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.
The story of the day didn’t come from China, Indonesia, Malaysia of Denmark. It came from Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon as he gave us the first major shock in this years world championships in his three game victory over Chen Long, seeded 5.
His stunning upset could potentially aid the top seeded Lee Chong Wei, who was far from his best in his opening round victory but progressed in two games regardless. It was a day that seen Kenichi Tago and Hu Yun, seeded 15 and 16 also crash out, but today’s story in the men’s singles was Cordon’s victory. Current world champion Chen Jin progressed safely in two games, as did the 4th seeded Taufik Hidayat and the 14th seeded Marc Zwiebler, whose quarter of the top half of the draw has been made all the more easier with Chen Long’s absence. Park Sung Hwan set up an all-Korean second round clash with Shon Wan Ho and Ville Lang has the unenviable task of taking on Lee Chong Wei in the second round on Wednesday.
There were no seeds on show in the women’s singles, only 32 women looking for a chance to face a seed in round 2. Linda Zechiri of Bulgaria will take on the top seeded Wang Shixian in round 2, whilst Elizabeth Cann and Susan Egelstaff’s dreams to represent Great Britain the 2012 Olympics could top the balance to the English woman with the results today, with Cann progressing into round and Egelstaff’s losing to Michelle Li of Canada in two games. Spain’s Carolina Marin was the star in the opening round, with her two game victory over Yao Jie of the Netherlands and a place in the second round against the 15th seeded Eriko Hirose.
The 2005 world champions dream ended at the first hurdle, with Bach and Gunawan losing to Malaysia’s Abdul Latif and Hoon in two games, who take on the 10th seeded Fang and Lee in the second round. Markus Kido’s withdrawal means that Hong and Shen receive a walkover over the 6th seeded Indonesian, before taking on the winners of the Fang/Lee and Abdul Latif/Hoon matchup. Russia’s Ivanov and Sozonov take on the top seeded Cai and Fu in the second round, defeating the English pair of Ellis and Mills. There was English success in the opening round, Clark and Langridge are into round 2 and take on the 3rd seeded Lee and Jung whilst the other English pair in the last 32, Adcock and Ellis also have a tough take in the second round against the 4th seeded Ko and Yoo of Korea.
English wild card pairing of Langley and Smith progressed into the second round of the women’s doubles, making them the last English pair left in the competition and take on the 11th seeded Poon and Tse. There was further bad news for Korea with the withdrawal of the 6th seeded Ha and Kim meaning the Dutch pair of Piek and Tabeling receive a second round bye. India’s Gutta and Ponnappa progressed into the second round to take on the 2nd seeded Chein and Cheng whilst the Malaysia pair of Chin and Wong defeated England’s Wallwork and White to book a place in the second round against the 4th seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa of Japan.
Fujii partnered Hashimoto in the mixed doubles and progressed into round 2 with victory over Liu and Ko of Canada to set up a second round clash with the 7th seeded Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei. England’s only seeded pair, Robertson and Wallwork take on the Malaysian pair of Chan and Goh in the second round after the Malaysian’s defeated Munoz and Gonzalez of Mexico in their opening round match whilst Selena Piek received another walkover, this time in the mixed doubles and will take on Xu and Ma of China in the second round with partner Jacco Arends.
The second of three events in June takes the world’s best to Singapore, with only Lee Chong Wei missing from the men’s singles field. China have all of their big names here this week ahead of next week’s Premier Series event in Indonesia too.
Taufik Hidayat is the top seed this week with Lee Chong Wei’s absence and could face a real battle to progress this week with three Chinese players in his half of the draw. Wang Zhengming likely waits in the second round with Bao Chunlai and Chen Long looming should the Indonesian progress into the weekend. Viktor Axelsen gets a second shot at Wong Choong Hann inside of a week and world champion Chen Jin is unseeded this week and is also in the top half of the draw. Lin Dan is the 2nd seed this week and starts his campaign aganinst Shon Wan Ho before likely taking on the winner of Jan O Jorgensen and Kenichi Tago. Peter Gade starts his campaign this week against Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia before likely quarter final match against Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand.
Saina Nehwal begins her campaign this week against Lu Lan, again. The 4th seeded Indian also has Tine Baun in her half of the draw, but the top seed is China’s Wang Shixian who could face Wang Lin in an all-Chinese 2nd round match. Wang Yihan and Wang Xin are the big threats from the bottom half of the draw, but there is unseeded threats in the way of Ai Goto, Eriko Hirose, Yao Jie and Pi Hongyan.
The big shock in the men’s doubles is the pre-event withdrawal of top seeded Danish pair Boe and Mogensen, with the pair in a poor run of form since their performance at the Sudirman Cup. The main beneficiaries are the 3rd seeded Ko and Yoo whose run in the top half of the draw has become all the more easier. The bottom half of the draw is headlined by Lee and Jung, seeded 2 and the 4th seeded Cai and Fu of China, who are set to meet at the semi final stages this week. The match to look out for tomorrow is the 6th seeded Kido and Setiawan taking on the unseeded Bach and Gunawan in the opening round.
With no Wang and Yu this week, the Japanese pair of Maeda and Suetsuna are top seeds this week. However they face a new Chinese partnership in Ma and Pan who are both accomplished players within the Chinese ranks and are playing their first event together. Tian and Zhao, last weeks winners in Thailand are also in the top half of the draw. The 2nd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa have less competitive half of the draw, with only Jauhari and Polii, Ha and Kim and Vislova and Sorokina as main threats to the Japanese pair.
The top half of the mixed doubles is loaded with potential winners, from the top seeded Zhang and Zhao to 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir and countless unseeded pairings capable of putting a good run this week together. Hashimoto and Fujii, He and Yu, Xu and Ma, Lee and Ha, Widianto and Marissa as well as Nikolaenko and Sorokina are all in the top half of the draw. The bottom half as a distinct European feel to it, from the 3rd seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen as well as the 5th seeded Laybourn and Rytter Juhl of Denmark. There are three British pairs in Robertson and Wallwork, Adcock and Bankier as well as German Open winners White and Blair but there is still a Chinese threat in the 6th seeded Jiaming and Tian.
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
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. Continue reading »
Continue reading »
Day 2 in Malaysia and the first major surprises in the tournament were in the mens singles, with the perennial top-10 ranked players losing out in their second round matches.
6th seeded Boonsak Ponsana was the first to suffer a surprise defeat to Alamyah Yunus in a three game encounter lasting 72 minutes and just over an hour later, current world champion and 4th seeded Chen Jin lost his own second round in a 73-minute matchup with world number 27, Simon Santoso who claimed his first victory over the 4th seed in his sixth match against the Chinese player.
The rest of the seeds remaining had little problem in reaching the last 8, with Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei on a crash course in Saturday’s semi final if the pair can defeated their opponents tomorrow. Lee Chong Wei takes on Tien Minh Nguyen with both players reaching the last 8 without the loss of a game to date whilst Lin Dan takes on his Chinese team mate Chen Long in his quarter final, with the questions finally being answered of how close Chen Long is to beating the Olympic champion after the withdrawal of Lin Dan in China last month allowed Chen Long a free pass into the last 4. There were also wins for Taufik Hidayat and Kenichi Tago today and their reward is a matchup against one another for a place in the last 4.
All 4 of the women’s singles quarter final have a Chinese interest, such is the strength and depth of the Chinese squad. Top seeded Wang Xin was pushed to three games of Mew Choo Wong in her second round match and will be tested again with the 5th seeded Juliane Schenk being her opponent in tomorrow’s match. 2nd seeded Wang Shixian and 3rd seeded Wang Yihan have had little problem in reaching the last 8, with neither player dropping a game on route to this stage whilst the 4th of the quarter finals is an all-Chinese matchup between Jiang Yanjiao and Liu Xin, both have survived a three game match to reach the last 8 but this will be their biggest test to date with Liu Xin being one of the breakthrough players of the last few months for China, reaching 23 in the world rankings.
The men’s doubles is losing it’s compliment of seeded players on a daily basis, today saw the end of the 4th seeded Hashimoto and Hirata’s title challenge as well as the 7th seeded Bach and Gunawan losing out to Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen of Denmark. Ko and Yoo begun their campaign with a straight forward two game victory and will take on Chai and Guo in their last 8 match up, whilst the two Indonesian seeds are also safely into the last 8. Chandra and Gunawan are through to face the Danish pair of Rasmussen and Conrad-Petersen whilst the 6th seeded Ahsan and Septano are through to take on the Korean pair of Cho and Kwon in their quarter final match.
The women’s doubles is another event laden with Chinese interest, with all four quarter final matches having Chinese players in it. Du and Pan, seeded 5 will take on the top seeded Cheng and Chien in the first of the quarter finals, with both coming through three game matches in the second round to book their place in the last 8. 8th seeded Tian and Zhao take on the unseeded Singapore pair of Sari and Yao with both duos in fine form without the loss of a game to date. Ma and Cheng take on Ha and Kim of Korea, another match with both pairs coming into the match in excellent form. The most intriguing of the 4 matches is the match between Wang and Yu, seeded 6 against the 2nd second Nedelcheva and Russkikh with the most dominant performances this week coming from their two pairs who have progressed with the loss of 70 points in 8 games to this point.
With six of the eight seeds remaining, the possibility of a winner coming from one of those six is high especially with the remaining two unseeded duos playing each other in the quarter final. Thai pairing of Voravichitchaikul and Anugritayawon take on the Scottish/English partnership of Robert Blair and Gabby White after both came through their difficult second round matches without the loss of a game between the two matches. The highest remaining seeds are the Korean pair of Ko and Ha who take on the 7th seeded pairing of He and Ma, a rematch of their second round match in Hong Kong last month that the Koreans won convincingly in two games.
The 2009 final was perhaps the greatest final in recent memory between Cai/Fu and Lee/Jung, China’s national coach Li Yongbo called the match “”a classic that will be often recalled as one of the best men’s doubles matches in the recent history of the sport”. Can the 2010 final live up to last years final? The potential rematch is on.
Koo and Tan of Malaysia are this years top seeds, and after their first round bye they take on the Kopriva brothers of the Czech Republic, ranked 65th in the world. Chai and Zhang are the other seeds in the section, with the 14th seeds from China taking on Issara and Jongjit of Thailand, the world number 101. The other match in the section is between Ivanov and Sozonov of Russia and Bosch and Ridder of Holland, with the winners likely to play Chai and Zhang in Round 2.
Despite a world ranking of 4, last years finalists Lee and Jung are ranked 7th for the 2010 Championships which could be down to Lee Yong Dae’s injury over the past few months. Despite their high ranking, they still receive an opening round bye before playing Fogarty and Neumann of the USA, ranked 59 in the world. The 9th seeded Chandra and Gunawan are the other seeds in the section and take on Welsh dup Morgan and Philips in Round 1, the world number 56. The other match is between Saputra and Wijaya of Singapore take on Fuchs and Kindervater of Germany for a place in Round 2.
Guo and Xu are the big Chinese hope for 2010, the 4th seeds have an opening round bye before taking on the young English pairing of Langridge and Middleton of England, the world number 33. The 12th seeded Chen and Lin of Chinese Taipei taking on Sato and Kawamae of Japan in Round 1, ranked 29th in the world and the match that will be one of the best of the opening round. There is local interest with Constantin and Vincent of France taking on the Australian pair of Gunaratne and Whitehead for a place in Round 2.
The 2010 All England winners Paaske and Rasmussen are the 8th seeds and after their opening round bye take on the Austria’s Grassmuck and Zimwald, the world number 68 pairing. The 15th seeded Kumar and Thomas of India begin their campaign with a match against Africa’s #2 Fagbemi and Ifraimu of Nigeria, ranked 93rd in the world. Africa’s #1 James and Viljoen, ranked 92 in the world take on the French pair of Corvee and Grosjean.
The 2009 winners Cai and Fu have played just 5 tournaments since their triumph last year and have slipped to 13 in the world rankings, but received the 5th seed for this years championship and begin their campaign against Croatia’s Durkinjak and Hoelbling, ranked 60th in the world. The match of the opening round is between 10th seeded Bach and Gunawan of the USA and Robertson and Clark of England, ranked 20th in the world. The English pairing pulled out of the 2009 Championships due to security concerns and will not want to be put out in the opening round in 2010. The winners of that match take on the winners of the final match in the section between Magee and Stephenson of Ireland and Konov and Zavadsky of the Ukraine.
The big European hope in 2010 is Boe and Mogensen, the world number 3 and seeded 3rd for the championships. They start their campaign in Round 2 with an all-Danish match against Kristiansen and Henriksen. The Korean pair of Ko and Yoo are the 13th seeds and the other seed in the section and take on Thailand’s Anugritayawon and Prapakamol, ranked 32nd in the world. Austria takes on Guatemala in the other match, with Koch and Zauner taking on Cordon and Ramirez.
6th seeded Fang and Lee begin their campaign against Dutch duo Khodabux and De Ruiter, ranked 48th in the world. The Japanese 11th seeds Hashimoto and Hirata are the other seeds in the section and take on Wiratama and Wong of Hong Kong in their opening match; the 23rd ranked pair should be a tough start for the 11th seeds. Gan and Tan of Malaysia take on Durkin and Nikolaenko of Russia in the final match in the section, the world number 21 duo taking on the world number 31 pair in arguably the hardest section in the draw to pick a pair to come out of with the 6th, 11th, 21st, 23rd and 31st ranked pairings in it.
The final section sees 2nd seeded Kido and Setiawan start after an opening round bye against Poles Cwalina and Logosz, ranked 61 in the world. Choong and Lee are the final seeds at 16 and take on German pair of Hopp and Schottler of Germany in their opening match. The final match in the section sees the world number 19 of Dasuki and Sukmawan take on French duo of Careme and Grosjean, ranked 45th in the world.