When the draw was announced last week, the possibility of Lee Chong Wei against Viktor Axelsen match in the second round was a mouthwatering prospect. With both players securing their place in the second round, the world number 1 takes on the future of Danish badminton for the first time tomorrow.
Gade and Chen Long Impress
The seeds made hard work of their opening round matches, with 6th seeded Sho Sasaki being the first of the seeds to fall at the hands of Ajay Jayaram of India in three games. Lee Chong Wei started with a two game victory over Pablo Abian of Spain whilst Viktor Axelsen defeated Hsu Jen Hao of Chinese Taipei to set up his second round match with the Malaysian. Lin Dan needed three games to beat Kashyup Parupalli of India and with a potential semi final meeting with Lee Chong Wei on the cards, the Chinese player will need to find form ahead of that match and next week’s Super Series Premier in China.
The top two seeds in the bottom half of the draw received little resistance as they powered into the second round. 2nd seeded Chen Long defeating Hsueh Hsuan Yi in two games whilst Peter Gade defeated the world championship quarter finalist Kevin Coridon 21-10, 21-5 in just 24 minutes. Gade sets up a second round match against his 2010 world championship quarter finals opponent in Kazushi Yamada, who defeated Joachim Persson to end any chance of an all-Danish match in the second round.
European hopes in the women’s singles are usually low with the strength and depth of the Chinese squad, but Juliane Schenk’s record against the Chinese but the German’s run this week ends at the first hurdle with a loss to Ai Goto of Japan in 3 games. The three Chinese seeds all progressed safely into the last 16 and are also joined by 3 Japanese players but there was a surprise defeat for Liu Xin at the hands of Yao Jie to ensure some European involvement in the second round.
There was also wins for Tine Baun and Carolina Marin, with the Spaniard set to take on the 3rd seeded Wang Xin in one of the toughest matches of her young career to date whilst Yao Jie’s reward for her opening round victory is a second round match against the 4th seeded Saina Nehwal.
Seeds Crash Out in Doubles
There was little trouble for Cai and Fu but for Lee and Jung it was different story, with the 2nd seeds needing a third game and almost a hour on court to defeat Hong and Shen of China in their opening round match. Only one seed fell in the men’s doubles, the 6th seeded Chai and Guo losing out to the American pairing of Bach and Gunawan in a relatively one-sided match.
The all-conquering Wang and Yu started their campaign in impressive fashion in their two game victory over Germany’s Marinello and Michels to set up a second round clash against Chin and Wong of Malaysia. Their main rivals this week as always are the other Chinese pairing of Tian and Zhao, who take on their team-mates Cheng and Pan in the second round. The other six seeds in the draw all progressed into the last 16, with the 5th seeded Chien and Cheng defeating the Macau pairing of Iao and Mak 21-4, 21-5 to reach the second round.
It wasn’t a good day for the seeds in the mixed doubles, with the three lowest seeded pairs all crashing out. 6th seeded Adcock and Bankier lost out to the Chinese pairing of He and Yixin in two games, whilst Mateusiak and Zieba were defeated by Malaysians Chan and Goh and the 8th seeded Ikeda and Shiota also lost out to a Chinese pairing, Hong and Pan in just two games. There was straight forward victories for the top two Chinese seeds as well as the on form Danish pair of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen. Robertson and Wallwork claimed their opening game 30-29 before eventually progressing in three games to set up a second round match against Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei.
The news before play that Jan O Jorgensen had to put out of his quarter final because of heart problems put the days play into some sort of context. That as much as this sport means to the players, their health will always be their first priority.
Gade Into Semi Finals
Lee Chong Wei had the perfect birthday gift for himself, a victory over Chen Jin and a place in tomorrow’s semi final. His opponent will be Peter Gade, who beat Viktor Axelsen in three games to claim his place in the last four. Axelsen will take a lot of positives from this week, his victory against Taufik Hidayat and his performance in the second game against Peter Gade is enough evidence to confirm that he belongs at the elite level of world badminton.
Top Three Seeds Into Semis
Wang Shixian and Wang Xin both won their quarter finals in two games to ensure a matchup in the semi final to ensure at least one Chinese player in Sunday’s final. However, Wang Yihan’s walkover against Jiang Yanjiao has all the controversy that infuriates the fans in attendance and that threatens to overshadow performances on the court. Inthanon Ratchanok is Wang Yihan’s semi final opponent, with the Thai player claiming her third victory against Tai Tzu Ying to reach the last 4.
Danish Hopes Still Alive In Doubles
The resurgence of Boe and Mogensen this week will ask the questions of why it took so long for them to get out of their recent dip in form, but their biggest test comes in the semi final as they take on the top seed and world champions Cai and Fu. Neither pair has dropped a game this week and this is a massive match for the Danes in front of a home crowd to prove they are close to being the number 1 pair in the world once more.
The all-Korean semi final that was expected has failed to happen, with Kido and Setiawan upsetting the 4th seeded Ko and Yoo with three game victory after saving five match points in the second game and set up a semi final against Lee and Jung of Korea who defeated Liu and Qiu in two games to progress.
The top two Chinese seeds in the women’s doubles have yet again been too strong for their opponents, with both pairs coming through their matches with the loss of just 48 points between them. The top seeded Wang and Yu take on their first seeded pair of the week in Ha and Kim, seeded 6 whilst Zhao and Tian take on the unseeded Danish pair of Kruse and Roepke for a place in Sunday’s final.
Much like the men’s doubles, the top seeded Chinese pair will be the ones to beat with three outstanding performances to date and have a Danish pair in their way in reaching Sunday’s final. Zhang and Zhao take on the 3rd seeded Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen in the first mixed doubles semi final with neither pair dropping a game and both winning their quarter finals impressively. The other semi finals has Lee and Ha of Korea taking on Xu and Ma of China, with the Chinese pair ending the run of the 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl in a lopsided victory for the 5th seeds to end the Danes superb week at the quarter final stage.
Ukrainian hopes of local success lie with Dmytro Zavadsky who defeated the top seeded Victor Axelsen in the semi final after the Dane burned out after his impressive run to the last 4.
Axelsen claimed after the match that he had no power in his legs in his two game defeat to the 5th seeded Ukrainian, a victory that set up a final against the second seeded Brice Leverdez who ended Denmark’s chances in the singles with a two game victory over Christian Lind Thomsen.
Olga Konon lived up to her top seeding as she raced into the women’s singles final with a convincing two game victory over Elizabeth Cann in the semi final but there is British interest as Susan Egelstaff shocked two higher seeded players today to reach the final. Victories over the 2nd seeded Anastacia Prokopenko in the quarter final and Lariga Griga, the 3rd seed from Ukraine has put the Scot back in pole position to reach the Olympics ahead of her rival Cann.
The three doubles events are dominated by the top seeds, with both the level doubles final pitting the two top seeds against one another. Cwalina and Logosz take on Ivanov and Sozonov, as the world number 27 and 28 do battle for the title with the lower seeded Russians holding a 2-1 advantage in the head to head. Marinello and Michels needed just two match to reach the final against their Singapore opponents, the 2nd seeded Yao and Sari. This will be their first meeting and the winner win likely break into the top 16 in the world.
The mixed doubles sees Yao and Michels play each other again, this time Michels is partnered with Fuchs and are the top seeds in the event whilst Yao and Triyachart are unseeded this week, but have not dropped a game to date and Triyachart also put Fuchs out of the men’s doubles earlier in the week.
Viktor Axelsen’s rise in European badminton continues as he takes his first top seeding this week and has lived up to the hype and expectation that Danish and European hopes have placed on the teenager.
Two victories today propelled him into the last 8, with the second victory coming against Carl Baxter of England, who was ranked inside the top 30 as early as December last year. The anticipated all-Danish match between Persson and Axelsen failed to materialise with Vladimir Ivanov defeating Persson in the second round and will face Axelsen instead. 2nd seeded Brice Leverdez has faced little resistance in reaching the quarter finals also, defeating a pair of Russian’s to reach the last 8 and a match Ukraine’s Valeriy Atrashchenkov.
All seven seeds that started the women’s singles remain the draw and are joined by Camilla Sorensen of Denmark, who takes on Elizabeth Cann in the quarter finals. Top seeded Olga Konon progressed in straight games in both her matches today and takes on Chen Jiayuan, seeded 8 in the quarter finals. 2nd seeded Anastacia Prokopenko takes on the 5th seeded Susan Egelstaff in the quarter finals, with both players progressing without the loss of a game between them.
The doubles events still have the top seeds remaining in all three events, with Cwalina and Logosz safely won their opening game in the men’s doubles. Marinello and Michels haven’t had to play a game to reach the last 8 in a relatively weak draw in the women’s doubles but Brigit Michels was in action in the mixed doubles as she partnered Michael Fuchs as the top seeds progressed into the last 16 in three games.
17-year old Viktor Axelsen has been touted as the future of Danish badminton, from his junior world championship success last summer to his first victory on the European circuit in Cyprus in October 2010. Today, he arrived on the world stage with his 23-21, 21-15 victory over the 7th seeded Bao Chunlai of China.
With just two months before the world championships in London, the men’s singles is seeing a new generation come through to challenge the old guard. Wang Zhengming defeated top seeded Taufik Hidayat in three games to set up a quarter final against Viktor Axelsen whilst in the other quarter final in the top half, Chen Jin will take on Lee Hyun Il after both players defeated their seeded opponent in the second round, meaning no seed is left in the top half of the draw. In fact, just two seeds remain with 2nd seeded Lin Dan defeating Jan O Jorgensen in two games and 4th seeded Peter Gade defeating Rajiv Ouseph of England to book their places in the last 8.
Wang Lin’s retirement during her second round match against top seeded Wang Shixian could be a real scare after coming back from serious injury, the current world champion was 12-8 down in the opening game when she chose to pull out of the match. Wang Shixian will take on Juliane Schenk in the last 8. Saina Nehwal’s run this week ends even more abruptly than last week, with a three game defeat to Cheng Shao Chieh of Chinese Taipei who takes on the 6th seeded Tine Baun in the quarter finals. Wang Yihan is safely into the last 8 with two victories and takes on Yao Jie in the quarter finals after the Dutch woman defeated the 5th seeded Bae Youn Joo of Korea in two tight games.
There was another two seeded casualties in the men’s doubles, with Kido and Setiawan losing out to Endo and Hayakawa of Japan in two games to set up a quarter final against Lee and Jung of Korea, who have been impressive in their opening two matches. The second seed to crash out is the 8th seeded Ahsan and Septano, who lost out to Chinese qualifiers Shen and Hong to set up an all-Chinese quarter final against Cai and Fu. Germany’s pairing of Kindervater and Schoettler have been impressive this week and defeated the Danish pairing of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen to reach the last 8 this week and a chance to play the 7th seeded Chinese pairing of Chai and Guo.
All 7 seeds that started the week remain in the women’s doubles draw, with Indonesia’s Marissa and Melati making up the field. The top half of the draw has been fairly straight forward for the four pairs, with all winning in two games today. The bottom half has been much more competitive, with 6th seeded Ha and Kim needing three games to progress to their quarter final match against Jauhari and Polii. The 4th quarter final between Vislova and Sorokina and Fujii and Kakiiwa could be a battle of fitness, with both being involved in a lengthy and closely fought three game match to reach the last 8.
Asia dominates the mixed doubles field, with only Robertson and Wallwork stopping a complete monopoly on proceedings. The super-competitive top half has two fantastic quarter final matches, with top seeded Zhao and Zhang taking on their team-mates He and Yu in an all-Chinese match. Whilst the second quarter final sees the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir take on the unseeded pairing of Lee and Ha, playing just their second event together. The Korean pair defeated the 7th seeded Mateusiak and Zieba to reach the last 8. The English pairing of Robertson and Wallwork will be the third British pairing to take on the 2nd seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam after the Thai pair defeated Adcock and Bankier in round 1, then Blair and White in round 2. Robertson and Wallwork will hope it is third time lucky for them.
Denmark’s best chance of a title ended before play even started today, with Boe and Mogensen’s withdrawal and it went from bad to worse in the doubles for the Danes.
Peter Gade was one Danish highlight, with a two game victory against Tommy Sugiarto and he has been joined in the last 16 by another two Danes. Jan O Jorgensen defeated Kenichi Tago in two games to set up a second round match against Lin Dan, who also progressed comfortably into round 2. Viktor Axelsen reversed the result from last week’s Thailand Open and defeated Wong Choong Hann in two tight games to reach the second round, where he takes on the 7th seeded Bao Chunlai. Taufik Hidayat survived an early scare to reach the second round where he takes on Wang Zhengming of China, whilst world champion Chen Jin also survived a scare in the opening round before progressing to take on the 8th seed Park Sung Hwan.
The women’s singles continues to entertain in the early rounds, with Saina Nehwal against coming through against the 2009 world champion Lu Lan in three games to reach round 2. The second round sees an intriguing all-Chinese match between top seeded Wang Shixian and Wang Lin, the current world champion. The other two Chinese seeds progressed safely into the second round from their half of the draw, whilst Tine Baun is the main European threat in the draw and faces Sayaka Sato of Japan in her second round match.
The big shock in the mens doubles is the defeat of 3rd seeded Ko and Yoo to unseeded German pairing Kindervater and Schoettler in three games, further opening up the top half of the draw. There were more surprises as the 5th seeded Lee and Fang lost out to Indonesia’s Chandra and Gunawan, to leave the 7th seeded Chai and Guo as the lone seeds remaining in the top half of the draw. The bottom half was more straightforward for the seeds, with all 4 coming through their match in two games to reach the last 16.
The new Chinese pairing of Ma and Pan lasted just 76 minutes this week, before falling to the top seeded Maeda and Suetsuna. All England semi finalists Ropke and Damkjaer Kruse progressed in the tightest of matches, winning 23-21 in the deciding game to reach the last 16 and a match with the Chinese pairing of Tian and Zhao. There are 4 Japanese pairs into the last 16, with one all-Japanese match set for the second round as 2nd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa take on the unseeded Misaki and Takahashi for a place in the last 8.
Denmark’s strength in the mixed doubles discipline was dealt a huge blow with all three pairings crashing out in the opening round. 5th seeded and 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl lost out to Sato and Matsuo of Japan in two games, whilst the 3rd seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen lost tamely to Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei 21-15, 21-15 and the third pairing of Pieler Colding and Houmann faired the best of the three, but still lost out to Japanese pairing of Ikeda and Shiota. Top seeded Zhao and Zhang survived a three game match to progress into the last 16 and are joined in the top half of the draw by two other Chinese pairs of Xu and Ma as well as He and Yu.
What could have been a double success for Spain on home turf turned into the new generations time to shine, as Viktor Axelsen claimed the men’s singles title in a three game match against Pablo Abian in a 48 minute matchup.
The mixed doubles title was won by the top seeded Danish pair of Schjott-Kristiensen and Delbo Larsen who beat their Croatian opponents Durkinjak and Ponzanovic in a tight two game match, with the Danes winning 21-17, 21-19. The men’s doubles title was taken by the Polish pair of Cwalina and Logosz in a one-sided final over the 4th seeded Kasbauer and Zurwonne, with the Poles winning 21-14, 21-11.
The women’s doubles final was the only match to go the distance, with the top seeded Dutch pair of Van Dooremalen and Jonathans defeating Reid and Grether in three games, but the shock was on with the 2nd seeded Canadians taking the opening game over their Dutch counterparts, but the top seeds fought back to win the next two games and take the title 12-21, 21-18, 21-14.
The women’s singles final was the most one sided match of the day with 7th seeded Carolina Marin defeating 5th seeded Olga Konon in a 21-13, 21-14 victory that took just 20 minutes, topping off the week for Marin who failed to drop an game in the entire week.
The two teenager superstars of the singles game in Europe have again battled through an excellent field of competitors to reach a major final and for Carolina Marin it is especially significant with her playing in front of a home crowd.
Viktor Axelsen’s run to the final has been impressive, with four victories in straight games including an impressive 21-14, 21-19 victory over Przemyslaw Wacha in the semi final. His opponent in the final will have the crowd on his side as Spain’s 5th seeded Pablo Abian came through a 68 minute war with top seeded Tommy Sugiarto, taking the third game 22-20 to book his place in tomorrow’s final.
Carolina Marin’s route to the final is similar to Axelsen’s, four wins, no dropped games and into the final. She also takes on the 5th seed, Olga Konon of Germany who has been just as impressive in her route to the final. Konon has failed to drop a game also and has been equally if not more impressive than Marin in reaching tomorrow’s final.
The men’s doubles features the top seeded pairs from the halves of the draw, with 4th seeded Kasbauer and Zurwonne taking on the 2nd seeded Cwalina and Logosz. The German 4th seeds came through a tight semi final against Saeki and Taohara eventually winning 23-21, 23-21. The Polish 2nd seeds have had little trouble in reaching the final, winning all three matches in straight games.
The top two seeds in the women’s doubles face off in tomorrow’s final, with the 2nd seeded Reid and Grether progressing despite Grether’s retirement from the singles on Friday. They take on the top seeded Dutch pair of Van Dooremalen and Jonathans who have progressed without the loss of a game to the final, whilst the Canadian pair have lost just one game also on route to the final.
The mixed doubles finals sees the top seeded Danish pair of Delbo Jensen and Schjott-Kristiensen take on the unseeded Croatian pair of Durkinjak and Ponzanovic, after they dismissed the 2nd seeded Ng and Gao in their semi final, taking the third game 22-20 to reach the final. The Danish pair have been the polar opposites in their route to the final, winning all three matches double quick time to reach the final after being on court just 80 minutes.
With an excellent field present in Madrid this week, the first full day of action has provided some unlikely results in the singles events as well as some success for some of the future stars of the game.
Viktor Axelsen’s impressive win over 6th seeded Eric Pang was the talking point of the men’s singles draw, with the teenager defeating one of top European players in two games to book his place in the quarter finals. Top seeded Tommy Sugiarto was relentless in his 21-15, 21-3 win over Joachim Persson and sets up a quarter final against Spain’s own Pablo Abian in the last 8. Second seeded Hans-Kristian Vittinghus is also safely into the last 8 after a pair of two game victories and sets up a quarter final clash with Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Jen Tao who defeated the 7th seeded Ville Lang in a convincing two game victory.
Susan Egelstaff, seeded 2 was the highest seed to start the week in the women’s singles and has had little trouble in reaching the last 8 and will take on the Sashina Vignes Waran, seeded 8th in the quarter final. There is also Spanish interest with Carolina Marin who is also through to the last 8 and takes on Ireland’s Chloe Magee in the quarter final after the retirement of Nicole Grether in the second round match. Olga Konon is the highest seed in the top half of the draw and has had little trouble on route to the last 8, where she will play Kristina Ludikova of the Czech Republic.
The three seeds that started the week in the men’s doubles are still in the draw at the last 8 stage, with 2nd seeded Cwalina and Logosz taking on the Spanish pair of Leal and Ojeda in tomorrow’s quarter final. 3rd seeded Bosch and Ridder take on the Austrian pair of Koch and Zauner who came through a tight three game match against Gilmour and Campbell of Scotland. The only seed in the top half of the draw is 4th seeded Kasbauer and Zurwonne who came through a three game match to set up a quarter final against the Japanese pairing of Saeki and Taohata.
The top seeded Van Dooremalen and Jonathans are safely into the last 8 and take on the Spanish pair of Jimenez and Rodriguez. There has been more good fortune for the Spanish with the pairing of Molina and Ojeda not having to play a match to reach the last 8, they take on the English pair of Langley and Smith who defeated the 3rd seeded Mexican pair of Gonzalez and Montero. The 2nd seeded Reid and Grether are into the last 8 but question marks over Grether’s injury in the singles could be a factor in their quarter final match against Diaz and Lee.
The top two seeds are safely through to the mixed doubles quarter finals and are also joined in the last 8 by the 4th seeded Magee’s of Ireland. There is an all-Spanish quarter final also, with Longo and Ojeda taking on Lorenzo and Marquez for a chance to take on the winner of the Durkinjak/Ponzanovic versus Ng and Gao matchup.
Picture Provided by Rene Lagerwaard
The majority of the seeds have progressed safely through the opening two days of the Swiss Open with an excellent field present in Basel even with the loss of it’s Super Series tag for the 2011.
Jan O Jorgensen is the top seed this week and has safely progressed his opening two rounds without the loss of a game to Ville Lang and Christian Lind Thomsen to reach the last 16. His 3rd round opponent is Kazushi Yamada who is in excellent form since his victory over Taufik Hidayat last week in the All Englands. Also in this half of the draw is Park Sung Hwan who has been the pick of the players in his opening two rounds, with a pair of impressive victories for the 4th seed. Viktor Axelsen almost defeated the 16th seeded Hans-Kristian Vittinghus to reach the 3rd round, only for Vittinghus to battle back in the 3rd game to win the all-Danish match up.
Joachim Persson had shown a return to form in recent months but the manner of his defeat to Lee Hyun Il is a worrying sign to the 11th seed as he crashed out tamely in the second round, losing 21-10, 21-9 in just 21 minutes. 2nd seed Simon Santoso has been nothing but impressive in reaching the last 16 with two victory with the loss of just 42 points to date. Spain’s Pablo Abian is the pick of the unseeded Europeans left in the draw with a pair of good victories taking him to the last 16 where he will play Muhammad Hashim, the 9th seeded Malaysian.
Saina Nehwal didn’t have to wait long to get another shot to defeat Eriko Hirose as the pair meet in the 3rd round this week, with both players coming through their opening matches in two games. Juliane Schenk is Newhal’s main rival in the other half of the draw and has a tough second round match against Bae Sueng Hee of Korea. Ella Diehl is the biggest casualty of the opening round, with the 5th seed losing to Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying 21-9, 21-19. There is another Spanish story this week, this time with the European junior champion Carolina Marin who has progressed through qualifying and has reached the second round with a two game win over Nicole Grether.
Boe and Mogensen have continued in the form that won them their first All England title to set up a second round match against Bosch and Ridder of Holland in the second round. The strength of the men’s doubles draw is very high, with Lee and Jung also playing this week and progressing to the second round with a three game win over Endo and Hayakawa of Japan. Ko and Yoo of Korea are the second seeds this week and are into the last 16 after winning their all-Korean first round match against Kim and Kim.
Top seeded Cheng and Chien are hoping that the lack of Chinese pairings in the women’s doubles will improve their chances of success in Basel this week and have started with a two game victory in their opening round to set up a 2nd round match against Japan’s Misaki and Takahashi. The 2nd seeds this week are Jauhari and Polii who take on England’s White and Wallwork in the second round. The European challengers this week will be the 5th seeded Rytter Juhl and Pedersen, who take on Wang and Wang of America after their opening round triumph.
Lee Yong Dae is partnered up with a new female this week as the Korean squad try to find their best partnerships ahead of the Olympic qualification for London, Ha Jung Eun is partnering Lee Yong Dae this week and the 8th seeds start has been impressive, winning 21-10, 21-8 in their opening round match to set up a second round match against Valiyaveetil and Gutta of India. Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei are the top seeds this week and take on the Japanese pair of Ikeda and Shiota in round 2 after both won their opening round matches in two games. The main rival from the bottom half comes in the form of the 2nd seeded Wallwork and Robertson of England who defeated Kazuno and Takahashi in their opening round match to progress into the last 16.
Swiss Open Grand Prix