Four titles were a possibility for China on finals day, but managed just half that tally as the host nation took down higher seeds to ensure two titles for the host nation whilst Lee Chong Wei ensured a title for Malaysia in the men’s singles.
Lee Chong Wei started 2013 perfectly with a two game victory over China’s Du Pengyu, with the Malaysian failing to drop a game after his opening round scare to Wang Zhengming and will go into his home Super Series event on a high. Sung Ji Hyun claimed Korea’s only singles title with a two game victory over the 5th seeded Wang Shixian to avenge her 2010 defeat in this event to the Chinese player.
Lee and Ko defeated Boe and Mogensen in the men’s doubles final, but not before losing the opening game 21-19 but a far dominant display from the Korean’s in the next two games ensured Lee and Ko’s meteoric rise up the rankings continued. Wang and Yu defeated Ma and Tang in the first final of the day in a straightforward two game match for the 2011 World Champions first title of 2013.
Ma Jin fell short in the mixed doubles final also, losing with her partner Xu Chen to the world and Olympic champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei. The top seeded pair did take the opening game but failed to capitalise and lost the next two games to ensure a 12th defeat to Zhang and Zhao in their 14 encounters to date.
Finals Day 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:
A new year offers a new start and a new motivation after the obvious comedown from an Olympic year. The goals for the year alter from London 2012 with all eyes on Guangzhou and the World Championships in early August. Before the summer spectacle, the Super Series and Super Series Premier will pit the best against the best in 2013.
The world’s elite converge in Korea for the first Super Series Premier of the year with the biggest prize fund of the year on offer. 2013 is a year of change within the badminton world, with new events and the last of certain Super Series before the new 2014 schedule. London gains a GP Gold event in early October that leads as a build-up event to the Denmark/France Super Series later in the month.
It will be the last Super Series in Malaysia before it’s upgrade to Premier status in 2013 and China loses its Super Series event this year with Australia claiming Super Series status in 2014 but the China Super Series Premier remains. There will be no Peter Gade in 2013, retiring late last year with a last famous victory over Lin Dan. The double-Olympic champion will pick and choose his events as always and is a noticeable absence in Korea this week.
Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long will be the favourites for the title in the men’s singles but a wealth of Chinese talent looking to defeat the top seed in the opening event of 2013. Wang Zhengming will be the first to claim a victory over the Malaysian and a likely Chinese opponent in the semi final should Lee Chong Wei reach the last 4. Victor Axelsen takes on Taufik Hidayat as the old guard meets the new generation in the match of the opening round.
The women’s singles offers the expected Chinese dominance, with four seeds from the eight but like the men’s singles, a new generation coming through to the overthrow the Chinese hierarchy in the event. Ratchanok Intanon is the newest in line to attempt to defeat the world’s elite and Saina Nehwal will also continue her quest to become world number 1. Tine Baun plays her last Korea Open ahead of her retirement after the All Englands before Juliane Schenk takes over the mantle of the sole European threat at the Super Series level.
Lee and Ko’s meteoric surge up the rankings sees them seeded 6th but any thoughts of a dream final against Cai and Fu will be tempered with neither pair having an easy run to next Sunday’s final. Koo and Tan are the 2nd seeds in Korea and likely semi final opponents for the Koreans whilst Cai and Fu will probably have to defeat the top seeded Boe and Mogensen in order to reach the final.
The women’s doubles is the event to watch after the farcical events of the Olympics. Wang and Yu have returned to competitive action and their biggest rivals of the past few years have been split up to create two new partnerships. It offers Chinese a similar chance to dominate the doubles event as much as the singles with four partnerships that will likely feature in the top 10 in the coming months. Zhao Yunlei forms a new partnership with Cheng Shu, Tian Qing joins with Bao Yixin as well as Ma and Tang will offer Wang and Yu a stern test in 2013.
The mixed doubles offers the closest resemblance to 2012 with a similar field to the previous year. Chris Adcock and Gabby White are the top pairing from the six new English pairings whilst Jillie Cooper and Robert Blair will offer the only chance of Scottish success in the event. The usual suspects are all present in Korea, with Kamilla Rytter Juhl partnering Mads Pieler Kolding after Thomas Laybourn’s retirement after the London Olympics. Ma and Xu are the top seeds, with their Chinese rivals Zhang and Zhao seeded 4th in the 2013 opener.
Play begins in Korea on Tuesday, January 8.
The All England Champions Ahmad and Natsir continued their excellent recent run of form with a second week in as many weeks whilst Saina Nehwal shocked Wang Shixian to take the women’s singles title.
Two Titles For China
The world number 20 and 21 pairs faced off in the women’s doubles final, with Huan and Tang defeating their 6th seeded opponents Bao and Zhong in the all-Chinese final. Chen Jin edges every closer to reaching the Olympics and overtaking Peter Gade for the world number 4 spot with his victory in the men’s singles over Lee Hyun Il of Korea.
Three More Asian Titles
Kawamae and Sato claimed the men’s doubles title, after a 2 game victory over Fang and Lee of Chinese Taipei to claim their second victory over their opponents in the final in the space of 3 weeks. Ahmad and Natsir claimed the mixed doubles title with a straight forward 2 game victory over Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand in just 23 minutes. Saina Nehwal claimed the women’s singles after defeating her second Chinese opponent of the week in Wang Shixian. The Indian 3rd seeded defeated Liu Xin in the quarter finals before defeating the 2nd seeded Wang Shixian in two games to claim the title.