The big names in the men’s and women’s singles finally made their entrances to the Olympics on day 3, with a few scares and surprises along the way as the group stage entered the latter stages before Wednesday’s knockout rounds.
Session 1 – Tago Crashes Out
The top two seeds in the women’s singles both begun their campaigns in the opening sessions, as Wang Yihan and Wang Xin progressed safely into the last 16 with a pair of comprehensive victories. The biggest shock of the men’s singles so far took place this morning, as the 8th seeded Kenichi Tago crashed out at the hands of Sri Lanka’s Niluka Karunaratne, ranked 40 places higher than his Japanese opponent.
Tian and Zhao as well as Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen edged closer to qualification with victories in their second group matches whilst Kim and Jung secured their place in the last 16 in Group A of the women’s doubles, with a final group match against Wang and Yu to confirm first and second in the group.
Session 2 – Lin Dan Into Last 16
Lin Dan begun his campaign against Ireland’s Scott Evans in a one-sided match to book his place in the last 16 whilst Yip Pui Yin shocked the 8th seeded Sung Ji Hyun to top Group J and reach the last 16. Lee Yong Dae’s defence of the mixed doubles ended with a defeat to Laybourn and Rytter Juhl, which secured the Danes progression into the quarter finals.
The fate of Group B in the men’s doubles hung in the balance as Logosz and Cwalina were in a three-game battle with Jongjit and Issara of Thailand before an injury to Michal Logosz resulted in the end of the match and the end of the Olympics for the Polish pair. They have forfeited their final match against Ahsan and Septano which eliminates the 4th seeded Ko and Yoo from the Olympics.
Session 3 – Lee Chong Wei Survives Scare
The “state secret” over Lee Chong Wei’s ankle was revealed on court this evening, with a far from convincing three game victory over Finland’s Ville Lang which will ask more questions than it will answer with the Malaysian looking out of sorts on court. Peter Gade is safely into the last 16 with a two game victory over Portugal’s Pedro Martins.
Saina Nehwal, Juliane Schenk and Chen Jin all booked their places in the last 16 of their events – with all three players securing top spot in their groups with routine two game victories. Ko and Yoo became Korea’s third big name exit of the day with defeat to Ahsan and Septano to ensure the Indonesian’s place in the last 8.
Day 4 will end the group phase and potentially some careers of the likes of Taufik Hidayat could be in action for the last time whilst the long-awaited rematch between Zhang and Zhao taking on the British pairing of Bankier and Adcock is for nothing more than pride for the British pair.
Day 3 Results:
The group stages have provided countless intriguing matches, from the opening session of play all the way to the final session of the group phase.
All Start Times Are Local Times
Saturday, July 28 – 8.30am
Lee / Ha (Korea) – Laybourn / Rytter Juhl (Denmark)
The toughest mixed doubles group of the four opens up play inside Wembley Arena, with the world number 8 and 9 pairs clashing to take one step closer to the quarter finals. They sole meeting came at the German GP in April and resulted in a one-sided victory for the Danes which they will hope for this weekend. There is also the question of endurance for Lee Yong Dae, as he will be back on court that night in the men’s doubles with Chung Jae Sung over 12 hours after playing his opening mixed doubles match. Saturday will be a long day for Lee Yong Dae.
Sunday, July 29 – 8.30am
Zhang / Zhao (China, Seeded 1) – Adcock / Bankier (Great Britain)
Wembley Arena has brought them together once more, with the playing field evened ever so slightly from little under a year ago. The Brits have claimed two famous victories since their defeat at the World Championships against this Chinese pair, both coming at Super Series Premier events. Zhang and Zhao claimed their most recent match in Indonesia last month, but the British pair have something they didn’t have a year ago, belief that they could beat the Chinese. There was hope last year that their run the final would continue on for one more day, but on Sunday morning there is a belief and a track record to support them – as well as a capacity crowd.
Sunday, July 29 – 1.40pm
Chen Long (China, Seeded 3) – Boonsak Ponsana (Thailand)
On paper, this should be a routine victory on route to the last 16 for the 3rd seed but their head to head suggests differently. The world number 22 has a 2-1 advantage over Chen Long from Ponsana’s time inside the world’s top ten. Their last match was over 18 months ago but this is far from an easy match for Chen Long.
Monday, July 30 – 9.05am
Wang Yihan (China, Seeded 1) – Michelle Li (Canada)
The Canadian has struggled with food poisoning in the build up this week, but there will be no excuses available to Wang Yihan should she fail to reach the last 16. It will be their first match against one another, with the world number 1 a massive favourite to go through. Michelle Li’s draw in the women’s doubles is just as tough as she will take on the world number 1 pairing of Wang and Yu the day before her opening singles match.
Monday, July 30 – 2.15pm
Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia, Seeded 1) – Ville Lang (Finland)
The national secret over the rehabilitation of Lee Chong Wei’s ankle will be revealed and tested on Monday afternoon, by the Finnish workhouse of Ville Lang. His 104-minute marathon against Christian Lind Thomsen in April has proven that is physically capable of withstanding a demanding match, he will lengthen rallies to tire opponents and he will test out Lee Chong Wei’s right ankle. Few are expecting a Lee Chong Wei defeat if he is anywhere near his best, but his rivals will watch this match intently for signs of discomfort and weakness.
Monday, July 30 – 7.44pm
Peter Gade (Denmark, Seeded 5) – Pedro Martins (Portugal)
And so the legend ends. Peter Gade’s final Olympics will begin on Monday night against Portugal’s Pedro Martins with the knowledge that a win will take him through to the last 16. It has been over two months since Gade’s last competitive victory, with a pair of losses to Lee Hyun Il and Sony Dwi Kuncoro adding more doubt to the legendary Gade’s chances of medalling in London. A strong performance will cast those doubts aside for at least a few days.
Monday, July 30 – 8.15pm
Lin Dan (China, Seeded 2) – Scott Evans (Ireland)
Lin Dan’s title defence starts against Scott Evans, a reserve for the event who know has the unthinkable task of ending the run of the defending champion. The pair have played three times previously with their most recent match taking place inside Wembley Arena at the 2011 Worlds, with Lin Dan winning comfortably. Scott Evans has never taken a game against Lin Dan, he’ll need two for the biggest shock of the Olympics.
Tuesday, July 31 – 2.19pm
Sayaka Sato (Japan, Seeded 12) – Susan Egelstaff (Great Britain)
Susan Egelstaff’s draw was considered favourable as she avoided the top 10 players in the world, but on further observation this could be the biggest shock of the group stages as well as one of the best moments inside Wembley Arena for the GB team. Egelstaff holds a 1-0 advantage in the head to heads, with a victory at the 2010 All England Championships but Sato also comes into the Olympics in a poor run of form – winning just 8 of her 22 matches this year.
Tuesday, July 31 – 3.20pm
Lee / Chung (Korea, Seeded 2) – Koo / Tan (Malaysia)
There will be something riding on this match in all likelihood for at least one of these pairs, whether it is for the group win or simply to qualify. Koo and Tan have failed to record a victory over the Korean pair since the 2010 Worlds in Paris and will probably need a victory to ensure their place in the last 8 with Boe and Mogensen or Chai and Guo waiting in the quarter finals for one if not both of the pairs.
Play began on Monday evening in the Telenor Arena in Karlskrona with a single match with resulted in a win for Sweden’s Magnus Sahlberg. The first full day of action seen just a sole seed crash out of the five events.
Dane Loom Large
The full compliment for the second round was completed today after Sahlberg’s win on Monday evening with four Danes in the draw. The top four seeds begin their campaigns tomorrow, with Peter Gade taking on Ville Lang whilst Jan O Jorgensen takes on Iceland’s Kari Gunnarsson. Hans Kristian Vittinghus is the 3rd seed this week and takes on Dieter Domke of Germany whilst Domke’s teammate, Marc Zwiebler takes on Petr Koukal of the Czech Republic after both Domke and Koukal defeated Scottish opponents in their opening round.
Viktor Axelsen completes the four, with the 7th seeded taking on Eric Pang who defeated France’s Brice Leverdez in one of the tightest games of the day, with the Dutchman taking the deciding game 23-21 after saving two match points.
The men’s doubles is a similar story with three Danish pairs into the last 16. Boe and Mogensen were relentless in their 21-5, 21-4 victory over Charalambidis and Orlis of Greece and take on the Polish pair of Moren and Szkudlarczyk in the 3rd round. The other two Danish pairs play against one another as Bonde and Kristiansen take on the 2nd seeded Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen with a likely match against the 8th seeded Bosch and Ridder awaiting in the quarter finals.
Last week’s Dutch Open runners up De Ruiter and Khodabux take on the 5th seeded Ivanov and Sozonov of Russia in one of the matches of the day whilst another Dutch pairing in the last 16, Arends and Jelle taking on Fuchs and Roth of Germany, seeded 7 this week.
White and Wallwork Out
The only seed to crash out to date is the 8th seeded Wallwork and White in the women’s doubles, defeated by Piek and Tabelling who came within 2 points of winning the Dutch Open last week. The Dutch pair take on the Scottish pair of Cooper and Gilmour in the second round after coming through against their Estonian opponents Margus and Talviste 21-10, 21-8. The top seeded Pedersen and Rytter Juhl progressed safely into round 2, as well as the second seeded Russian pair of Vislova and Sorokina who set up a second round clash with the Swedish pair of Ekberg and Hogstrom.
The eight seeds in the women’s singles start their campaign tomorrow, with Tine Baun starting with a potentially tricky encounter with Judith Meulendijks whilst the second seed Juliane Schenk also has a tough opener against Denmark’s Line Kjaersfeldt. Karin Schnaase takes on the 4th seeded Pi Hongyan in another exciting second round encounter, whilst the 3rd seeded Petya Nedelcheva faces a tough last 16 clash against Karina Jorgensen or Anastacia Prokopenko should she defeated Slovenia’s Spela Silvester in her opening match of the week.
It was a day of double disappointment for the German fans, as one of their unseeded doubles pairing crashed out but more surprisingly saw the exit of the 7th seeded Marc Zwiebler.
Lang Outlasts Thomsen
The opening match of the day turned out to be the highlight of the day, as Ville Lang and Christian Lind Thomsen played what could be the longest match of the year. The 104-minute encounter was one of the closest faught matches of the year to date, with the Finn coming through 19-21, 21-19, 21-16 to book his place in the last 8 against Tommy Sugiarto after the Indonesia defeated Lee Hyun Il in his third round match.
Hans-Kristian Vittinghus’ reward for defeating Marc Zwiebler in his third round match is a quarter final against the top seed Lin Dan. The Chinese top seed is the only seed remaining from the top 4, with 3rd seed Sho Sasaki losing out to Shon Wan Ho whilst the 2nd seeded Chen Jin was defeated by Wong Wing Ki in two games.
Schenk Into Last 8
The big German hope this week lay with the 3rd seeded Juliane Schenk and so far, she has progressed into the latter stages without much resistance. A tough test awaits in Inthanon Ratchanok but the German holds a 2-0 head to head record against the world number 11. The top two seeds have been just as impressive as Schenk, with Wang Xin taking on Sung Ji Hyun in her toughest match of the week to date whilst Li Xuerui takes on Hong Kong’s Chen Tsz Ka in her quarter final matchup.
Asian Dominance In Doubles
21 of the 24 pairs remaining in the three events are from Asia, with a lone Danish pair and two pairs from Germany making up the list. The men’s doubles is an all-Asia affair, with Lee and Jung taking on Kim and Kim in an all-Korean quarter final. The 2nd seeds Ko and Yoo take on the 5th seeded Hashimoto and Hirata of Japan in the last 8, but the Japanese pair have won their previous two encounters.
Marinello and Michels took full advantage of the loss of the top seeds by progressing to the last 8 after a victory over the pairing of Sari and Yao who defeated the top seeded Ha and Kim in the opening round. Their quarter final opponents are the unseeded Chinese pair of Cheng and Pan who defeated the 6th seeded Jauhari and Polii to reach the last 8.
The two European seeds in the mixed doubles still remain, with Laybourn and Rytter Juhl taking on the Korean pair of Yoo and Jang in their quarter final match whilst the 8th seeded German pairing of Fuchs and Michels also take on a Korean pair. The 3rd seeded Lee and Ha wait in the quarter finals with the winning pair being the sole seeded pair left in the top half of the draw after the exit of the top seeded Chen and Cheng to Korean’s Kim and Jung in two games.
The build up event to the All England Championships next week attracted several of the top 10 players in the world from all events, but some of those players looking to play their way into form failed at the first hurdle today.
A Near Perfect Showing
13 of the last 16 players in the men’s singles are the seeds from the start of the week, with Christian Lind Thomsen, Yong Zhao Ashton Chen and Ville Lang making up the remainder of the draw. Lind Thomsen was responsible for the loss of Wang Zhengming in the opening round whilst Ville Lang defeated the 12th seeded Boonsak Ponsana to reach the third round tomorrow.
Lin Dan and Chen Jin are the favourites this week, hoping to boost their ranking points in the last few months of Olympic qualifying. Both have reached the last 16 without the loss of a game, with the top seeded Lin Dan taking on Pablo Abian of Spain in the third round whilst Chen Jin takes on Wong Wing Ki in his third round match.
Marin Topples Cheng
One of the big surprises in the opening round of the women’s singles was the defeat of Cheng Shao Chieh to Carolina Marin of Spain. The 4th seed and world silver medalist crashed out in a two game loss that never looked in danger of anything but beating a victory for the Spanish teenager. There were no such shocks regarding the top two seeds, with Wang Xin and Li Xuerui coming through their opening round matches without the loss of a game.
Local hopes will be on the shoulders of Juliane Schenk, as the 3rd seed started her campaign in impressive fashion over Anastacia Prokopenko to set up her second round clash with Eriko Hirose of Japan as two of the top 20 players in the world face other tomorrow.
Korean Shock In Doubles
Lee and Jung started their week off with a straightforward victory to set up a second round clash with the German pairing of Fuchs and Roth, with the possibility of an all-Korean final looming large. Ko and Yoo are seeded 2nd this week and defeated Koch and Zauner in impressive fashion to set up their second round clash with Chen and Lin of Chinese Taipei.
There will be no such luck in the women’s doubles, with top seeded Ha and Kim crashing out to Sari and Yao of Singapore in the opening round, opening the door for an all-Japanese final. The highest three seeds left in the draw are all Japanese but the 2nd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa have a tough task tomorrow against the Chinese pairing of Ma and Zhong.
7 of the 8 seeds are left in the mixed doubles draw, with the 5th seeded Chan and Goh losing out to Rijal and Susanto in the opening round. Chen and Cheng are the top seeds this week and started off with a three game victory over their Malaysian opponents. There was a real scare for the 3rd seeded Lee and Ha who fought back after losing the opening game 21-7 to ensure their place in the last 16. Fuchs and Michels ensure a German involvement tomorrow, with the 8th seeded pairing defeating the Chinese qualifiers Qiu and Tang.
Only England and Holland can claim two titles on finals day in Stockholm, whilst the remaining six places in finals day are taken up by 6 different nationalities.
Axelsen and Lang Toppled
Viktor Axelsen fell at the quarter final stage in two games to Ville Lang, but the 5th seed couldn’t continue his form in his semi final. His three game defeat to Eric Pang was the 8th seed second victory over another seeded player on the day, taking out the 2nd seeded Kashyap Parupalli earlier in the day. Yan Kit Chan progressed into the final after a pair of three game victories, first taking out Christian Lind Thomson before defeating Raul Must in the semi final.
Gavnholt Takes On Pi
The unseeded Czech Kristina Gavnholt has been the star of the event this week, taking out Ai Goto in the second round and then continuing her stunning form with a victory over Anastasia Prokopenko to reach the last 4. She ended any chance of an all-French final with her victory over Sashina Vignes Waran in the semi final to set up a final against Pi Hongyan. The 2nd seed has failed to drop a game on route to the final, with Germany’s Karin Schnaase being her toughest opponent to date but still winning comfortably 21-13, 21-12.
English Threat In Doubles
Unseeded Dutch pair of De Ruiter and Khodabux take on the 2nd seeded Russian pairing of Ivanov and Sozonov in the men’s doubles final. The Dutch pair defeated two Danish pairings to reach the final and have also dropped just a single game to date. The Russian have been equally as impressive, dropping a single game this week in their quarter final against the pairing of Magee and Elbjorn on route to the final.
The women’s doubles sees the 2nd seeded English pair of Agathangelou and Olver take on the American pairing of Lee and Obanana. The English pair have not dropped a game to date having spent just over 90 minutes on court. The American pairing ended the run of the 4th seeded Wallwork and White in the 2nd round before defeating another British pairing in the semi final, this time beating the Scottish pair of Cooper and Gilmour in two tight games.
The highly anticipated rematch between Wallwork and Robertson against Bankier and Adcock never materialised, with the 4th seeded Pieler Colding and Houmann ending the top seeds run at the semi final stage. Robertson and Wallwork however did reach the final, defeating their Danish opponents Sorensen and Kjaersfeldt in three games to book their place in tomorrow’s final.
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.
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 host nation dominated the schedule with the field primarily made of Danish players but there was some foreign success on the second day in Denmark.
Top seeded Jan O Jorgensen is safely into the last 8 after two victories over Gabriel Ulldahl and Kieran Merrilees where he will play Petr Koukal, the 16th seed. The other match in the top half of the draw is the 15th seeded Viktor Axelsen against the 13th seeded Scott Evans, with both players defeated higher seeded players to reach the quarter finals. Axelsen defeated the 3rd seeded Kestutis Navickas whilst the Evans defeated the 5th seeded Ville Lang to reach the last 8. The bottom half is dominated by Danish players, with three of the four seeds coming from the host nation. 8th seeded Persson, 7th seeded Lind Thomsen and 2nd seeded Vittinghus are joined in the bottom half with the 4th seeded Eric Pang who came through his match against Rasmus Fladberg in a tight three game match, winning the deciding game 22-20.
Only two seeds have failed the last 8 of the women’s singles, with 4th seed Susan Egelstaff losing out in the opening round to Chloe Magee. 8th seeded Kristina Ludikova lost out to Finland’s Anu Nieminen in the second round, who takes on the 2nd seeded Judith Meulendijks in the quarter final.
The top two seeds are safely into the last 8 in the men’s doubles, with top seeded Constantin and Vincent of France and 2nd seeded De Ruiter and Khodabux are joined in the quarter finals by six Danish pairs in the men’s doubles. The women’s doubles has four Danish pairs in the last 8, with all 4 seeded pairs making the quarter finals headlined by the top seeded English pair of Agathangelou and Olver.
The mixed doubles is also dominated by Danes with 5 of the 8 pairs coming from Denmark, with 2nd seeded Pieler Kolding and Houmann not playing on route to the quarter finals but are the only seed in the bottom half of the draw. The other seed remaining in the draw is the 4th seeds Rasmussen and Skelbaek in the top half of the draw.
Around this time last year the badminton world sat in awe of the young Viktor Axelsen after he brushed aside on opponent after another on his way to his first ever senior international final. Now the Dane is back in familiar territory as he has found himself once again in the final of the Swedish International, and this time with a much less formidable opponent, an opponent who Axelsen easily disposed of earlier this fall. The last time Pablo Abian played Viktor he lost 21-10, 21-7. Hopefully for the crowd this time around will be a much closer match. Abian has played well this week with a big win over the tall Dutch shuttler Eric Pang in three exceedingly close games 21-19, 19-21, 21-18. Axelsen’s semi-final was less hostile as he defeated Kestutis Navickas 21-13, 21-14.
The women’s final should hold much less drama and excitement as both finalists hail from Japan. Nevertheless respect is owed to both players who were required to overcome formidable opponents on their way to this stage. Qualifier Mayu Sekiya defeated the top seed Judith Meulendijks in the second round, as well as third seed Susan Egelstaff to earn her finals spot. Her compatriot Kaori Imebeppu defeated the female phenom Carolina Marin in her semi-final match 19-21, 21-16, 21-8 to earn her final spot.
In the mens doubles it appears that Denmark has much talent ready and waiting to fill the places of their top pairs should they retire anytime soon. With Axelsen shining in the mens singles it looks like yet another young Dane is showing promise as Rasmus Fladberg and his partner Kim Astrup Sorensen have made their way into the finals after defeating Andi Hartono Tandaputra and Gert Kunka 21-18, 21-16. On a side note Fladberg is the son of previous doubles world champion Steen Fladberg. They will now face off against Lukasz Moren and Wojciech Szkudlarczyk who made their way through by defeating another Danish pair, Mats Bue and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen 21-15, 11-21, 22-20.
In the womens doubles we have the only top seed to survive through to finals day as Japans Rie Eto and Yu Wakita have gone on relatively unchallenged thus far. They won relatively comfortably against Maria Helsbol and Anne Skelbaek 21-11, 21-13 in their semi-final match. They will now place another Danish pair Line Damkjaer Kruse and Maria Ropke who defeated second seeds Heather Olver and Mariana Agathangelou due to a withdrawal part way through the match.
Heather Olver does however have an opportunity to make up for her disappointment in the doubles as she has found herself in the mixed final alongside partner Robin Middleton. Olver and Middleton defeated Imam Sodikin Irawan and Cecilia Bjuner in three games 15-21, 21-12, 21-10. Their opponents will be the Dutch pair Dave Khodabux and Samantha Barning. Khodabux and Barning defeated Ireland’s Sam and Chloe Magee 21-16, 21-18.