The draw in Japan left a real chance of seeds falling today, with potential shocks with Boonsak Ponsana against Lee Chong Wei in Round 1 being one of the matches of the day. Ponsana came into the event on the back of his Super Series Final defeat to Lin Dan and the Thai player was expected to trouble the world number 1.

That was simply not the case. Lee Chong Wei sailed into Round 2 with a 21-9, 21-15 victory. Joachim Persson, seeded 7 played Shon Wan Ho of Korea, a player showing promise in recent weeks. The Korean player took a set of Peter Gade just last week in the China Masters and continues his excellent form with a superb 21-13, 21-13 over Persson. He plays Bao Chunlai in Round 2.

The bottom half of the men’s draw has been decimating with Chen Jin’s withdrawal and Joachim Persson’s defeat, leaving just two seeds in the bottom half of the draw going into Round 2. The Women’s draw is none the better, with Wang Yihan the last seed left in the top half of the Women’s draw.

Zhou Mi’s half of the draw was a potentially easier one that she expected, the withdrawal of world champion Lu Lan and Xie Xingfang meant that only herself and Wang Yihan were seeded in the top half. Adriyanti Firdasari was her Round 1 opponent, three sets and 56 minutes later, the top seed tumbled out of the competition. Zhou Mi held a 16-12 lead in the third set, only to lose nine of the next eleven points. Half of the seeds in the Women’s singles are now out or withdrew pre-event. Salna Nehwal also failed to reach Round 2, with a three-set defeat against Jiang Yanjiao.

The event is littered with Chinese withdrawals, Lu Lan, Xie Xingfang, Cai and Fu, Xie Zhongbo and Zhang Yawen to name a few.

The Men’s Doubles has also suffered its fair share of shocks in Round 1. Second seeds Tan and Koo losing to Japanese partnership of Hayakawa and Kazuno. The pair was seeded 14th at the World Championships. The story of the early rounds of the World Championships was Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan’s run at world title number two.

The pair put together some incredible victories to reach the quarterfinals; they have started their campaign with another outstanding win over Paaske and Rasmussen, the 6th seeds. The American partnership was never behind in the third set and play Hoshino and Kobayashi in Round 2.

Play begins on Thursday at midday local time.

Yonex Japan Open Super Series 2009 Draws

What Separates The Best From The Rest: Nationality

On September 16, 2009, in Instructional, by Emmet Gibney

This article is a little different than the others in this series in that it offers no advice to the individual players (other than perhaps to leave your country), but instead offers up ideas to the organizations. Upon viewing the title of this article I’m sure that already many of you are prepared to start arguing with me. Where you’re from should make no difference whether you’re a good player or not you say, people from even the most remote places have the ability to succeed in badminton. This is true to a point, but it is undeniable that a small handful of countries, and one country in particular, dominate badminton. In no particular order here are the main countries I am referring to:

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Another year and another World Championships is over, new World Champions have been crowned whilst some continue their domination of the sport. It was a tournament full of surprises, from England’s withdrawal on the eve of the Championships to seeing Lin Dan seeded a mere fifth.

The Winners:

He might have been seeded fifth, but Lin Dan is still the best player in the world. He almost eased into the tournament with three simple wins in under 90 minutes, and then hit top form when it mattered against Peter Gade, Sony Dwi Kuncoro and Chen Jin to win his third straight World Championship.

Lu Lan came in as China’s 4th best player, but now she is World Champion. Beating four of the top ten seeds on her way to the world title without losing a set is a remarkable achievement for the 22-year old. She defeated Xie Xingfang and Wang Lin on her way to the world title to declare herself as the number one player in China and in the world.

Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng’s lack of tournament experience this year did little to hinder their progress at this years world championship, but had to come through the most remarkable match of the Championships in the final against Lee and Jung where they had a to save two Championship points at before taking the title at their sixth match point, winning 28-26 in the third game in a 75 minute epic.

Zhao and Zhang came in as China 4th best women’s doubles partnership but they showed the depth and quality of the nation by defeating two higher Chinese seeds on their way to their first World title. Their stunning win over Ha and Kim in the quarterfinal will live long in the memory.

The only non-Chinese winner and a first gold for Denmark since 2003 as Laybourn and Rytter Juhl take the mixed doubles title, beating the top three seeds on their way to the title. It is an event that the Chinese haven’t won since 2001 and a result that will boost the game as a whole in Europe that the Asian stranglehold can be broken.

The Surprises:

Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan rolled back the years at this years World Championship, unseeded and unfancied at the start of the week they went on a run that turned them from no-hopers to contenders for the title. Only a narrow defeat in the quarterfinal robbed them of another run at the world title.

Jan O Jorgensen’s run to the quarterfinals could be the first look into the future of Danish badminton and to continue the legacy of outstanding men’s singles players. The 21-year old gave Taufik Hidayat a real scare in the last 8 before narrowly losing out, but don’t count out another run by Jorgensen next year.

The Disappointments:

Paaske and Rasmussen’s shock round 2 defeat was one of the big disappointments of the opening three days of action. Their half of the draw opened up with the withdrawal of Kido and Setiawan but the 2005 World Championships fell at the first hurdle.

There was a lot of harsh criticism of Lee Chong Wei’s defeat to Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the quarterfinal stage on the live-blog that was onsite during the World Championships, but that is not my reason for putting him down as a disappointment. I think he was the only genuine contender to Lin Dan this year and we were almost robbed on their potential semi-final encounter, a victory over Lee Chong Wei would have made Lin Dan’s three-peat all the more impressive.

What next for the world’s best? Macau next week.

Finals Matches

The quarter finals are underway, and we are covering the ongoing results as they happen. The matches are only getting more intense so join in with the chat to let us know what you think is going to happen!
BVM Coverage – World Badminton Championships Quarter-Finals

The round of 16 pitted seed against seed, with yet more shocks along the way. 4th seeded Wang Yihan crashed out to 11th seeded Juliane Schenk in two games, who plays Pi Hongyan of France, seeded 8.

Court 1 was also the stage to see top seeded Wong Pei Tty and Chin Eei Hui crash out of the Women’s Doubles to Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna, seeded 11 from Japan.

All of the 10 games on Court 2 ended in two sets, with the big shock of the day being Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan ending Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen’s chances of world title success.

Jan O Jorgensen’s superb form continued as he disposed of 16th seed Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand to book his place in the quarterfinals against Taufik Hidayat.

Day 5 begins with doubles on all three courts, followed by on Court 1 is the all-European Women’s Singles match between Juilane Schenk and Pi Hongyan. Chen Jin plays Simon Santoso third on court. Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan play Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong for a place in the semi finals.

Court 2 starts with top seeds Lee and Lee play Xie Zhongbo and Zhang Yawen, followed by Ma Jin and Zheng Bo playing Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl. The last four matches on Court 2 are the highlight of the day, with Zhou Mi playing Xie Xingfang for a place in the semi finals of the singles.

Lee Chong Wei plays Sony Dwi Kuncoro, with the winner playing the match of the day, Lin Dan against Peter Gade. Play ends on Court 2 with local hero Saina Nehwal playing Wang Lin.

Court 3 has Tine Rasmussen playing Lu Lan of China, followed on court by Jan O Jorgensen against Taufik Hidayat. Of the 40 remaining players in all the competitions, 35 are seeded.

Play begins at 2pm on all three courts.

Quarter-Finals Schedule
Yonex Sunrise BWF World Badminton Championships 2009 Draws

Once again more live blogging coverage from the world championships in India. There are going to be a lot of really great matches today, so stay here for all your updates!

BVM Coverage – World Badminton Championships Day 4

Back with more live coverage from the ongoing BWF World Badminton Championships in Hyderabad, India. The matches are getting more intense as the days go by, and the stakes are getting bigger.

BVM Coverage – World Badminton Championships Day 3

The 2009 Yonex OCBC US Open has come to a conclusion with Canada and the USA each taking two titles each. Canada’s top seeded Anna Rice won the women’s singles by defeating American Mona Santoso fairly easily 21-17, 21-9. A notable performance in the women’s singles came from the 17 year old Canadian Michelle Li who made it through to the semi-finals and then lost to Santoso.

Canada’s other title came in the women’s doubles when Huang Ruilin and Jiang Xuelian defeated Chen Ying and Grace Peng from the USA in three games 14-21, 21-15, 21-11. Both pairs were unseeded. Huang and Jiang defeated the top seeds Grether and Reid on their way to the final.

The Americans’ titles came from a likely source, Howard Bach. Bach won both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles with his respective partners Tony Gunawan and Eva Lee. In the men’s doubles Howard and Tony had to play top seeded Austrians Juergen Koch and Peter Zauner, but received little resistance in their 21-12, 21-9 win. In the mixed doubles Howard and Eva played Jiang Xuelian and Alvin Lau who were unseeded, winning 21-13, 21-12.

Finally the only player to win a title representing neither Canada or the USA was no doubt heavily expected to win. Had Taufik Hidayat lost this title it would no doubt have been a great source of embarrassment for the Indonesian. Hidayat won the tournament without dropping a game, and in the final this trend continued when he beat Chinese Taipei’s Hsueh Hsuan Yi 21-15, 21-16. Interesting to note though was Hidayat’s quarter-final match against Canada’s David Snider. Snider held his own against the Indonesian with a 21-14, 21-18 loss. Not too shabby at all.

To view full results visit the 2009 Yonex OCBC US Open draws

Thus far there have been very few upsets at the 2009 Yonex OCBC US Open, and in the mens singles there have been exactly none. Every seed, except Dicky Palyama who didn’t play, has made it through to the quarter finals. I am really excited to see what happens between David Snider and Taufik Hidayat. I have no delusions about David being able to win this match. This would no doubt be the best player that David has ever played before by a long shot, however, David has gone to three games with Andrew Smith who himself went three games with Taufik. I know this is 11 year old logic, but still, wouldn’t it be cool to see a close game between these two? It is of course possible that Taufik might be interested in a day trip to Disneyland tomorrow, and the pesky semi-finals might get in the way of that, it would be wise to take it easy in the quarters then right?

For the womens events I really don’t know many of the players, however I do know that Anna Rice and Eva Lee have had some good battles in the past (I think so at least). Anna spent a large part of the last few months away from intense training while doing work in Africa, so it is possible that she is not quite at her best, but still she is solid. Another Canadian worth watching is Michelle Li. She is new to the international circuit, but she is very strong for her young age. With still another year left in juniors she is already the second best player in Canadian seniors. As for the womens doubles, I know even fewer players. It would appear that the Americans have a good hold on this event with the exception of the top seeds Charmaine Reid and Nicole Grether from Canada and Germany respectively.

The mens doubles appears to be the most diverse draw with players hailing from Korea, Austria, Wales, England, Denmark, Canada, and the USA. No doubt that former world champions Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach are the biggest names in the draw and certainly the favourites in my mind, despite their low seeding.

Finally the mixed doubles, I really have no clue. I would say it’s a choice between any one of either Halim Haryanto, Tony Gunawan or Howard Bach for this title.

2009 Yonex OCBC US Open Draws

It’s probably been over a decade since Taufik Hidayat played a match where he had to work so little. As he walked his way to a 21-3, 21-10 victory, it’s doubtful the Olympic champion broke a sweat. It’s a rare occasion that a player like Taufik goes to North America for a tournament, I’m actually suspicious that he may have come for a holiday to see his old friends Tony Gunawan and Halim Haryanto who are both living in the US now. Disneyland and Hollywood are sure to be on his itinerary. So far all of the mens singles seeds have been relatively unchallenged in their matches, with only Dicky Palyama gone as he withdrew from the tournament. The next few rounds could prove to be interesting, but all of it is inconsequential as the likelihood of Taufik not winning this tournament is extremely low. I am curious however to see how well a number of different players could do against him, first of which could be Canada’s David Snider. Very unlikely to win (see hell freezing over in the dictionary), but a potentially fun one to watch.

In the women’s singles there have been few surprises. Perhaps some upsets on paper, but few surprises. Canada’s Michelle Li defeated American Shannon Pohl, but hardly a surprise as Michelle Li is solid. Another upset on paper is Mona Santoso’s win over Charmaine Reid from Canada, but hardly surprising as Mona Santoso is extremely good. I can’t remember exactly what her story is, but I’m guessing she’s a former Indonesian player from back in the day. Overall it seems to be a battle between Canada and the US, which is not surprising.

In the men’s doubles the only big names are Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan, and perhaps Halim Haryanto. But I don’t think any of these guys are still all that active on the tour these days. Howard and Tony are likely the favourites for this event, but that depends strongly on how much they have been playing lately. The women’s doubles have only had a few early round matches as the majority of the teams had byes to the second round. Finally the mixed doubles features what seems to be a number of retirees coming back for fun or players on the verge of retiring. Halim Haryanto and his partner Grace Peng, Richard Vaughn and Sarah Thomas, Tony Gunawan and Nantana Ketpura, and Howard Bach and Eva Lee.

It’s a shame that the North American events don’t get more big names out to play, but its not surprising. The events are not going to generate the same level of sponsor involvement, and as a result prize money will be much lower. With an event that is also a fair bit away from any other events, it is quite a bit of travel for one event, especially if it doesn’t pay well. At least there is Disneyland nearby.

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