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.
The landscape of the men’s singles has potentially changed overnight with the 17-year old Viktor Axelsen defeating the 5th seeded Taufik Hidayat that almost ensures his decline out of the world’s top 10 and rewards the Danish fans as well as the badminton world with a stunning quarter final match between Viktor Axelsen against Peter Gade, in Denmark.
Taufik and Lin Dan Out
The headlines will be stolen by Viktor Axelsen, who defeated the 5th seeded Hidayat in a pulsating three game match that the 17-year dominated in the last two games to reach his first Denmark Open quarter final and a dream matchup against Peter Gade. The duo practiced together earlier this week but few expected the two to meet in the last 8. Gade defeated Germany’s Marc Zwiebler in two games in the evening session to book his place in the quarter finals.
The bottom half of the draw has been decimated with all but one seed remaining. Wong Wing Ki caused his own stunning upset with his three game victory over the world champion Lin Dan and there was also disppointment for Du Pengyu as he lost out to Jan O Jorgensen in three games, taking the tally of Danes in the quarter final to 3.
Baun and Schenk Crash Out
European interest in the women’s singles has ended before the weekend, much to the disappointment of the home fans as Tine Baun lost in a tame two game defeat to Inthanon Ratchanok. Juliane Schenk was beaten bu Sung Ji Hyun in two games also as the Chinese threat to claim the title looms large with 5 players in the last 8.
Saina Nehwal was the only other main rival capable of causing an upset but she also crashed out early on day 2, losing to Tai Tzu Ying in two games also. The Chinese juggernaut continues on with straight forward wins for Wang Xin and Wang Shixian but top seeded Wang Yihan fought back from a game down to reach the last 8 where she will face compatriot Jiang Yanjiao.
Danish Hope In Doubles
Denmark still has interest in the three doubles events to ease the disappointment of an absence of players in the women’s singles. 3rd seeded Boe and Mogensen have regained some form and have been emphatic in their route to the last 8 with a pair of excellent wins to set up a quarter final against Cho and Kwon of Korea, who defeated Koo and Tan earlier in the week. The top two seeds in the men’s doubles have both reached the quarter finals, with Lee and Jung being taken to three games by the Danish pairing of Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen.
Kruse and Roepke fly the flag for Denmark in the women’s doubles alone after Pedersen and Rytter Juhl’s loss to their team-mates opponents in the quarter final, Japanese pair Misaki and Takahashi. The two Chinese pairs look to be a class apart this week, with both being highly impressive in the matches this week and never looking like losing a game to this point.
A double helping in the mixed doubles will also please the hometown fans, with Laybourn and Rytter Juhl turning back the clock to their 2009 world championship success to reach the last 8 this week. They take on one half of the 2010 world champions in Ma Jin, partnered by Xu Chen who defeated Kolding and Houmann in the second round today. Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen have lived up to their billing as the number 3 seeds with two excellent wins to date, their opponents in the quarter final will be the Indian pair of Valiyaveetil and Gutta who defeated the world silver medalists Adcock and Bankier in their second round game.
The old and new guard of Danish badminton had a dream start to the first round matches in Odense, taking out seeded partnerships and impressing on a day of positives for Danish and European badminton.
Gade, Axelsen and Jorgensen Progress
A trio of Danes have all reached the last 16 safely, with Peter Gade impressively defeated Wang Zhengming in a one-sided match to book a second round clash against Germany’s Marc Zwiebler. Hans-Kristian Vittinghus has very close to making it four from four in the opening round by narrowly lost to the 5th seeded Taufik Hidayat in three games. Viktor Axelsen claimed his third victory over Przemyslaw Wacha in the opening round today to set up a match against Hidayat in the second round.
Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan both came through their opening round matches without much resistance, whilst China claim four places in the last 16 with victories for Chen Long, Chen Jin and Du Pengyu, with the 8th seed taking on Jan O Jorgensen who won his opening round match in two games to set up the second round match.
Two Europeans Remain
The depth of European players in the women’s singles has been exposed this week, with just two making it through to the last 16 with a predominantly Asian feel to the draw. Tine Baun and Juliane Schenk hold the hope of Europe on their shoulders as both progressed into the second round with a pair of excellent victories. The Chinese juggernaut has six of the last 16, with an all-Chinese match in the second round set to decrease their quota to at least four.
Wang Yihan’s opening round match was as impressive as it was one-sided, her 21-13, 21-5 victory over the world number 10 Bae Youn Joo was a statement that the world number 1 is back to her best. There were wins Jiang Yanjiao, Li Xuerui, Liu Xin, Wang Xin and Wang Shixian to ensure a vast Chinese interest in the event going in the second round.
Seeds Topple In Doubles
If the singles events were business as usual for the world’s best, the doubles disciplines have been the complete opposite. The men’s doubles lost three seeds in the opening round with the biggest casualty being the Commonwealth champions and 5th seeded Koo and Tan, who were defeated by Cho and Kwon of Korea. There were victories for Cai and Fu as well as the second seeded Lee and Jung, who both claimed a berth in the second round with a routine two game victory.
There was Danish success in the women’s doubles, with Pedersen and Rytter Juhl defeating the 4th seeded Japanese pair of Maeda and Suetsuna in two tight games to reach the last 16. Kruse and Roepke ensured a second pair in the last 16 with a victory over Korea’s Eom and Jang. The Danes reward is another Korean pair in Jung and Kim who put out the 7th seeded Matsuo and Naito in the opening round.
There were no such shocks for the top seeded Wang and Yu, who progressed in a straightforward two game victory over Poon and Tse and take on the Singapore pair of Sari and Yao in the last 16. Tian and Zhao were equally impressive in their opening round match and take on the Indonesian pair of Marissa and Melati in their second round match.
Kamilla Rytter Juhl was the star of the day for the locals as she defeated another seed in the mixed doubles with partner Thomas Laybourn as the 2009 world champions rolled back the years as they defeated Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in two games to reach the second round. Lee and Ha also produced a shock with a three game victory over the second seeded Ahmad and Natsir, who were the biggest casualties of the first day in Odense. The world champions Zhang and Zhao had no problem in reaching the second round with a two game victory over Triyachart and Yao of Singapore, whilst the world championship silver medalists Adcock and Bankier won their all-British first round match to reach the last 16.
Wang Shixian suffered a second defeat to Juliane Schenk in the matter of months as the world #2 continues her erratic form of late, after a convincing victory last week against Schenk, the German defeated her Chinese opponent in two games today.
The top four seeds all safely progressed into the semi finals in the men’s singles, setting up two excellent matches. The all-Chinese semi final between Lin Dan and Chen Long has been a one sided one in their previous two matchup but both of those were over a year ago and won by Lin Dan. The other semi final sees Lee Chong Wei against Peter Gade play for the 15th time, with the Malaysian winning 13 of the 14 encounters previously. The world number 1 was taken to three games today against Kenichi Tago whilst Gade has failed to drop any matches to date. The Dane will look to any advantage to claim his second victory over Lee Chong Wei.
The up and down form of Wang Shixian took another dip today in her two game defeat to Juliane Schenk, edging their overall head to head ever closer with the Chinese player holding a mere 3-2 advantage now. Saina Newhal takes on Schenk in the semi final after a straight forward two game victory over Gu Juan. The other semi final is an all-Chinese clash with top seeded Wang Yihan taking on the 21-year old Liu Xin, touted to be one of the future stars of the Chinese game.
The men’s doubles has four of the top six seeds remaining, with Cai and Fu taking on Koo and Tan in the first semi final in their 12th encounter with the Chinese pair winning seven of the previous twelve. The other semi final is an all-Indonesian affair, with Ahsan and Septano taking on Kido and Setiawan, with the 6th seeded pair defeating the Korean pair of Lee and Ko in the quarter finals to reach this point in the tournament.
The women’s doubles semi finals are a stark contrast to previous events, with one Chinese pair as well as two unseeded pairs remaining at this stage. The 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa are the highest seeds left in the draw and take on Chinese’s sole pair in the semi finals in Yixin and Zhong, who defeated the 6th seeded Naito and Matsuo in three games to reach the semi finals. Chen and Chien are the second seeds left in the draw, with the 5th seeds taking on Poon and Tse of Hong Kong who defeated the Danish pair of Pedersen and Rytter Juhl to reach the other semi final.
The highly anticipated match between Zhang and Zhao against Xu and Ma was a disappointment, but the match was completed after two abrupt endings with the top seeds progressing in two games. They will take on Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei in the semi final after their victory over Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in their quarter final match. An all-European semi final awaits for the first time in recent memory in the Super Series with Denmark’s Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen taking on the German pairing of Fuchs and Michels for a place in Sunday’s final.
The unlikely run of Kenichi Tago in last years All England pushed him into the spotlight for the first time, since then he has maintained his place in the top 25 in the world. He faces Lee Chong Wei for the 7th time tomorrow, with the last match taking place a year ago exactly in this event in 2010.
If the presence of the world number 1 Lee Chong Wei wasn’t enough to get him onto the TV Court, a match against Japan’s sole player left in the draw would surely be enough. Both players come into the match without losing a game in their opening two matches but the Malaysia will be the massive favourite with wins in the six previous matchups. Lin Dan’s understated start in the event has resulted in a pair of three game matches which he has progressed from, but faces Chen Jin in the quarter final with the lower seeded Chen Jin winning their previous match in China last week. Gade and Jorgensen ensure European interest in the last 8, with the 3rd seeded Gade taking on Simon Santoso and Jorgensen playing Chen Long in a Chinese-heavy bottom half of the draw.
Tai Tzu Pai pulled out of the biggest shock in the women’s singles with a three game victory over the 3rd seeded Wang Xin. Her reward is another Chinese opponent in the 6th seeded Liu Xin, with the winner of the match playing the match of the day in the women’s singles with top seeded Wang Yihan taking on Tine Baun in the other match in the top half of the draw. Wang Shixian against Juliane Schenk is another intriguing match, with Schenk’s victory over Wang Shixian putting the 2nd seed into a recent slump in form at the Sudirman in May.
The usual suspects are present in the men’s doubles, with Cai and Fu safely into the last 8, joined also by Koo and Tan, Ahsan and Septano, Kido and Setiwan who are also joined by Korea’s pairing of Lee and Ko, who take on the 6th seeded Kido and Setiawan in the quarter finals. Chandra and Gunawan are also a perennial contender, with the 7th seeds taking on Cai and Fu for a place in the semi finals.
The Chinese have usually three or more pairs in a women’s doubles quarter final draw, but this week it is down to just one unseeded pair in Yixin and Zhong. The Canadian Open winners take on the Japanese pair of Matsuo and Naito, who are seeded 6 this week and one of two remaining Japanese pairs in the draw. Another unseeded pair on a unlikely run is the Korean pair of Eom and Jung, who face their first seed of the week in the quarter final against Chen and Chien of Chinese Taipei. Tian and Zhao were Chinese’s big hope after Wang and Yu’s withdrawal but lost out to Danish pair of Rytter Juhl and Pedersen in two games to face the unlikely scenario of a non-Chinese winner in the women’s doubles.
Zhang and Zhao against Ma and Xu has been a matchup riddled with retirements, their previous two encounters both failed to reach the distance and with a third installment schedule for tomorrow, many are hoping for a replay of their Asian Championships matchup instead of their previous two anti-climatic results. Sato and Matsuo fly the flag for Japan as the sole pair left in the draw and take on Denmark’s Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen in the favourable side of the draw with the defeat of 2nd seeded Ahmad and Natsir to Chinese qualifiers Hong and Pan to open up the bottom half of the draw.
The opening round was without one of China’s golden generation as the Olympics near ever closer as he became the first of a likely series of retirements. Bao Chunlai retired from international badminton today, citing continual knee injuries as the main factor in his decision.
The men’s singles is laden with players claiming this is their final year in the sport. Both Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan have expressed their desire to retire after London 2012, this week they successfully progressed into the second round with Lin Dan needing three games to dispose of Lee Hyun Il of Korea. There were wins for Peter Gade, Chen Jin and Chen Long but the biggest casualty of the day was the 5th seeded Taufik Hidayat who lost to qualifier Chou Tien Chen in three games in easily the shock of the opening days play.
The usual Chinese contingent are still in the women’s singles, without Jiang Yanjiao whose China Masters retirement seems a genuine one to dispel the ideas of China “fixing” matches to get the maximum amount of players to London 2012. Wang Yihan leads the charge this week, with Wang Shixian, Liu Xin and Wang Xin also present in the second round. Only one seed fell in the draw today, Cheng Shao Chieh retired in her match against Sayaka Sato to allow the Japanese player to advance to the second round.
Boe and Mogensen continue their recent run of poor form with another first round defeat to Kawamae and Sato of Japan and will take on the partnership of Lee and Ko. The 5th seeded Jung and Yoo had to retire and allow their Chinese opponents of Liu and Qiu, whilst the top seeds Cai and Fu had little trouble progressing into the second round with a two game victory and will take on qualifiers Liao and Wu.
The women’s doubles has lost the top two seeds, with Wang and Yu pulling out pre-event and the defeat of 2nd seeded Maeda and Suetsuna at the hands of Yixin and Zhong of China. 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa progressed safely in the second round and the other Chinese pair left in the usual stronghold event is the 4th seeded Tian and Zhao who won in three games to reach the second round.
Seven of the eight seeds remain in the mixed doubles with the top seeded Zhang and Zhao taking on Lee and Ha in one of the matches of the second round. Ahmad and Natsir are safely into round two with a two game victory and take on the Chinese pair of Hong and Pan whilst the world championship silver medalists Adcock and Bankier are into the second round to take on the 3rd seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam in the second round.
The chances of Chinese success were great going into finals day with eight of the ten places on finals day coming from the host nation, but a pair of retirements ensures there more controversy with the Chinese squad going into the upcoming Super Series events.
The men’s singles suffered the surprise defeat of Lin Dan to Chen Jin at the semi final stage, with the possibility of the 2009 world champion being allowed to progress to the final to boost his chances of reaching London 2012. His run went no further as the 3rd seeded Chen Long defeated him in two games to boost the 3rd seeds own chances of reaching the Olympics.
The women’s singles and doubles is where the retirements occured in the finals, with 2nd seeded Wang Shixian defeating the 4th seeded Jiang Yanjiao 8-5 in the second game before a retirement ended the match abruptly. It was a similar case to Chen Jin, with the 4th seed defeating the top seeded player unexpectedly before eventually losing in the final. Wang Shixian’s recent form has been poor, with two early exits before a 3rd round departure from the world championships whilst the ranking points from this event will ensure Jiang Yanjiao remains inside the top 5 in the world. There was a bigger surprise in the women’s doubles as unseeded Huan and Tang defeated the all-conquering top seeded pair of Wang and Yu. The pairing of Huan and Tang are a new pairing on the Chinese scene, recently put together after playing against one another in the junior world championships last year and could be considered a possibility of making enough ranking points to reach the Olympics after defeating the top two Japanese pairs on route to the final. The top seeds retired after losing the opening game 19-21.
Xu and Ma also had their own controversy in their semi final, with Zhang and Zhao retiring at 1-1 in the second game of their match. There was little deception in their impressive two game victory over Koo and Jang of Korea, but Korea would have the last laugh as 3rd seeded Lee and Jung defeated the top seeded Cai and Fu on their home ground in stunning fashion, winning 21-17, 21-10 to level the head to head at 8-8 between the best two pairs in the world.
With the obvious Chinese involvement in their home event, it has been Peter Gade who has ensured some European interest going into the weekend.
Gade’s 80 minute match against Du Pengyu got off to the worst stuff when the 5th seeded Chinese player took the opening game, but the experienced Dane battled back to ensure his place in the last 4 by winning the next two games to set up a semi final with Chen Long. The other semi final sees the last two world champions battle it out as Chen Jin takes on Lin Dan, with the top seed look to be back to his best form with a 21-15, 21-6 demolition of the 6th seeded Sho Sasaki.
The women’s singles, as expected will see the top four players in the world battle it out in a Chinese monopoly of the semi finals. Both Baun and Schenk led the European charge going into the quarter finals but both were easily beaten by their Chinese opponents in Wang Xin and Wang Shixian, who now face off against one another. Top seeded Wang Yihan ended Saina Nehwal’s run at the last 8 with a 21-8, 21-12 victory and takes on the 4th seeded Jiang Yanjiao for a place in Sunday’s final.
Only Cai and Fu remain in the men’s doubles for the Chinese, with Korea taking two spots and Boe and Mogensen of Denmark ensuring some European interest going into the weekend. 4th seeded Ko and Yoo go up against the top seeded Cai and Fu with the recent form between the two pairs very much going in the Chinese pairs favour. The other semi final sees Lee and Jung take on Boe and Mogensen for a place in the final on Sunday.
The women’s doubles as expected still sees the top seeded Wang and Yu as overwhelming favourites, their two game victory over Jung and Kim puts them into the last 4. There was a shock with the 8th seeded Cheng and Pan losing out to their unseeded team mates Huan and Tang in three games but the other unseeded pair of Yixin and Zhong has no such luck against the 4th seeded Tian and Zhao who won in two games.
European interest is down to just one in the mixed doubles, with the 3rd seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen defeating Laybourn and Rytter Juhl in an all-Danish quarter final. British interest ended with the defeat of Adcock and Bankier as well as Blair and White with both losing to unseeded pairs in three games. Xu and Ma defeated Zhang and Zhao, but it was a reverse of the semi final with the top seeded Chinese pair having to retire due to injury.
After Jiaming and Tian’s surprise defeat yesterday, there were no Chinese slip-ups on day 2 with the world’s best safely progressing into the quarterfinals.
Lin Dan did survive a scare in his second round match against Muhammed Hafiz Hashim after the Malaysian took the opening game, only for Lin Dan to respond with two stunning games of badminton and a victory in three games. The top seed will take on Sho Sasaki of Japan in the last 8, whose most recent meeting was at the world championships that seen the Chinese top seed progress in two games. All four quarter finals have Chinese interest but the most intriguing match of the four sees Peter Gade take on Du Pengyu, with Gade winning their only match to date in Singapore in July.
China have five of the remaining eight players left in the women’s singles, with Wang Shixian progressing much more safely than her previous match with a two game victory over Fu Mingtian. The 2nd seed will take on one of the two Europeans left in the draw in Juliane Schenk who defeated world championship finalist Cheng Shao Chieh in three games. Saina Nehwal suffered a similar fate to Wang Shixian, needing the full distance and more to defeat Japan’s Ayane Kurihara. The Indian eventually winning 27-25 to set up a quarter final clash with top seed and world champion Wang Yihan.
All three Chinese world champions are safely into the last 8 in the doubles events, with Cai and Fu needing three games to eventually progress and face England’s Adcock and Ellis. Chris Adcock is also through to the quarter finals of the mixed doubles with partner Imogen Bankier whose remarkable form recently continues with a victory over the 4th seeded Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei. Five pairs remain in the women’s doubles, headlined by Wang and Yu but the unseeded pairing of Huan and Tang also stole some of the limelight with their victory over the second seeded Maeda and Suetsuna of Japan.
The pick of the all-Chinese encounters tomorrow comes in the mixed doubles, as a rematch of the world championship semi final sees Zhang and Zhao take on Xu and Ma for a place in the last 4. Ma Jin’s ankle injury in London robbed the fans of a superb match that was finely poised going into the second game, but the last two full matches between the pairs have result in six excellent games of badminton and a victory apiece going into tomorrow.
The next event on the Super Series calendar is underway, and the online live stream should be up shortly. Here are the live streams:
Semi Finals Session 2