The second tournament in Russia in the space of weeks seen several European stars attempting to play their way into form ahead of next months World Championships, only for almost all of them to come unstuck before the final.

South East Asian Battle In Final

Two seeds did make in through to the men’s singles final, with 4th seeded Hsu Jen Hao taking on Singapore’s Derek Wong Zi Liang, seeded 6th this week. Hsu defeated the top seeded Pole Przemyslaw Wacha in the semi final in two games and has failed to drop a set on route to the final whilst his opponent dropped two games earlier in the week, one against the 10th seeded Raul Must but has been flawless since his quarter final match. This will be their first match against one another, as the world #41 takes on the world #42.

Double Delight For Indonesia

The Indonesian’s have claimed at least two titles, in two all-Indonesian clashes in the women’s singles and men’s doubles. Maria Kristian Yulianti defeated the 8th seeded Ingolfdottir and top seeded Konon to reach the final against the 4th seeded Ratnasari, who has failed to drop a game in and has taken out two seeds in the 6th seeded Ludikova and 2nd seeded Egelstaff on route to the final.

The men’s doubles seeds the 5th seeded Kurniawan and Windarto take on the 7th seeded Sukmawan and Wijaya, with the loss of just one game between the two pairings. The 5th seeded Kurniawan and Windarto have spent just 89 minutes on court in reaching the final whilst their opponents in the final have taken 117 minutes.
Local Delight In Women’s Doubles

Russia will claim at least one title, as the 3rd seeded Bibik and Golovanova take on the unseeded Hlebko and Russkikh in the final. Bibik is known more for her singles play whilst the choice not to seed doubles specialist Russkikh has not stopped her reaching the final, defeating the top seeded Ukrainian pair in their opening round. Bibik suffered an early exit from the singles, which has allowed her to focus on the doubles, defeating the 2nd seeded pair of Prus and Kobceva of Ukraine in the semi finals.

France also have a chance at an unlikely title in the pairing of Careme and Fontaine, who defeated the 2nd and 3rd seeds in the quarters and semi to set up a final against the Singapore pairing of Chrisnanta and Neo Yu Yan, who have failed to meet a seed on route to the final, but have dropped just one game on en route.

Saturday’s Results:

Axelsen Bests Pang

With an excellent field present in Madrid this week, the first full day of action has provided some unlikely results in the singles events as well as some success for some of the future stars of the game.

Viktor Axelsen’s impressive win over 6th seeded Eric Pang was the talking point of the men’s singles draw, with the teenager defeating one of top European players in two games to book his place in the quarter finals. Top seeded Tommy Sugiarto was relentless in his 21-15, 21-3 win over Joachim Persson and sets up a quarter final against Spain’s own Pablo Abian in the last 8. Second seeded Hans-Kristian Vittinghus is also safely into the last 8 after a pair of two game victories and sets up a quarter final clash with Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Jen Tao who defeated the 7th seeded Ville Lang in a convincing two game victory.

Susan Egelstaff, seeded 2 was the highest seed to start the week in the women’s singles and has had little trouble in reaching the last 8 and will take on the Sashina Vignes Waran, seeded 8th in the quarter final. There is also Spanish interest with Carolina Marin who is also through to the last 8 and takes on Ireland’s Chloe Magee in the quarter final after the retirement of Nicole Grether in the second round match. Olga Konon is the highest seed in the top half of the draw and has had little trouble on route to the last 8, where she will play Kristina Ludikova of the Czech Republic.

The three seeds that started the week in the men’s doubles are still in the draw at the last 8 stage, with 2nd seeded Cwalina and Logosz taking on the Spanish pair of Leal and Ojeda in tomorrow’s quarter final. 3rd seeded Bosch and Ridder take on the Austrian pair of Koch and Zauner who came through a tight three game match against Gilmour and Campbell of Scotland. The only seed in the top half of the draw is 4th seeded Kasbauer and Zurwonne who came through a three game match to set up a quarter final against the Japanese pairing of Saeki and Taohata.

The top seeded Van Dooremalen and Jonathans are safely into the last 8 and take on the Spanish pair of Jimenez and Rodriguez. There has been more good fortune for the Spanish with the pairing of Molina and Ojeda not having to play a match to reach the last 8, they take on the English pair of Langley and Smith who defeated the 3rd seeded Mexican pair of Gonzalez and Montero. The 2nd seeded Reid and Grether are into the last 8 but question marks over Grether’s injury in the singles could be a factor in their quarter final match against Diaz and Lee.

The top two seeds are safely through to the mixed doubles quarter finals and are also joined in the last 8 by the 4th seeded Magee’s of Ireland. There is an all-Spanish quarter final also, with Longo and Ojeda taking on Lorenzo and Marquez for a chance to take on the winner of the Durkinjak/Ponzanovic versus Ng and Gao matchup.

Picture Provided by Rene Lagerwaard

Friday’s Results:

All England Championships 2011 Set To Begin

Mens Singles
The second SuperSeries Premier event of 2011 takes place this week in Birmingham as the All England Championships take centre stage this week. Lin Dan is looking to regain his title and take his second Super Series Premier title whilst defending champion Lee Chong Wei will be looking for revenge after his Korea Open defeat to Lin Dan.

Lee Chong Wei is the top seed this week and starts his campaign against Sho Sasaki of Japan before a potential second round match against the winner of Bao Chunlai and Sony Kuncoro, both players have been seeded in Super Series events in the past few years but such is the strength and depth of the draws in the Premier events, they meet in the first round this week. The 8th seed Boonsak Ponsana faces a tough test against Simon Santoso in his first round match and the winner will likely play Joachim Persson of Denmark for a place in the last 8.

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Denmark Through With No Need For Gade

The 2011 championships have heralded few shocks to this date, with several of the top nations resting their top players until the knockout stages and rotating their squad players around to give them some valuable experience at this level.

Group 1

Denmark comfortably won their group even without Peter Gade and Tine Baun stepping on court in their three wins, only Karina Jorgensen’s loss to Kristina Ludikova of the Czech Republic stopped the Dane’s winning all 15 of their matches in the group stage. The Czech secured second place in the group, winning the other two matches against Israel and Italy comfortably.

Group 2

Germany won Group 2 without playing their two stars in Juliane Schenk and Marc Zwiebler in all the group matches but still progressed with a perfect record, wrapping up a 5-0 win over Latvia in under 100 minutes of play. Marc Zwiebler played Raul Must in the match over Estonia and came through in three games whilst Juliane Schenk had little trouble against Belgium’s Lianne Tan, winning the match up in two games. The gulf in class between the four nations was clear as every match in the group ended in a 5-0 or 4-1 victory.

Group 3

England progressed as group winners but question marks loom over their women singles performances as they lost two of the three matches in the group stage. Those were the only two matches that England lost in their group and will have to addressed before the knockout stage. Ireland finished second in the group after defeating Austria 3-2 in their match in the early part of the group.

Group 4

Russia qualified as group winners with ease, winning 14 of their 15 matches and dropping just a single game in their 14 victories. Russia have been experimenting with new partnerships in their doubles but the usual partnerships of Durkin/Nikolaenko and Vislova/Sorokina would be in place for quarter final match.

Group 5

The Dutch made qualification for the last 8 as hard as possible in front of their home fans, after a 4-1 win over Iceland they almost failed to qualify and struggled to defeat Lithuania and Switzerland after trailing 2-1 in both matches. They will have to be at their very best tomorrow against Russia to progress any further with Switzerland being within one match of knocking them out at the group stages

Group 6

France and Scotland went into the final match with equal records, winning 9 and losing 1 match. Both nations secured easy victories over Slovakia and Spain but faced their toughest match to date against one another. Scotland took a 2-1 lead after wins in the mixed doubles and with Susan Egelstaff’s win in the singles but the French rallied back to take the two doubles matchup and the match 3-2 to secure top spot in Group 6 and will play Germany in the last 8.

Group 7

Bulgaria pulled out of the biggest shock of the event to date in topping group 7 ahead of the favourites in the group Ukraine. The two played in the final group match to determine top spot and it went down to the final rubber in the match with the score tied 2-2. the Bulgarian pairing of Nedelcheva and Popstoykova defeated Prus and Kobecva impressively in two games to set up a quarter final clash against England.

Group 8

Poland progressed comfortably into the last 8 with three victories in their group featuring Belarus, Portugal and Croatia. They haven’t needed the services of top mens singles player Przemyslaw Wacha to date and have rarely been troubled in their group matches, their 3-2 win over Croatia was much more comfortable than first look suggests, they were 3-0 up in the match before losing the men’s doubles and retired their women’s doubles pairing. However, they will face their toughest test to date against the top seeded Danes in the last 8.

Quarter Final Line-Up

Axelsen Hoping To Go One Further

Around this time last year the badminton world sat in awe of the young Viktor Axelsen after he brushed aside on opponent after another on his way to his first ever senior international final.  Now the Dane is back in familiar territory as he has found himself once again in the final of the Swedish International, and this time with a much less formidable opponent, an opponent who Axelsen easily disposed of earlier this fall.  The last time Pablo Abian played Viktor he lost 21-10, 21-7.  Hopefully for the crowd this time around will be a much closer match.  Abian has played well this week with a big win over the tall Dutch shuttler Eric Pang in three exceedingly close games 21-19, 19-21, 21-18.  Axelsen’s semi-final was less hostile as he defeated Kestutis Navickas 21-13, 21-14.

The women’s final should hold much less drama and excitement as both finalists hail from Japan.  Nevertheless respect is owed to both players who were required to overcome formidable opponents on their way to this stage.  Qualifier Mayu Sekiya defeated the top seed Judith Meulendijks in the second round, as well as third seed Susan Egelstaff to earn her finals spot.  Her compatriot Kaori Imebeppu defeated the female phenom Carolina Marin in her semi-final match 19-21, 21-16, 21-8 to earn her final spot.

In the mens doubles it appears that Denmark has much talent ready and waiting to fill the places of their top pairs should they retire anytime soon.  With Axelsen shining in the mens singles it looks like yet another young Dane is showing promise as Rasmus Fladberg and his partner Kim Astrup Sorensen have made their way into the finals after defeating Andi Hartono Tandaputra and Gert Kunka 21-18, 21-16.  On a side note Fladberg is the son of previous doubles world champion Steen Fladberg.  They will now face off against Lukasz Moren and Wojciech Szkudlarczyk who made their way through by defeating another Danish pair, Mats Bue and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen 21-15, 11-21, 22-20.

In the womens doubles we have the only top seed to survive through to finals day as Japans Rie Eto and Yu Wakita have gone on relatively unchallenged thus far.  They won relatively comfortably against Maria Helsbol and Anne Skelbaek 21-11, 21-13 in their semi-final match.  They will now place another Danish pair Line Damkjaer Kruse and Maria Ropke who defeated second seeds Heather Olver and Mariana Agathangelou due to a withdrawal part way through the match.

Heather Olver does however have an opportunity to make up for her disappointment in the doubles as she has found herself in the mixed final alongside partner Robin Middleton.  Olver and Middleton defeated Imam Sodikin Irawan and Cecilia Bjuner in three games 15-21, 21-12, 21-10.  Their opponents will be the Dutch pair Dave Khodabux and Samantha Barning.  Khodabux and Barning defeated Ireland’s Sam and Chloe Magee 21-16, 21-18.

Swedish International 2011 Draws

Swedish International 2011

After a quiet last few weeks the EBU circuit is back in action again this week in Stockholm for the Swedish International 2011.  In both the men’s and women’s singles events the Dutch have taken the top spots with Eric Pang and Judith Meulendijks sitting atop their respective draws.

Pang starts off his men’s singles campaign with a tough first round encounter against Ukrainian Dmytro Zavadsky who is known to be a scrappy contender.  Seeded second here is Lithuanian Kestutis Navickas who will likely face off against Denmark’s Peter Mikkelsen in the second round.  Mikkelsen surprisingly had to qualify, but was promoted to the main draw.  Other notables in the men’s draw include Pablo Abian of Spain, Ville Lang of Finland and of course all eyes will be on the young Danish world junior champion, Viktor Axelsen.  This time last year Axelsen gained attention by making it to the finals and upsetting numerous strong opponents on his way.

Meulendijks first major challenge will likely come in the quarter-finals against Denmark’s Karina Jorgensen who is fifth seeded.  Their half of the draw also holds Scotland’s Susan Egelstaff who appears to be a strong favourite to come through to the semi-finals stage.  The second seed Larisa Griga has an especially difficult starting match as she faces off against Spanish phenom Carolina Marin, a match which from the looks of things should be the toughest match on that half of the draw.

The men’s doubles draw lacks the usual punch expected in an EBU event with few big names present.  The top seeds are France’s Baptiste Careme and Sylvain Grosjean, while the second seeds are Russia’s Vitalij Durkin and Alexander Nikolaenko.  Of note is the large contingent of French players in the doubles draw as four pairs are present.

Japan look to be the favourites in the womens doubles with Rie Eto and Yu Wakita in the top seeded position, however England’s Heather Olver and Marian Agathangelou will be trying to upset the Japanese pair.  Japan also has another couple of pairs lurking unseeded in the draws, as does Denmark, so don’t be surprised to see a couple of upsets in the earlier rounds.

Finally in the mixed doubles it’s the Ukrainian pair of Valerly Atrashchenkov and Elena Prus taking the top spot while Baptiste Careme and Laura Choinet are second seeds.  England’s Robin Middleton and Heather Olver are unseeded, and no doubt a threat regardless of their lack of seeding.  Ireland’s Sam and Chloe Magee are also strong threats in the fourth seed position.

For full draws and ongoing results be sure to check back here again tomorrow, and also have a look at the draw page below:

Swedish International 2011 Draws

Hans Kristian Vittinghus Takes Irish Title

The partnership of Adcock and Bankier might be a new one, but the history of the players gave you an idea that it would be a successful one. Bankier reached #12 in the world with Robert Blair in 2008/9 and Adcock has been part of the GB Olympic set-up for a number of years.

They wasted little time in Ireland securing their second title in three weeks with a two game, 26 minute victory over Skovgaard and Andersen of Denmark, winning 21-13, 21-11. Scottish success was doubled as 2nd seeded Susan Egelstaff won her first title of 2010, defeating a Dane of her own in Karina Jorgensen, winning 23-21, 21-8.

The men’s singles was a much tighter affair, with Vittinghus and Abian sharing the opening two games and the third going all the way to 20-20 and beyond. It was the top seeded Dane that eventually came through, taking the third game 23-21 in their 57 minute matchup, which would be the longest match of the day.

The women’s doubles seen the top 2 seeds in the final, with Denmark doubling it’s tally for the week as 2nd seeded Heisbol and Skelbaek defeated the top seeded English duo of Olver and Agathangelou in a three-game, 48 minute matchup with the Danes winning in the third 21-15. Chris Adcock doubled his tally of wins in Ireland as he and partner Andrew Ellis defeated their more experienced team-mate Anthony Clark and his partner Chris Landridge in the men’s doubles final, with Ellis and Adcock winning 21-13, 21-16.

Day 3 Results

Jorgensen Ends Local Hopes

Another two match day awaited the remaining players on Day 2, for some it could potentially mean four matches over two events. Chloe Magee fantastic win over the top seeded Elizabeth Cann put her through to the semi finals, only to be defeated by Karina Jorgensen in a tame two game match. The mixed doubles was a similar story for Magee, as her and partner Sam Magee defeated the English pairing of Middleton and Olver in the quarter finals but lost out to the Danish pair of Skovgaard and Andersen in a two game defeat leaving Ireland with no representatives on finals day.

The men’s singles final sees the top seeded Hans-Kristian Vittinghus take on 8th seeded Pablo Abian of Spain. Vittinghus won his all-Danish quarter final against Peter Mikkelsen and then went out to defeat the 3rd seeded Frenchman, Matthieu Lo Ping Ying to book his place in tomorrow’s final. Abian defeated the 4th Rune Ulsing in his quarter final match then defeated the 7th seeded Ville Lang in two games to reach the final. Karina Jorgensen’s opponent in the women’s singles final is the 2nd seeded Susan Egelstaff of Scotland after wins over Ragna Ingolfsdottir of Iceland in the quarter finals and then a tight two game victory over Spain’s Carolina Marin.

The men’s doubles final is an all-English affair, with two unseeded pairs making the final. Adcock and Ellis defeated two Danish pairs, including the 3rd seeded Elbjorn and Skovgaard in the semi finals whilst the other pair of Clark and Middleton defeated the German pair of Heinz and Schulz in the last 8 before beating the 2nd seeded Careme and Grosjean to reach tomorrow’s final.

The women’s doubles final sees the top two seeds meeting, with top seeds Agathangelou and Olver taking on the Danish 2nd seeds Heisbol and Skelbaek. The English pair were taken to three games in their quarter final against Fangel and Sorensen before winning their semi final in convincing fashion to reach the final. Heisbol and Skelbaek dropped their first game of the week in their semi final over Lefel and Luttmann but bounced back to take the next two games. Chris Adcock reached his second final this week with partner Imogen Bankier and the pair look for their second title in three weeks after winning the Scottish Open late last month, the pair take on the Danish pair of Skovgaard and Andersen in the final.

Day 2 Results

Cann Stands In Magee's Way

Two matches on the first day is always tough but is almost a mainstay of the EBU circuit, it is often a day that determines the winner with the players who come through the opening two rounds in the quickest possible time on court. Only three of the 8 remaining players in the men’s singles won in two straight games for both matches and just two in the women’s singles.

Irish hopes ended in the men’s singles at the second round, with 2nd seeded Scott Evans losing out to Gabriel Ulldahl in a tame two game defeat that was on court just 30 minutes. Top seeded Hans-Kristian Vittinghus has struggled through his opening two matches with both matches going to three games, he takes on Peter Mikkelsen in an all-Danish quarter final who has been impressive in his opening two rounds, winning both in two games. 7th seeded Spainard Pablo Abian is another player who impressed on the opening day, winning both his matches in two games and will take on the 4th seeded Dane, Rune Ulsing for place in the last 4. Scottish Open runner-up Ville Lang has also breezed through into the last 8 and takes on the Swede Ulldahl in his quarter final match.

7 seeds remain of the 8 in the women’s singles, with European junior champion Carolina Marin making up the quarter final lineup. Marin defeated the 7th seed Prutsch in her opening round and another victory against French qualifier Marie Maunoury sees her into the last 8 against Karin Schnaase of Germany. The top 2 seeds also battled through to the last 8, Elizabeth Cann struggled in her opening round match before finding form in her two game win over Nanna Brosolat Jensen in her second round match whilst 2nd seeded Susan Egelstaff defeated last weeks winner Anita Raj Kaur in three games in her opening round before  beating Perrine Lebuhanic to set up her quarter final with Ragna Ingolfsdottir of Iceland. Chloe Magee of Ireland is also through to the last 8 after two victories and takes on the top seeded Cann in the quarter finals.

Top seeded French pair Constantin and Vincent crashed out at the second round in the men’s doubles, losing to Denmark’s Bue and Rasmussen who will play the unseeded Adcock and Ellis of England in the last 8. The 2nd seeded French pair of Careme and Grosjean did come through the opening day and face their own Danish opponents in the quarter finals in Mork and Winther. The pair to look out for in the event though is the English pair of Landridge and Clark who have breezed into the last 8. Clark is not in Hong Kong playing with usual partner Nathan Robertson and this new pairing has the potential to go all the way this week.

The women’s doubles has been marred with a mass of withdrawals but the top seeded Agathangelou and Olver are safely into the last 8 with second seeds Heisbol and Skelbaek also through. The 3rd seeded Belgian pair of Annys and Corvilain crashed out in the second round to the French pair of Lefel and Luttman. The 4th seeded St Jacques and Lavoie are also into the last 8 after a win over Latvian pair of Pope and Sefere.

Scottish Open winners Adcock and Bankier’s excellent run continued as they defeated the top seeded Gao and Ng in their second round match to progress to the last 8. There has been little problems for the other 3 seeds to date, but the two Magee’s from Ireland face a tough task in their quarterfinal taking on Olver and Middleton for a place in the last 4. Croatian 4th seeded Durkinjak and Poznanovic have also been impressed as they have reached the last 8 with dropping a game.

Day 1 Results

Cann Through To Finals

Nine Scots started the day with a chance of a title remaining in Scotland, by the end of play just one player remains. Kieran Merrilees run ended at the hands of 3rd seed Dmytro Zavadsky in three games, but the men’s singles final is a battle of the top two seeds, with Anand Pawar defeating Luka Wraber in the quarter finals and then the excellent run of Flemming Quach came to an end as the Indian top seed defeating the Danish player to book his player in the final. Ville Lang fought back from a game down against Bandar Sigit Pamungkas of Indonesia to progress to the last four before defeating the 3rd seeded Dmytro Zavadsky of Ukraine to reach the final of the event he won in 2007.

Linda Sloan’s run ended at the hands of the top seeded Elizabeth Cann, who completed her run to tomorrow’s final with a two game victory over Cee Nantana Keputra in two games. The big Scottish hope for a title was defending champion and 2nd seed Susan Egelstaff, who breezed through her quarter final match over Anna Held Jensen. Her semi final opponent was Tatjana Bibik, the 3rd seed from Russia. Bibik defeated the 6th seeded Rachel Howard in her quarter final and the question marks over her use of a back brace look to have been answered as she ended the run of the defending champion, defeating Egelstaff in two games, 21-15, 21-12.

The men’s doubles final is an all-English affair, as top seeded Ellis and Mills take on the 3rd seeded Ellis and Adcock. Both partnerships progressed without much resistance, with both partnerships winning both games without the loss of a game. Only the top seeded Adcock and Ellis have lost a game on route to tomorrow’s final. The women’s doubles is another all-English encounter, with Wallwork and White defeating the top seeded Jonathans and Van Dooremalen to reach tomorrow’s final against the 2nd seeded Olver and Agathangelou, with both couples not dropping a game to this point this week.

The mixed doubles final is the only match with a Scottish interest, as the 2007 winner Imogen Bankier reached the final with partner Chris Adcock of England, the 2nd seeds have not dropped a game this week nor have they looked troubled on their route to the final. Their 3rd seeded opponents, Koehler and Zander saved two match points to book their place in their semi final match against Middleton and Lim of England but have already beaten Scottish opponents to reach tomorrow’s final, defeating Gilmour and Mason in their opening round match.

Day 3 Results

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