With a new Super Series season starting the BWF is once again providing free live streaming in select countries. The first event of the year is the Victor Korea Open 2012.
The coverage begins at 4am GMT on Thursday January 5th.
Round of 16
The first event of 2012 takes the world’s elite to Seoul for the biggest prize money of the year in the opening Super Series Premier event.
Tough Start For Gade
Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan both avoided a potentially tough opener, with the world number 1 taking on Kashyap Parupalli of India whilst Lin Dan has a first round clash with Spain’s Pablo Abian. Chen Long takes on a qualifier whilst Peter Gade has the toughest draw of the top four seeds as he takes on Du Pengyu of China. The world number 4 and world number 11 clash in the biggest match of the opening day of play. Gade holds a 3-0 head to head advantage and won their most recent encounter in China in late November last year.
Tien Minh Nguyen will be tested in his opening round match against Keinchi Tago in another fantastic opening round match with countless intriguing encounters taking place out with the seeded players. Boonsak Ponsana and Wang Zhengming also clash in the opening round, as well as Lee Hyun Il taking on Wong Wing Ki. Taufik Hidayat starts with a potential banana skin against Rajiv Ouseph of England, with a loss almost ensure he will drop out of the top 16 in the world.
Chinese Presence Throughout
The top 3 seeds in the women’s singles are as expected, Chinese. With Wang Yihan claiming the top seed and an opening round match against Jie Yao of Holland, Wang Shixian is seeded 2 and takes on Fu Mingtian of Singapore. The 3rd seed Wang Xin takes on Bae Youn Joo of Korea in the toughest of the three encounters, taking on the world number 14. Saina Nehwal takes on Susan Egelstaff in a rematch of the 2010 Commonwealth Games semi final whilst the final Chinese seed, Jiang Yanjiao take on Bulgaria’s Linda Zechiri in the opening round.
European hopes lie with Tine Baun, seeded 5th this week the Dane takes on the Canadian Michelle Li in a potentially tough opener. Juliane Schenk is seeded 7 but faces Liu Xin of China in her opening match in the biggest match of the opening round in the women’s singles draw. Liu Xin is ranked 10 in the world and holds a 2-0 head to head advantage against her German opponent.
The 3rd Force In Men’s Doubles?
Boe and Mogensen come into 2012 as the form pair in the men’s doubles after success in the Super Series Finals before Christmas and come into this week seeded 3. Their opening round match is against the 2005 world champions, Bach and Gunawan of the USA with a potential rematch with Lee and Jung in the semi finals. The 2nd seeds are the defending champions and take on Kumar and Thomas of India in their opening round match.
Top seeds Cai and Fu crashed out of the Super Series Finals at the group stage and have a potentially tough opener against the Polish pair of Logosz and Cwalina whilst the 4th seeded Korean pair of Ko and Yoo take on the Chinese pairing of Liu and Qiu of China, who are ranked 15 in the world.
Wang And Yu Still The Pair To Beat
World number 1 since June and haven’t lost a match since January of last year, Wang and Yu are the super power of the women’s doubles and come into 2012 looking for an unthinkable run of a year without losing a match. They start 2012 with a opening round match against Wang and Wang of the USA and a likely matchup with the 2nd seeded Zhao and Tian in the final on Sunday. Zhao and Tian start their campaign against Agustin and Maheswari of Indonesia.
2011 World Championship Rematch
Zhang and Zhao take on Adcock and Bankier in a rematch of the 2011 World Championship final, this time in the opening round in Korea. It is a tough blow for the British pair hoping to grab valuable ranking points in a 3-way fight for an Olympic place with Robertson and Wallwork as well as White and Blair. The 8th seeds and 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl wait in the first round for White and Blair. The 2nd seeded Xu and Ma start with a tough opener of their own, taking on Widianto and Marissa of Indonesia with both previous meetings going to three games.
Lee and Eun of Korea are the wildcard of the draw, they take on a qualifier in their opening round before a likely second round match with Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand.
The 2012 Olympics signals the end of four legendary careers, with the hope of a last great battle between Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan for the Olympic gold on August 5, 2012. August of this year provided with perhaps the greatest advertisement for the game that there has ever been as Lee Chong Wei took on Lin Dan for the 2011 World Championship.
Malaysia expected as Lee Chong Wei had two match points to claim his first world title, only for Lin Dan to break a nations heart with his refusal to be beaten. A nation distraught as China claimed a clean sweep in London as Lin Dan ripped off his top in celebration after his historic victory. It was the defining image of 2011, that the Chinese were still the nation to beat and that Lin Dan will still the man to beat.
As much as the Chinese tactics are questionable on how they get so many players to qualify, there is little doubting they are the nation to beat going into next years Olympics. Malaysia and Lee Chong Wei’s last chance waits in London once more, in the arena that robbed him of a world title 12 months previously.
From the stunning mistake by Lin Dan at 19-19 in the third game, to his net play and smashes that saved the two match points before his precise pushes into Lee Chong Wei’s forehand that forced the errors that led to the match point and the eventual winning point, it was an absolute master class on the greatest stage by both players. They simply are the best two players in the world and the only two men capable of winning gold in London.
Fighting For Gold
Lee Chong Wei was the overall best player of 2011; winning almost every event he entered and claimed his first All England title against Kenichi Tago in March. The last three months have seen him lose to China’s Chen Long no less than three times which is the only real worry for the Malaysian going into 2012. He will undoubtedly play a full schedule going into the Olympics, with the chance of a second All England title looming large.
Lin Dan goes into 2012 in top form, winning his last three events including the Super Series Finals earlier in December. He won the opening Super Series Premier in Korea in January and followed it up with Asian Games gold, an event that Lee Chong Wei did not play. The top two in the world played each other 5 times in ranking events, with Lin Dan winning four of the five meetings with Lin Dan holding a 18-8 advantage in their 26 meetings to date.
Gade’s Last Chance
Peter Gade celebrated his 35th birthday this month but there was little to celebrate on the court for the Dane as he failed to claim a single title in 2011 as Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei proved too strong throughout the year in a recurring theme for Europe’s number 1. In his 12 meetings with the top two players, he won just three games and failed to win a single match.
His record against the top two is 32-4, with his last victory over Lin Dan over 18 months ago and almost three years since his last win over Lee Chong Wei. His chances of a stunning upset and a Danish gold in London look grim whilst in the Super Series events he will be a perennial contender and will reach the latter stages of most of the events he participates in, but his chances of gold in London are slim.
Taufik’s Fall From Grace
The decline of Taufik started in May of this year when his #2 ranking slipped to 3 and then came the double defeat to Marc Zwiebler in the US and Canada Open. The foundation of his ranking came from his Denmark and France Super Series victories in 2010. His defeat in the second round to Viktor Axelsen in Denmark followed by his opening round loss to Wang Zhengming in France ensured Hidayat’s decline out of the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time in recent memory.
He ended the year with a whimper, losing all three games in the Super Series Finals and taking just a single game against Kenichi Tago. He will start 2012 with a world ranking of 12, still inside the qualifcation zone for the Olympics but he is currently the #2 ranked player from Indonesia with Simon Santoso ranked 7 in the world and Tommy Sugiarto a threat to Hidayat’s qualification also, ranked 17th in the world.
The Chinese Threat
The 2009 world champion Chen Jin as well as the new star of Chinese badminton, Chen Long are just the tip of a massive Chinese threat going into any major tournament in 2012. With 5 Chinese players inside the top 16, there is a massive internal battle within the Chinese squad to claim one of a potential three spots in the Olympics, should China manage to get three players inside the top 4 in the world.
Chen Long is clearly the new star of Chinese badminton, the 22-year old begun this year well outside of the top 10 and his stunning loss to Kevin Cordon in the opening round of the world championships could have derailed his promising career. However, he returned to form later in the year with a trio of titles including a Super Series Premier title in China before his milestone victory over Lee Chong Wei in Japan the next week. This became a recurring theme, with another victory over Lee Chong Wei in Denmark and then finally in their most recent matchup in the Super Series Finals. He is the main threat to the top two in the world going into 2012.
Chen Jin claimed just a single title this year, in the Singapore Super Series after a Lin Dan walkover in the final and without Lee Chong Wei even in the draw. His two runner-up medals were defeats to Lin Dan and Chen Long to firmly establish himself as the third force of Chinese badminton now.
Du Pengyu and Wang Zhengming are the two wild cards of Chinese badminton. They have all but been eliminated from being able to qualify for the 2012 games but will be vital in ensuring a massive Chinese presence at the London Olympics. Ranked #10 and #14 in the world will put them in a position of being seeds in some events but potentially facing one of the seeds in the Premier events of 2011, like Wang Zhengming taking on Taufik Hidayat in the French Super Series in October. They will also play a role in ensuring Chinese success at these events, with the Chinese squad allowing walkovers to occur in all-Chinese matchups, meaning more rest for the higher ranked Chinese players in their big events.
The Breakout Stars of 2011
2011 seen the emergence of Sho Sasaki, Lee Hyun Il, Simon Santoso and Marc Zwiebler into the top 16 players in the world. 29-year old Sho Sasaki has been grinding away a career that seen him ranked as low as 40 in June of this year after a string of opening round losses to start 2011. He then reached the semi finals in the Indonesian Super Series Premier and followed that with a win in the US Open in July. An excellent run to the last 8 of the world championships boosted his ranking into the top 10 and finishes the year with his highest ever world ranking of 7. A lot is expected of Sasaki in 2012 with impressive victories over Lin Dan and Du Pengyu in 2011 but has to ensure no opening round upsets that marred his 2011 season.
Lee Hyun Il ended his career after the Beijing Olympics, only to be talked back into playing competitively just 20 months ago. Ranked 196th in May of 2010, he has returned to the world’s top 10 going into 2012, winning his last two events of 2011. A former world number 1 in 2004, his return to the top 10 is nothing short of stunning with victories over Chen Jin, Wang Zhengming , Du Pengyu and Simon Santoso confirming his top 10 status. He will benefit in 2012 with being seeded for most of the early Super Series events of the year to bolster his place in the top 10.
Simon Santoso was touted to overtake Taufik Hidayat as Indonesia’s number 1 in the summer after Hidayat’s poor run in the US and Canada Open. He entered the world championships ranked 19th but his run to the semi finals in China and Macau, that featured a victory over Peter Gade seen Santoso become the top ranked Indonesian player and ensured his place in the top 10 in December. His victory over Hidayat in the China Masters saw the passing of the guard to the 26-year old.
Marc Zwiebler has cemented his place as Europe’s number 2 behind Peter Gade, but his double victory over Taufik Hidayat has pushed him into the spotlight. Ranked as high as 11 earlier in the year, he has levelled out within the 15-17 ranking in the later half of the year following his Canada Open success. Big things are expected of Zwiebler in 2012 as he is set to take on the mantle of Europe’s #1 after the Olympics.
The New Breed
Denmark’s future lies with Viktor Axelsen, the 2010 junior world champion and current European junior champion carefully scheduled his 2011 calender, with a victory in Spain before his greatest moment of his career in the Denmark Open as he defeated Taufik Hidayat in his hometown to reach the last 8 of a Super Series for the first time. He took a game off Peter Gade in his quarterfinal before losing out in three games but that propelled him onto the world stage. He played the Hong Kong and China Masters in the latter half of 2011 and will likely take on a full schedule in 2012 as he looks to improve on his ranking of 36.
Wong Wing Ki’s victory over Lin Dan in Denmark was the 21-year old’s first breakthrough victory of his career and a series of promising results to end 2011 has him just outside the top 20 in the world going into 2012. He has been competitive against the world’s elite throughout the last year with only his standout victory against Lin Dan to show for it, he will hope to have several more impressive wins in 2012.
The European Hopefuls
Pablo Abian, Rajiv Ouseph have been the powerhouses of the EBU circuit, whilst Jan O Jorgensen has been reaching the latter stages of the Super Series towards the end of 2011 after a health scare during the week of the Denmark Open.
Pablo Abian started 2011 just inside the top 50 in the world before taking four titles in the first half of the year, including a victory over Viktor Axelsen in Sweden in January to claim his first title. Opening round defeats in the Denmark and France Open will have to be improved on in 2012 to break into the world’s elite.
Rajiv Ouseph will go to the London Olympics as GB’s only chance of a medal in this event but his success in 2011 has came in Europe, with victories in Ireland and Scotland, choosing to play the European events instead of the Super Series Premier event in China. He goes into 2012 in need of a notable run in a Super Series to boost his confidence ahead of the pressure of performing on home soil after a poor attempt this year in a 21-8, 21-18 defeat to Peter Gade in the opening round of the 2011 world championships.
Jan O Jorgensen is a former top 10 player whose health scare in Denmark forced him into a layoff of 4 weeks that seen him dip to 19 in the rankings. Three quarter final appearances in Super Series events in 2011 will be the very minimum he will need to ensure his place at the Olympics ahead of Viktor Axelsen, as the two battle it out to be Denmark’s number 1 after Gade’s retirement.
However, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus is also a contender in the debate. Ranked outside the top 30 at the start of 2011, the Dane took the Dutch Open title in April to push him into the top 25 and another victory in the Bitburger Open sees him inside the top 20 and finished the year with a close match with Chen Long of China. The performance in the China Open will be one that Vittinghus hopes to emulate throughout 2011 to ensure his name is in the discussion over Denmark’s top men’s singles player.
The Asian Contingent
The rarely spoken about Tien Minh Nguyen has been inside the top 10 in the world for almost two years without any major runs in the Super Series, the Vietnamese player earns his ranking points from the GP Gold series of events but did put have a good run at the world championships, eventually losing out to Peter Gade in three games at the quarter final stage. Defeats to Sho Sasaki and Jan O Jorgensen in the latter part of 2011 still raise question marks over Nguyen’s true ability and significance within the rankings.
Park Sung Hwan’s year was cut short with an injury after the world championships. After surgery on his knee in September there was further complications after it was revealed that the Korean had circulation problems in his shoulder but is expected to return to action in the opening months of 2012. He was ranked inside the top 10 before his lay off due to injury.
Boonsak Ponsana is another player in the Tien Minh Nguyen mould in that he was almost discounted as a threat in the opening half of 2011 when he was ranked 6th in the world, mostly due to ranking points gained through the GP Gold series. His quarter final defeat to Lee Chong Wei is the highlight of a poor year for the Thai player that has seen him crash out of the top 10 but surgery has sidelined Ponsana for most of the second half of 2011, with 2012 seeing the Thai player hopefully return to the court.
The End Of An Era
Regardless of the results in London, Lee Chong Wei and Peter Gade have confirmed their intentions to retire after the Olympics. Lin Dan and Taufik Hidayat likely to follow suit, especially should Lin Dan claim his second Olympic title. Hidayat’s dip in form will likely be a contributing factor especially with his place in London far from guaranteed.
2012 will provide us with the end of an era and the chance to crown a new world number 1 after the Olympics. Whether that is Lee Chong Wei winning gold for Malaysia, Lin Dan retaining his Olympic title or the dream finale to Peter Gade’s stunning career, the countdown has begun. There is no more putting off talking about the likely retirement of these four players, for it is now a matter of months, not years now.
The 2012 season starts in just a few weeks, with the Korean Open Super Series Premier being moved 3 weeks to the first week in January, with the Malaysian Open Super Series the next week to ensure an exciting start to the year. The doubleheader of the Indonesia Premier and Singapore Super Series will be the final event before the run-in to the Olympics in late July.
Then, another 6 week break before the China Masters and the first opportunity to survey the aftermath of the 2012 Olympics. The year ends with the China Open Premier and the Hong Kong Super Series in late November to conclude what is likely to be a historic year of badminton.
The majority of the top ranked players and pairs have progressed into the playoffs needing just two games to ensure qualification, however some groups are doing down to the wire tomorrow in the final matches of the group stage.
Lee Chong Wei, Peter Gade, Lin Dan All Through
Few expected any resistance in Group A as Sho Sasaki and Simon Santoso were outclassed by the eventual qualifiers from the group in Peter Gade and Lee Chong Wei. Both players secured two victories and will play tomorrow for top spot within the group and the likelihood of the loser meeting Lin Dan in the semi final stage. The Group B winner takes on Kenichi Tago to ensure top spot, whilst the Japanese player needs a victory to have any chance of progressing. The other match in Group B sees Chen Long take on Taufik Hidayat, with the Chinese player also looking for a victory to ensure his place whilst the Indonesian cannot qualify for the last 4.
Sung Ji Hyun Remains Unbeaten
After her stunning win over Wang Yihan, Sung Ji Hyun ensured her place at the top of Group A with a two game victory over Juliane Schenk but still needs a victory over Tine Baun to ensure qualification, whilst the Dane must defeat Sung to have any chance of qualifying whilst Wang Yihan needs only to beat Juliane Schenk to reach the last 4. Group B is already settled with only the top spot on offer as Wang Xin and Saina Nehwal play in the final group match.
All To Play For In Doubles
Group A of the men’s doubles offers the simplest of equations, win and progress into the playoffs. All four pairs have won one and lost one going into the final round of matches tomorrow, with Cai and Fu against Ko and Yoo likely to be the standout match of tomorrow’s play with at least one of these pairs not playing this weekend. Chai and Guo take on Hashimoto and Hirata for the other place in the last 4. Group B is a different story, with Boe and Mogensen progressing as well as Lee and Jung ahead of their match tomorrow to determine top spot in the group.
Wang and Yu are safely into the last 4, even with a defeat tomorrow their points and games difference is too strong and have secured the top spot in Group A. Ha and Kim have to become the first non-Chinese pair to defeat Wang and Yu to have any chance of progressing into the last 4. Tian and Zhao are not mathematically through, but would need to lose convincingly to the Japanese pair of Fujii and Kakiiwa for the world number 3 pairing to have any chance of progressing.
Zhao Yunlei faces a similar situation in the mixed doubles, needing only to avoid a big defeat to Ahmad and Natsir to advance to the playoff stages. Xu and Ma need a victory against the British pair of Blair and White to ensure their place in the last 4, with the world number 22 pairing already out of contention. Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen have already won Group B, whilst either of the three pairings in their group capable of taking second place in the group. The likely winner between Ikeda and Shiota against Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam will look like the favourite to take the second place spot in the group.
Once again BWF is offering a live stream to select countries. You can find the various feeds here:
Day 1 Session 1
Day 1 Session 2
Day 2 Session 1
Day 2 Session 2
Day 3 Session 1
Day 3 Session 2
Semi Finals Session 1
Semi Finals Session 2
The best eight players and pairs are in Liuzhou this week for the final event of the 2011 Superseries season, with plenty of Chinese interest on home soil.
Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei Win Openers
The favourites from the two groups in the men’s singles both won their opening matches, but both needed three games to ensure a winning start this week. Lin Dan defeated Chen Long in a 62-minute thriller to open up Group B whilst Lee Chong Wei needed three games to defeat Sho Sasaki and ensure a win on the opening round of matches. Peter Gade tops Group A after an impressive 21-13, 21-9 victory over Simon Santoso and there was more disappointed for the Indonesians as Taufik Hidayat was defeated by Japan’s Kenichi Tago in the other Group B match, with Tago taking the deciding game 21-7 to share the top spot in the group with Lin Dan.
Wang Yihan Beaten Sung Ji Hyun
The big surprise in the women’s singles came in the Group A opener as world number 1 Wang Yihan lost to Sung Ji Hyun of Korea in a 72-minute match, after the Chinese number 1 took the opening game 21-13 but capitulated and lost the next two games to make her chances of making the semi finals increasingly difficult. Tine Baun tops the group after an impressive one-sided victory over Juliane Schenk, winning 21-12, 21-11 in just 27 minutes. Xin Wang needed just 26 minutes to defeat Sayaka Sato of Japan to top Group B whilst Saina Nehwal defeated Bae Youn Joo to start her campaign on a positive note.
Cai and Fu Defeated
The main news from the men’s doubles group was Cai and Fu’s defeat to Chai and Guo in their Group A opener, Ko and Yoo also suffered an opening game defeat, making their matchup on Friday potentially for the second position in the group. Lee and Jung survived their own scare against Koo and Tan but eventually won in three games to keep finishing top of their group a possibility. Wang and Yu top Group A in the women’s doubles with a 21-9, 21-11 victory over Poon and Tse whilst Tian and Zhao top Group B after a three game victory over Pedersen and Rytter Juhl in 58 minutes. Zhao and Zhang defeated their Chinese team-mates Xu and Ma in their opening match of the mixed doubles in Group A, with the world number 1 pairing winning the match in three games, needing 45 minutes to ensure a top two place in the group. Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen top Group B with a two game victory over Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand in a 21-15, 21-17 victory.
It may have only been a few seeds that crashed out today, but the significance of the names have changed several of the draws appearance. New world number 1 Wang Shixian crashed out as well as Taufik Hidayat in what could be his last tournament as a Super Series seeded player.
Taufik Crashes Out
It has been an all too similar story this year for Hidayat, another early exit from a Super Series but the manner of his defeat as well as the opponent signals a change in the guard of Indonesian badminton. His 21-15, 21-10 loss to Simon Santoso could be the last time Taufik Hidayat is ranked above Santoso, with just two places separating the pair at the start of the week and Santoso’s reward is a quarter final match against Peter Gade, who defeated Du Pengyu in his second round match. Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan both progressed safely into the last 8, as did Chen Long and Chen Jin who now face each other for a place in the semi finals on Saturday.
Wang Shixian and Tine Baun Out
The weight of China was on Wang Shixian’s shoulders once more, and once more an early exit has been the result. A second round defeat to Inthanon Ratchanok again asks questions over Wang Shixian’s ability to cope with the added pressure of being world number 1. It was one of just two defeats for the Chinese squad that could have had as many as 7 of the last 8 in the women’s singles. Han Li lost out to Petya Nedelcheva whilst Yao Xue ended the run of the 7th seeded Tine Baun with a three game victory and a quarter final against the 3rd seeded Wang Xin.
Business As Usual For Top Seeds In Doubles
It is yet another tournament with the same names looking likely to meet in the final, with Cai and Fu looking ever the more likely to take on Lee and Jung for the fourth Super Series event running, with the 2nd seeded Korean’s coming through a scare against Liu and Qiu to reach the last 8. The women’s doubles looks like an all-Chinese affair for the 4th time also, as Wang and Yu look set to meet Tian and Zhao after both pairs won their opening matches today. Whilst in the mixed doubles there was a surprise as the 2nd seeded Xu and Ma crashed out to Chan and Goh of Malaysia, allowing the 3rd seeded Danish pair of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen a potentially easier route into Sunday’s final. Top seeded Zhang and Zhao had no trouble in reaching the last 8, where they take on Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei before a potential semi final clash with another Danish pair in Laybourn and Rytter Juhl, who defeated the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir in what was a successful day for the Danes in Shanghai.
It was a day littered with retirements, shock results and the potential downfall to Taufik Hidayat’s stellar career. The day began with a Chinese victory in the mixed but there was little to celebrate for the Chinese camp tonight.
Many expected the 5th seeded Hidayat to struggle against the unseeded Wang Zhengming with the Indonesian’s play and overall desire being questioned with every tournament. He won the event in 2010 here, but a two-game defeat to Wang Zhengming almost certainly concludes Taufik’s reign in the top 10 of the world after losing his runner-up ranking points in Denmark last week and his first round exit this week in France.
The remaining 7 seeds progressed without much resistance, with all seven seeds needing just two games to advance. Lee Chong Wei takes on France’s own Brice Leverdez whilst the match of the second round sees Joachim Persson taking on Lin Dan for a place in the quarter finals.
Six Chinese players started in the women’s singles draw, just three remain in a draw that has been decimated by retirements and upsets. Wang Yihan benefitted from Susan Egelstaff’s retirement pre-event but Liu Xin and Jiang Yanjiao both had to retire early into their first round to cut the Chinese involvement in the event. Their involvement was cut further with the surprise defeat Wang Shixian to Sung Ji Hyun, as the second seed run of poor form continues.
Tine Baun suffered her second early exit in two weeks with a first round defeat to Tai Tzu Ying, cutting the European involvement down to just two players with victories for Juliane Schenk and Petya Nedelcheva, with the Bulgarian taking on the 3rd seeded Wang Xin who beat Linda Zechiri in the first round today.
European Interest Throughout In Doubles
Whilst there is a massive Asian contingent in the doubles, there is a few European pairs who have reached the second round impressively to ensure they are taken seriously this week. The top two seeds in the men’s doubles progressed without much hassle, as did the 3rd seeded Boe and Mogensen who have regained their form in the past two events, however there was a surprise loss for the 4th seeded Ko and Yoo against the Chinese pair of Hong and Chen in three games. There is a few European pairs left in the men’s doubles draw, with the Danish pair of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen as well as the English pairing of Adcock and Ellis reaching the last 16.
Wang and Yu won their 45th match of the year in their opening round victory over Chin and Wong whilst the 2nd seeded Tian and Zhao won their 37th match of 2011 in three games. The 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa defeated the Danish pair of Heisbol and Skelbaek to take on the English pairing of Olver and Agathangelou who progressed in a 93-minute classic against the Canadian pair of Reid and Grether to reach the second round.
Zhang and Zhao as well as Ma and Jin have started this week with victories, with varying degrees of difficulty. The top seeded Zhang and Zhao needed three games to progress against Lee and Chien whilst Ma and Jin defeated Hashimoto and Fujii in two games. The 2nd seeded pair take on the world silver medalist pair of Adcock and Bankier in the second round, who are also joined in the second round by Blair and White after their victory over the 7th seeded Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul and will take on the Korean pair of Yoo and Jang in their second round match.
The second consecutive week of Super Series action puts the players fitness to the ultimate test as well as allowing the form players from last weeks Denmark Open a chance to continue to maintain their run of good results.
Taufik’s final chance to perform
This is a massive week for Taufik Hidayat, defending his title as well as the ranking points that goes with it. His defeat to Viktor Axelsen in the second round only compounded the pressure to perform this week and his campaign starts with one of the toughest draws imaginable against Wang Zhengming of China. A first round defeat almost guarantees his fall out of the seedings for the remaining Super Series events for the reminder of 2011.
Lee Chong Wei will went to put the final in Odense on Sunday behind him as he takes on Marc Zwiebler of Germany in a potentially tricky opening round match this week. Lin Dan’s opener against Lee Hyun Il is another tricky match for the seeded players this week. Chen Long starts this week as a real favourite to make it two weeks in a row with his team-mate Lin Dan out of form and his double victory over Lee Chong Wei recently, he starts with a match against Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand. Peter Gade is another seed with a tough test in his opening round, taking on last week’s semi finalist Sho Sasaki.
Chinese battle for #1
Wang Xin’s victory over Wang Yihan has reopened the question over who is China’s number 1 player, with 6 players capable of winning their event from within the Chinese squad alone. Wang Yihan starts with an opening round walkover with Susan Egelstaff withdrawing with injury whilst 2nd seeded Wang Shixian takes on Sung Ji Hyun of Korea before a potential second round match against world championship silver medalist Cheng Shao Chieh.
Wang Xin, Jiang Yanjiao, Liu Xin and Li Xuerui are the other four Chinese players capable of winning this week. The three non-Chinese seeds will hope for better weeks than last week in Odense where they all crashed out early. 4th seeded Saina Nehwal starts with a tough match against Yao Jie and then a potential second round match against Li Xuerui. Juliane Schenk starts her campaign against Canadian qualifier Michelle Li before the winner takes on another qualifier in the second round. 8th seeded Tine Baun will hope that without the pressure of a home crowd that it will be a more successful week in Paris, she starts this week with a match against Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei
Chinese take top seeds in doubles
The three top seeds in the doubles are the current world champions, but only one pair come into this week with a victory in Odense. Cai and Fu will hope to go one better than their defeat in the final against Lee and Jung, with both pairs seeded to meet in the final once against this week. Cai and Fu start against Cho and Kwon of Korea whilst Lee and Jung start against the Malaysian pair of Gan and Tan. Boe and Mogensen will hope to continue their form from last week into this week as they start their campaign in Paris with a tough opener against Chandra and Gunawan of Indonesia.
Wang and Yu will go into this event as clear favourites once again in the women’s doubles and they look to claim another title in a stunning year for the world number 1 pairing. They start this week against the Malaysian pair of Chin and Wong whilst their main rivals this week will be their team mates Tian and Zhao, the only pair in the draw to inflict a defeat upon Wang and Yu. the 2nd seeds start with a match against the Japanese pairing of Matsutomo and Takahashi with a potential meeting against Cheng and Pan in the second round.
Zhang and Zhao will want to go one better than last week when they lost to Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen in Odense at the semi final stage, they start this week against Lee and Chien of Chinese Taipei. The 2nd seeded pair of Ma and Xu have similar aspirations after they lost to the Danish pair in the final, they take on the dangerous Japanese pair of Hashimoto and Fujii with a potential second round match against world silver medalists Adcock and Bankier waiting should they beat their first round qualifiers. Last week’s winners start against the Singapore pairing of Triyachart and Yao whilst their team mates Laybourn and Rytter Juhl start against Widianto and Marissa in the pick on the opening round matches in Paris on Wednesday.
The landscape of the men’s singles has potentially changed overnight with the 17-year old Viktor Axelsen defeating the 5th seeded Taufik Hidayat that almost ensures his decline out of the world’s top 10 and rewards the Danish fans as well as the badminton world with a stunning quarter final match between Viktor Axelsen against Peter Gade, in Denmark.
Taufik and Lin Dan Out
The headlines will be stolen by Viktor Axelsen, who defeated the 5th seeded Hidayat in a pulsating three game match that the 17-year dominated in the last two games to reach his first Denmark Open quarter final and a dream matchup against Peter Gade. The duo practiced together earlier this week but few expected the two to meet in the last 8. Gade defeated Germany’s Marc Zwiebler in two games in the evening session to book his place in the quarter finals.
The bottom half of the draw has been decimated with all but one seed remaining. Wong Wing Ki caused his own stunning upset with his three game victory over the world champion Lin Dan and there was also disppointment for Du Pengyu as he lost out to Jan O Jorgensen in three games, taking the tally of Danes in the quarter final to 3.
Baun and Schenk Crash Out
European interest in the women’s singles has ended before the weekend, much to the disappointment of the home fans as Tine Baun lost in a tame two game defeat to Inthanon Ratchanok. Juliane Schenk was beaten bu Sung Ji Hyun in two games also as the Chinese threat to claim the title looms large with 5 players in the last 8.
Saina Nehwal was the only other main rival capable of causing an upset but she also crashed out early on day 2, losing to Tai Tzu Ying in two games also. The Chinese juggernaut continues on with straight forward wins for Wang Xin and Wang Shixian but top seeded Wang Yihan fought back from a game down to reach the last 8 where she will face compatriot Jiang Yanjiao.
Danish Hope In Doubles
Denmark still has interest in the three doubles events to ease the disappointment of an absence of players in the women’s singles. 3rd seeded Boe and Mogensen have regained some form and have been emphatic in their route to the last 8 with a pair of excellent wins to set up a quarter final against Cho and Kwon of Korea, who defeated Koo and Tan earlier in the week. The top two seeds in the men’s doubles have both reached the quarter finals, with Lee and Jung being taken to three games by the Danish pairing of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen.
Kruse and Roepke fly the flag for Denmark in the women’s doubles alone after Pedersen and Rytter Juhl’s loss to their team-mates opponents in the quarter final, Japanese pair Misaki and Takahashi. The two Chinese pairs look to be a class apart this week, with both being highly impressive in the matches this week and never looking like losing a game to this point.
A double helping in the mixed doubles will also please the hometown fans, with Laybourn and Rytter Juhl turning back the clock to their 2009 world championship success to reach the last 8 this week. They take on one half of the 2010 world champions in Ma Jin, partnered by Xu Chen who defeated Kolding and Houmann in the second round today. Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen have lived up to their billing as the number 3 seeds with two excellent wins to date, their opponents in the quarter final will be the Indian pair of Valiyaveetil and Gutta who defeated the world silver medalists Adcock and Bankier in their second round game.