of the world rankings. Top seeded Boe and Mogensen take on the 7th seeded Hong and Shen in the second semi final, with the Danes holding a 2-1 head to head lead against the Chinese pair but their only victory came at this event 12 months ago.
Jung and Kim ended any possibility of an all-Chinese semi final with a victory over Bao and Tian to set up a semi final against Wang and Yu. It will the first time since their Olympic farce that these two pairs will be against one another. Ma and Tang ensure there is still a possibility of an all-Chinese final in the event, but they will take on the 2nd seeded Danish pair of Pedersen and Rytter Juhl in their semi final but the Chinese pair hold the advantage in their head to head, winning their only matchup to date at the French Open last year.
Ma Jin and Christinna Pedersen are the last two players left this week capable of taking two titles and in the mixed doubles they are on separate sides of the draw. Ma and Xu take on the 5th seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in the first semi final with the Chinese pair winning all 4 of their matchups so far. Olympic champions Zhang and Zhao take on the Danish pair of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen with the 6th seeds claiming two victories at the Super Series finals at the end of 2012 to take a 6-4 advantage in their head to head.
Day 3 Results:
It was a day of shocks in Singapore with the men’s singles draw losing three seeds in the opening round, most notably the top seeded Sho Sasaki losing to Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen.
Sasaki, Hidayat and Du Pengyu Out
Long before Sasaki’s loss to Axelsen, the 5th seeded Du Pengyu had crashed out to the on-form Sony Dwi Kuncoro in a one-sided match and was followed in the very next match on court by Wei Feng Chong defeating the 7th seeded Taufik Hidayat in a tighter two game loss then the previous match. The big shock was the victory of Viktor Axelsen over Sho Sasaki in three games, the 49-minute match saw Axelsen ease into a one game lead before letting the second game slip but claimed the victory in a 21-10, 15-21, 21-12 victory to set up a second round match against Anand Pawar of India.
Juliane Schenk is the highest seed in the women’s singles this week and started off with a two game victory over Salakjit Ponsana. The next two highest seeds players are the 3rd seeded Sung Ji Hyun whose two game victory set up a second round match against Fu Mingtian of Singapore. Cheng Shao Chieh is the highest seed in the top half of the draw and takes on Chen Jiayuan who defeated Jie Yao to book her place in the second round.
A Near Full Compliment Of Seeds Remain
Apart from the pre-event withdrawals, every seed has safely progressed except 1 is into the last 16. Ko and Yoo are the the highest seeds in the men’s doubles after Lee and Jung pulled out before the event and safely reached the last 16, defeating Smith and Warfe of Australia in two games. Their biggest threat from the top half of the draw will be the Indonesian pairing of Kido and Setiawan, the 4th seeds defeated the Austrian pairing of Koch and Zauner to reach the 2nd round.
All eight seeds are into the last 16 of the women’s doubles, with several pairs receiving opening round byes. Sari and Yao are the big local hope this week, but the 7th seeds needed three games to reach the last 16. The mixed doubles are without the top seeds and 5th seeds this week after both withdraw pre-event. The only doubles seed to fall is the 8th seeded Rijal and Susanto of Indonesia, who were defeated by Yoo and Jang of Korea.
The Chinese contingent in Indonesia lost some of it’s stars as Saina Nehwal claimed her 3rd victory against Wang Shixian in a 96-minute classic.
Unlikely Bunch In Last 4
Parupalli, Hu, Santoso and Du. One of those four names would claim the men’s singles title and their first Premier Series title. Parupalli’s stunning week continued with a victory over Hans-Kristian Vittinghus to set up a semi final against Simon Santoso of China. Du Pengyu ended the run of Sony Dwi Kuncoro to book his place in the last four against Hu Yun of Hong Kong, who defeated Tien Minh Nguyen to reach the semi final stage.
Both Wang Xin and Wang Shixian crashed out of the women’s singles, with the 2nd seed losing out to Sung Ju Hyun in two close games. Wang Shixian lost her third of her four meetings with Saina Nehwal, with the 3rd seed having to save three match points to win in the second game but Nehwal was too strong in the third and booked her place in the last 4. The other semi final is an all-Chinese affair between the top seeded Wang Yihan and Li Xuerui, seeded 4. Both defeated their European opponents in the semi final, with Wang Yihan needing just two games to defeat Tine Baun.
World’s Elite Into Last 4
Whilst the singles had an unlikely bunch at this stage of the week, the doubles was very much business as usual. Lee and Jung were still on track for their matchup with Boe and Mogensen in the final on Sunday with both pairs progressing into the last 4 without the loss of a game today. Boe and Mogensen take on the 8th seeded Koo and Tan of Malaysia in their semi final whilst Lee and Jung take on the last Indonesian hope in the draw, Kido and Setiawan.
Wang and Yu enjoyed a day off as they watched their team mates Bao and Zhong book their place in the semi final against the top seeded pair. Jauhari and Polii are the sole Indonesian pair left in the draw where they take on the second seeded Tian and Zhao.
Zhang and Zhao crashed out of the mixed doubles to Thailand’s Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in a day of surprises in the mixed doubles, with the 4th seeded Fischer Neilsen also crashing out to Ko and Eom of Korea, who defeated their team-mates Laybourn and Rytter Juhl in the first round. The 2nd seeded Xu and Ma are safely into the last 4, where they will take on the 3rd seeded Indonesian pairing of Ahmad and Natsir for a place in Sunday’s final.
It was a poor day for the Chinese in Bangkok as two of their top seeds crashed out at the semi final stage.
Lin Dan and Wang Lin Out
Sony Dwi Kuncoro’s upset over Lin Dan ensured there would be no all-Chinese final in the men’s singles. Yueken Chun will be China’s sole representative in any either of the singles final with his victory over Gao Huan in the other semi final. Wang Lin’s run in the women’s singles was ended by the 2nd seeded Inthanon Ratchanok in two games to book her place in the final against the top seeded Saina Nehwal, with the top seeded Indian dropping just a single set on route to the final.
China With Three Chances At Titles
Liu and Qiu are the only Chinese top seeds left in the draw in the men’s doubles and will take on the 8th seeded Latif and Tazari of Malaysia after both pairs negotiated their semi final opponents in just two games. Cheng and Pan are the sole Chinese pair left in the women’s doubles, after the defeat of the top seeded Huan and Tang to the unseeded pairing of Narissapat and Thongthongkam in two games to set up Sunday’s final.
The sole European hope were the top seeded Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen, but they lost their semi final encounter to Jiaming and Tang to ensure a third Chinese pair into a final this week. Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam are the Chinese pair opponents in the mixed doubles final with the second seeds defeating Singapores Chrisnanta and Neo in two games.
China and Thailand dominate in Bangkok as Lin Dan as reached the last 4 in his build up to the 2012 Games.
China Dominate Men’s Singles
Lin Dan is joined in the semi final by qualifier Gao Huan, who takes on another Chinese player in Yuekun Chen. The Chinese qualifier defeated Takuma Ueda in the opening round whilst his opponent has just dropped a game on route to the last 4. Lin Dan takes on Sony Dwi Kuncoro, who defeated Sourabh Varma in his quarter final in impressive fashion, winning 21-6, 21-8 in just 31 minutes.
The top three seeds are all safely into the last 4 of the women’s singles, joined by Wang Lin who takes on Inthanon Ratchanok. The 2nd seed from Thailand has failed to drop a game on route to the semi final but in their most recent matchup in Australia, the unseeded Chinese player took the match in three games. The other semi final sees the top seeded Saina Nehwal take on the 3rd seeded Porntip Buranaprasertsuk with the Indian top seed winning all of their previous 4 encounters.
Chinese Interest In Doubles Events
Liu and Qiu are the top seeds in the men’s doubles but take on the pairing of Kim and Kim who they have failed to be in both their previous 2 matchups. Hoon and Tan of Malayisa take on Latif and Tazari in an all-Malaysian semi final. Huan and Tang are another top seeded Chinese pair, this time in the women’s doubles and take on the Thai pairing of Narissapat and Thoungthongkam for a place in Sunday’s final. Cheng and Pan have the opportunity to make it an all-Chinese final should they and the top seeds make it through to their semi final with the 5th seeds taking on Aroonkesorn and Voravichitchaikul, seeded 6th this week.
Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen take on Jiaming and Tang in the first of the mixed doubles semi final, with the Danish top seeds being the last Europeans left in the draw. The other semi final sees the 2nd seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam take on the 4th seeded Singapore pairing Chrisnanta and Neo of Singapore.
Lee Chong Wei ensured his second success on home soil in 2012 after his Super Series success in January as Malaysia claimed 4 of the 5 titles this week.
Lee Takes Title
It was a far from dominant display from the world number 1 this week but nevertheless Lee Chong Wei claimed the title in a three game final against the unseeded Sony Dwi Kuncoro. After losing the opening game 21-17, the world number 1 dropped just another 18 points on route to the title. For Kuncoro, it was a positive week that far from reflect his drop in the world rankings to 79 as he defeated three players inside the top 50 in the world.
Three More Titles For Malaysia
Koo and Tan claimed the men’s doubles title, dropping just a single game in the process as Malaysia swept the doubles events. The world number 9 pairing of Chan and Goh have had an excellent year to date and claimed the mixed doubles title without the loss of a game. Chin and Wong defeated the top seeded Sari and Yao in the women’s doubles to claim Malaysia’s fourth title of the week, with the 2nd seeds defeating the Singapore pairing in two tight games.
Busanan Ongbumrungpan claimed the women’s title, as the Thai player defeated another unseeded player in Sayaka Takahashi in the final with the world number 157 claiming the title in two games.
Malaysia have dominated play at their home GP Gold event with Lee Chong Wei as well as Koo and Tan giving plenty reasons for celebration going into the weekend’s play.
Lee Taken To Three
Chong Wei Feng gave the world number 1 a scare in his quarter final, taking Lee Chong Wei to three games before the top seed eventually advanced into the semi final. His opponent in the semi final is Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia, a player who narrowly missed out on the Olympic qualifying standard but has been in excellent form this week. The third seed defeated Sourabh Varma of India to ensure his third straight two game victory on route to the last 4.
The other semi final sees the unseeded Sony Dwi Kuncoro take on Muhammad Hafiz Hashim, with hopes of an all-Malaysia final looming large. Kuncoro needed 76 minutes to defeat the 5th seeded Ueda of Japan to ensure his place in the last 4 whilst Hashim has progressed through with four easy wins.
One Seed Left In Women’s Singles Draw
Only P.V. Sindhu remains from the four seeds that started the week, with the Indian taking on Sayaka Takahashi who is looking to reach her highest ever world ranking. Currently 100th in the world, her previous best was 98th but a good run this week would see her top that. The other semi final features Xing Aiying of Singapore and Busanan Ongbumrungpan of Thailand. The duo played just 6 weeks ago and despite being ranked 90 places lower in the rankings, it was the Thai player who won the match in Vietnam in two games.