The Pan-American games have just wrapped up, after an eventful week in Guadalajara, Mexico. The tournament is highly regarded as the most important tournament for Pan-American players.
The Men’s singles was all about who could get the closest to beating Guatemalan sensation Kevin Cordon. The twenty-four year old Guatemalan rose to fame this year after beating China’s Chen Long and making the quarter-finals of the 2011 BWF World Championships. He went the entire tournament without losing a set, although many came close. The bottom half of the draw was a little more exciting with unseeded players Charles Pyne (Jamaica) and Osleni Guerrero (Cuba) seeming to come out of nowhere to take control of the entire bottom half. Guerrero lead the way by defeating Canada’s top singles player Stephan Wojcikiewicz in three games, 10-21, 22-20, and 21-18. Pyne exploded into the quarter-finals after a close game with second seed Rodrigo Pacheco Carrillo of Peru. The match went the full length with Pyne wrapping up the third game soundly, 21-10. Pyne and Guerrero met in the semi-final, where both were strongly seeking a spot in the final. The match lasted 38 minutes, with the Cuban player coming out on top, 21-18, 18-21, and 21-18. However Guerrero’s luck fell short against Cordon in the final. The Cuban came close to drawing a third but Cordon edged him out in two sets, 23-21, and 21-19.
Canada’s Michelle Li took a page from Kevin Cordon’s book this tournament, winning the tournament without losing a set. In fact, no player scored over 16 points in any game against her. She dominated the top half of the draw, winning her semi-final over Victoria Montero of Mexico, 21-10, and 21-7. Once again, the bottom half of the draw was much more interesting. Second seed Rena Wang of USA, had a surprising upset in the form of Peru’s Claudia Rivero, with the Peruvian taking out the America in the quarter-final, 21-15, and 21-19. But Rivero would not progress any further as third seeded Canadian talent, Joycelyn Ko overwhelmed Rivero in three sets, 21-9, 17-21, and 21-10. The final was all Canadian, with Ko and Li even being from the same province of Ontario. Michelle Li retained her sharp form, taking the Pan Am title, 21-13, and 21-12 in only twenty minutes.
Tony Gunawan formerly of Indonesia, has obtained American citizenship and is now flying the flag for USA men’s doubles, with partner, Howard Bach. Gunawan, who is widely regarded as the greatest front court player of all time, showed complete and utter dominance over his half of the draw, advancing to the final after only three short matches. They defeated the Mexican pairing of Lopez Andres and Lino Munoz, 21-12, and 21-12 in their semi-final. Canada’s second seeded pair of Adrian Liu and Derrick Ng seemed to have their half under control until the semi-finals. Halim Haryanto Ho and Sattwat Pongnairat of USA burst into the final after defeating the top Canadian pair 22-20, and 21-14. The final would be an all American brawl, with Gunawan and Bach displaying their 2005 World Champion form, winning 21-10 and 21-14 in 15 solid minutes.
The women’s doubles would be another battle for supremacy between USA and Canada. Top seeded sisters of Rena and Iris Wang made their way into the semi-finals with two solid wins. They then faced the dynamics of Canadians Grace Gao and Joycelyn Ko. The Canadian pair put up a tremendous fight but ultimately fell short in the end, with the Wang sisters winning themselves a spot in the final, 21-10, 10-21, and 21-12. The bottom half also had an American and Canadian semi-final. Third seeded Americans, Eva Lee and Paula Lynn Obanana led the way into the semi-final, beating both a Brazilian and Peruvian pairing on the way. But second seeds Alex Bruce and Michelle Li would not be far behind, making their way into the semi-final after impressive wins against Mexico and Dominican Republic. The Canadians and Americans clashed in their semi-final; however the Canadian pairing of Bruce and Li displayed a higher level of badminton in the tight third set. The final was another brawl between Canada and USA, with Bruce and Li facing off against the Wang sisters. Michelle Li walked away with her second title of the tournament, when partner Alex Bruce and her defeated the USA pair in two sets, 21-15, and 21-15. The match only lasted a total of twenty minutes.
The mixed doubles was another Canada vs. USA showdown. The top half of the draw featured top seeds Toby Ng and Grace Gao of Canada, facing off against Howard Bach and Paula Lynn Obanana of USA, in a tough three set final. The Americans fought hard, but Ng and Gao had more control in the third game, winning 21-11, 19-21, and 21-14. In the bottom half of the draw, Americans Halim Haryanto Ho and Eva Lee had an easier time finding their way into the final, winning their semi-final against the Peruvian team of Rodrigo Pacheco Carrillo and Claudia Rivero, 21-13 and 21-19. The mixed doubles final was the longest final of the tournament. Ng and Gao had met Halim and Eva in a few other tournaments this year and it seemed to be a pretty evenly set final. The match went to a third game and lasted thirty-two minutes in total. The Canadian pairing came out on top in the end, finishing off the American pair, 21-13, 9-21, and 21-17. This was Canada’s third title, meaning Canadians had won three out of the total five events, while Guatemala and USA only won one title each.
While Canadian pair Derrick Ng and Adrian Liu may have dreamed of upsetting former World Champions Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach it wasn’t to be. The top seeded pair were at their best when their steamrolled the young pair 21-10, 21-9 to win the mens doubles title. An important learning experience for the Canadian pair who we expect to see big things from moving forward.
Things would turn out better for the older of the Ng brothers when Toby Ng and Grace Gao won the mixed doubles by defeating Americans Halim Ho and Eva Lee 21-11, 14-21, 21-15. This is an important win for the Canadian pair as we head towards the Olympic qualification run.
The womens doubles would be yet another great win for the Canadians as Michelle Li and Alex Bruce continued their fantastic run by defeating Americans Iris Wang and Rena Wang in three games 11-21, 21-15, 21-8. This is yet another important match heading into the Olympic qualification period as these two pairs will no doubt be among the few teams fighting for a top spot in the Pan American qualification.
Rena Wang may have been disappointed with her loss in the doubles, however her singles victory would make up for that as she defeated top seed Nicole Grether 21-19, 20-22, 17-9. It has not yet been reported what caused Grether to retire in the 3rd game.
Finally the only event not to feature either a Canadian or American player was the mens singles. This would go to Pan America’s top player and Olympic qualification favourite Kevin Cordon who defeated Austria’s Michael Lahnsteiner in three games 23-21, 6-21, 21-12.
Full Finals Day Results
Today wrapped up the semi-finals of the Peru International Badminton Championships and as we head into the finals the events are dominated by the Americans and Canadians with the exception of the mens singles event.
The top seeded Austrian Michael Lahnsteiner had a tough but not overly close semi-final match against hometown favourite Rodrigo Pacheco. Lahnsteiner won in two straight games 21-16, 21-15, and now he faces off against Guatemala and Pan America’s top player Kevin Cordon who defeated Iztok Utrosa in two straight games 21-13, 21-14.
The women’s singles held some surprises and disappointment for Canada’s Michelle Li. Li, the second seed, was upset by American Rena Wang 21-18, 21-12. Wang will have to defeat yet another Canadian if she’s to win the title as she now plays Nicole Grether who recently began playing under the Canadian flag after years of representing Germany.. Grether earned her finals place by defeating Cee Ketpura 16-21, 22-20, 21-12.
Grether may have had fortune on her side in the singles, however it didn’t favour her in the doubles as she and her partner Charmaine Reid were upset by their Canadian compatriots Michelle Li and Alex Bruce in three very close games 12-21, 21-18, 21-19. Li will have an opportunity to avenge her singles loss against Rena Wang as her and Iris Wang defeated Grace Gao and Joycelyn Ko in two games 21-18, 21-13.
The mens and mixed doubles events both feature Canada’s Ng brothers who have shown some strong performances domestically and internationally this year. First up in the mixed doubles Toby Ng is paired with Grace Gao and with a semi-final win over his brother Derrick and his partner Phyllis Chan he has found a place in the finals against Americans Halim Ho and Eva Lee who defeated Joycelyn Ko and Adrian Liu in three games.
Finally in the mens doubles we have what could be one of the more exciting finals to watch. Former world champions Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach are set to play the Derrick Ng and Adrian Liu in the finals. The Americans had to defeat French pair Laurent Constantin and Sebastian Vincent and did so with gusto by winning in two decisive games 21-9, 21-13. The Canadian pair also win with little struggle over their opponents Sameera Gunatileka and Vincent Nguy 21-15, 21-12. The Canadian pair are the obvious underdogs, but have shown some high level ability in the last year so it would be unsafe to discount them.
Full Saturday Match Results
After a long week and some hard fought battles Lithuanian Kestutsis Navickas is the champion of the Atwater International 2010. In spite of the relatively straight forward scores he had throughout the tournament Navickas fought very hard powering his way through his matches by virtue of his gritty play, fighting harder than all of his opponents. His final match against France’s Brice Leverdez was his most challenging of the week, and the only match to go three games with Navickas winning 21-16, 18-21, 21-14.
Canada’s Wunderkind Michelle Li seemed poised for her first international title, but it wasn’t to be as her second Japanese opponent was able to just sneak past her in the end. Oka Hitomi would be the second consecutive Japanese shuttler to dash Li’s hopes in a thrilling three game win 15-21, 21-12, 23-21.
Dutchmen Ruud Bosch and Koen Ridder were dominant all week in Montreal, and the finals were no different. They made their way to the finals without dropping a game, and American pair Halim Haryanto and Phillip Chew would be no different losing 21-13, 21-10. The women’s doubles was unfortunately a default victory for Charmaine Reid and Nicole Grether as Huang Ruilin and Lim Yee Theng were unable to play.
Perhaps the most impressive match of the day was the sibling rivalry in the mixed doubles between Derrick and Toby Ng. The two brothers faced off for family pride, but it was Toby and his partner Grace Gao taking the title in a nailbiter over Derrick and Jiang Xuelian 21-18, 20-22, 26-24. No doubt the Ng household has much to be proud of these past few weeks with Derrick’s recent victory in Peru with doubles partner Adrian Liu.
For her second consecutive international tournament Canada’s Michelle Li has booked herself a final. Japan’s Ito Kana fought hard, but it wasn’t enough as Li won the match in three games 13-21, 21-14, 21-13 to set up an encounter against Ito’s teammate Oka Hitomi who defeated Charmaine Reid 21-15, 21-6 in the other semi-final. Li has yet to win an international event, but this could be her best chance yet.
Canada had two hopefuls in the mens singles as well, unfortunately neither produced as David Snider fell in three close games to Brice Leverdez 21-11, 15-21, 21-15, and Stephan Wojcikiewicz lost to Lithuanian Kestutsis Navickas 21-12, 21-13. The Snider-Leverdez match was an extremely entertaining battle, unfortunately for the Canadian he was unable to keep it close going into the final few points.
As in the men’s singles, the men’s doubles final will feature no Canadian participants and instead will have a Dutch pair, and an American pair facing off for the title. Top seeds Ruud Bosch and Koen Ridder defeated the recent Peru International champions Derrick Ng and Adrian Liu 21-15, 21-15 to solidify their top seeding, and tomorrow will face off against America’s Halim Haryanto and Phillip Chew who defeated Canada’s Maxime Belanger and Francois Bourret 21-11, 21-10.
Top seeds Nicole Grether and Charmaine Reid did well to fend off the challenge from Japan’s Ito Kana and Oka Hitomi in three close games 21-18, 19-21, 21-14. Their opponents in the final will be another Canadian hybrid team after Huang Ruilin of Canada and Lim Yee Theng from Malaysia defeated second seeded Peruvians Christina Aicardia and Claudia Rivero in two straight games 21-13, 21-17.
It’s a sibling rivalry in the mixed doubles as Toby Ng takes on his brother Derrick Ng. Toby and his partner Grace Gao took their semi-final match against Kevin Li and Alex Bruce in two straight 21-12, 21-18. Derrick partnered with Jiang Xuelian to knock out Canadian national champions Jon Vandervet and Milaine Cloutier in three games 21-18, 20-22, 21-8.
Tomorrow promises some exciting matches so stay tuned for more results.
The upsets continue in the womens singles with both the first and second seeds falling at the quarter-finals stage. It started with first seeded Nicole Grether falling to Oka Hitomi in three close games 18-21, 21-16, 21-15. Next was the Canadian youngster Michelle Li upsetting veteran Swiss shuttler Jeanine Cicognini in a thriller 17-21, 21-19, 21-19. Cicognini had the advantage at the end of the match, but Li managed to turn the tide at the very end to win.
The only upset on paper to happen in the mens singles was the loss of Daniel Paiola of Brazil to local hopeful David Snider, however based on the performance from Snider it appeared that Paiola was outclassed the entire time losing in two quick games 21-8, 21-14. Top seeded Brice Leverdez struggled to take his quarter-final match against Canada’s Dan Kai. The French player had to fight back from one game down to force a third game. Trailing 13-15 he quickly shifted the momentum taking seven straight points before winning the third game and taking the match 19-21, 21-13, 21-18.
All was well in the mens doubles for the seeds as all four of the seeds remain heading into the semi-final stage. Dutch pair Ruud Bosch and Roen Kidder won easily over Canadian champions Jon Vandervet and Alvin Lau 21-15, 21-13 to set up their next match against recent Peru International champions Adrian Liu and Derrick Ng who also had a fairly straightforward win over Darren Hong and Kevin Li also of Canada. The bottom half of the draw is composed of Maxime Belanger and Francois Champagne taking on former world champion Halim Haryanto, and Phillip Chew his junior partner, both representing the USA.
The womens doubles top seeds Nicole Grether and Charmaine Reid booked their semi-final place after a solid performance against Canadian champions Xuelian Jiang and Melody Liang winning 21-18, 21-18. They will now face Japan’s Ito Kana and Oka Hitomi who defeated Canada’s Stephanie Ko and Phyllis Chan 21-10, 23-21. Second seeded Peruvians Christina Aicardi and Claudia Rivero to defeat their American opponents Priscilla Lun and Paula Obañana, but pulled out the win 21-16, 11-21, 21-17 to set up their semi-final match up against Ruilin Guang and Yee Theng Lim.
The last event of the day was the mixed doubles which is guaranteed to have a local champion as all four remaining pairs are Canadian. First up Toby Ng and Grace Gao avenged their upset at the nationals when they easily defeated Francois Bourret and Florence Lavoie 21-17, 21-7. They will face Alex Bruce and Kevin Li in their semi-final match tomorrow. National champions Jon Vandervet and Milaine Cloutier had a battle to book their semi-final place when they defeated American pairing Nicholas Jinadasa and Paula Obañana 17-21, 21-13, 21-17 and now face Derrick Ng and Xuelian Jiang.
Matches start tomorrow at 5pm
Although a little late in coming, the draws for the Atwater Canadian International 2010 have been released. Apparently the Pan American organizers had their laptop stolen at the recent World Junior Championships which delayed their publication of the draw.
Top seeded Brice Leverdez faces Zhang Kailai from Canada who may be unseeded, but recently immigrated from China so the top seed could be the first favourite to fall. Other strong favourites for the mens singles title include second seed Canada’s Stephan Wojcikiewicz, third seed Kestutis Navickas, and a handful of other seeds. Perhaps the most dangerous dark horse in the draw is Japan’s Ikeda Yuichi who won the recent Peru International.
Nicole Grether from Germany is the top seed gunning for the womens singles title. Similar to Leverdez in the mens singles Grether has a tough first round against Canada’s Phyllis Chan. On the far side of the draw is Jeanine Cicognini from Switzerland who plays Canada’s Valerie St Jacques. Other notables include Anna Rice, Michelle Li from Canada, and Claudia Rivero from Peru, Oka Hitomi and Ito Kana from Japan.
Almost an exclusively Canadian event, however both the first and second seeds are non-Canadian with Dutch players Ruud Bosch and Koen Ridder as first seeds, and Americans Phillip Chew and Halim Haryanto as second seeds. Recent Peru International winners Derrick Ng and Adrian Liu will be gunning for the second ever international title, they are the third seeds. Fourth seeded Maxime Belanger and Francois Bourret will be looking to make an impact, and unseeded Canadian national champions Jon Vandervet and Alvin Lau are also looming threats.
The German/Canadian duo of Nicole Grether and Charmaine Reid are the top seeds once again after cruising to a straight forward win in Peru recently. As in Peru the second seeds will be Peru’s Christina Aicardi and Claudia Rivero. Both the seeded pairs have challenging first rounds matches. Grether and Reid will likely face the recent Canadian national champions Melody Liang and Jiang Xuelian. The Peruvian second seeds have a possible match up against Michelle Li and Alex Bruce.
In the mixed doubles we have yet another near exclusive Canadian draw with only three pairs not featuring a Canadian player. Top seeded Canadians Toby Ng and Grace Gao will be looking to take their first ever international title, however there are a number of other pairs threatening the title. Perhaps the most threatening are Canadian national champions Jon Vandervet and Milaine Cloutier who are unseeded.
In spite of recent retirements from a number of top players, the Canadian team managed to pull out a superb performance at the Peru International in Lima.
The mens singles was the one and only final that did not feature at least one Canadian player with both players hailing from Japan. While both players may have been unseeded they were clearly the strongest two of the tournament with Yuichi Ikeda defeating his teammate Hiroyuki Saeki in two close games 21-19, 21-19. The womens singles was also taken by a Japanese player, Manami Ebuchi. Manami faced Canadian youngster Michelle Li in the final and took the title with a 21-18, 21-17 scoreline.
In the mens doubles Canadian pair Adrian Liu and Derrick Ng were on a mission from the beginning. Dominating the majority of their earlier round opponents, including a decisive win over the top seeded Peruvians 21-8, 21-9, the Canadians snuck out a close win in the finals to take their first ever international title. Their opponents from Japan, Hiroyuki and Hajime came close, however 21-18, 10-21, 22-20 was not close enough.
The womens doubles was a much more decisive win with the Canada/Germany pairing of Charmaine Reid and Nicole Grether taking the title with a 21-15, 21-10 win over Claudia Rivero and Christina Aicardi.
Finally the mixed doubles final featured a sibling rivalry with Derrick Ng and Phyllis Chan facing off against Toby Ng and Grace Gao. Derrick Ng was however only able to take the one title for the day as his brother Toby and Grace Gao won the mixed in a very close three games 11-21, 21-19, 22-20.
In spite of not fielding a team for the Pan Am team event, Guatemala has a lot to be proud of this week. Kevin Cordon managed to fight his way to two gold medals at the Pan Am Championships in Mexico when he defeated Stephan Wojcikiewicz from Canada 21-11, 21-19 in the mens singles and then partnered up with Rodolfo Ramirez to defeat Antonio De Vinatea and Martin Del Valle from Peru 21-18, 17-21, 23-21. The rest of the events were snatched up by Canada who also won the team event.
Men’s Singles : Kevin Cordon def Stephan Wojcikiewicz 21-11, 21-19
Women’s Singles: Anna Rice def Jocelyn Ko 21-17, 21-14
Men’s Doubles: Cordon/Ramirez def De Vinatea/Del Valle 21-18, 17-21, 23-21
Women’s Doubles: Cloutier/St. Jacques def Gao/McKee 13-21, 21-14, 21-17
Mixed Doubles: Ng/Gao def Pang/Ko 21-15, 21-16
Alright, the last event of the day, here is your line up:
Will Milroy and Toby Ng vs Timothy Ma and Kyle Hunter
The game is just underway and right now Will and Toby are leading 5-0 in the first game
At the first game interval Will and Toby were leading 11-1, it’s now 13-2 in the first.
Will and Toby dominated the first game winning 21-5.
Will and Toby still dominating, 17-8 in the second game
Match won by Will and Toby 21-5, 21-11. Yet another doubles national title for Will Milroy, and a first for Toby Ng since juniors (I’m assuming he won in juniors?)