The majority of the top ranked players and pairs have progressed into the playoffs needing just two games to ensure qualification, however some groups are doing down to the wire tomorrow in the final matches of the group stage.
Lee Chong Wei, Peter Gade, Lin Dan All Through
Few expected any resistance in Group A as Sho Sasaki and Simon Santoso were outclassed by the eventual qualifiers from the group in Peter Gade and Lee Chong Wei. Both players secured two victories and will play tomorrow for top spot within the group and the likelihood of the loser meeting Lin Dan in the semi final stage. The Group B winner takes on Kenichi Tago to ensure top spot, whilst the Japanese player needs a victory to have any chance of progressing. The other match in Group B sees Chen Long take on Taufik Hidayat, with the Chinese player also looking for a victory to ensure his place whilst the Indonesian cannot qualify for the last 4.
Sung Ji Hyun Remains Unbeaten
After her stunning win over Wang Yihan, Sung Ji Hyun ensured her place at the top of Group A with a two game victory over Juliane Schenk but still needs a victory over Tine Baun to ensure qualification, whilst the Dane must defeat Sung to have any chance of qualifying whilst Wang Yihan needs only to beat Juliane Schenk to reach the last 4. Group B is already settled with only the top spot on offer as Wang Xin and Saina Nehwal play in the final group match.
All To Play For In Doubles
Group A of the men’s doubles offers the simplest of equations, win and progress into the playoffs. All four pairs have won one and lost one going into the final round of matches tomorrow, with Cai and Fu against Ko and Yoo likely to be the standout match of tomorrow’s play with at least one of these pairs not playing this weekend. Chai and Guo take on Hashimoto and Hirata for the other place in the last 4. Group B is a different story, with Boe and Mogensen progressing as well as Lee and Jung ahead of their match tomorrow to determine top spot in the group.
Wang and Yu are safely into the last 4, even with a defeat tomorrow their points and games difference is too strong and have secured the top spot in Group A. Ha and Kim have to become the first non-Chinese pair to defeat Wang and Yu to have any chance of progressing into the last 4. Tian and Zhao are not mathematically through, but would need to lose convincingly to the Japanese pair of Fujii and Kakiiwa for the world number 3 pairing to have any chance of progressing.
Zhao Yunlei faces a similar situation in the mixed doubles, needing only to avoid a big defeat to Ahmad and Natsir to advance to the playoff stages. Xu and Ma need a victory against the British pair of Blair and White to ensure their place in the last 4, with the world number 22 pairing already out of contention. Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen have already won Group B, whilst either of the three pairings in their group capable of taking second place in the group. The likely winner between Ikeda and Shiota against Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam will look like the favourite to take the second place spot in the group.
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Semi Finals Session 1
Semi Finals Session 2
The best eight players and pairs are in Liuzhou this week for the final event of the 2011 Superseries season, with plenty of Chinese interest on home soil.
Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei Win Openers
The favourites from the two groups in the men’s singles both won their opening matches, but both needed three games to ensure a winning start this week. Lin Dan defeated Chen Long in a 62-minute thriller to open up Group B whilst Lee Chong Wei needed three games to defeat Sho Sasaki and ensure a win on the opening round of matches. Peter Gade tops Group A after an impressive 21-13, 21-9 victory over Simon Santoso and there was more disappointed for the Indonesians as Taufik Hidayat was defeated by Japan’s Kenichi Tago in the other Group B match, with Tago taking the deciding game 21-7 to share the top spot in the group with Lin Dan.
Wang Yihan Beaten Sung Ji Hyun
The big surprise in the women’s singles came in the Group A opener as world number 1 Wang Yihan lost to Sung Ji Hyun of Korea in a 72-minute match, after the Chinese number 1 took the opening game 21-13 but capitulated and lost the next two games to make her chances of making the semi finals increasingly difficult. Tine Baun tops the group after an impressive one-sided victory over Juliane Schenk, winning 21-12, 21-11 in just 27 minutes. Xin Wang needed just 26 minutes to defeat Sayaka Sato of Japan to top Group B whilst Saina Nehwal defeated Bae Youn Joo to start her campaign on a positive note.
Cai and Fu Defeated
The main news from the men’s doubles group was Cai and Fu’s defeat to Chai and Guo in their Group A opener, Ko and Yoo also suffered an opening game defeat, making their matchup on Friday potentially for the second position in the group. Lee and Jung survived their own scare against Koo and Tan but eventually won in three games to keep finishing top of their group a possibility. Wang and Yu top Group A in the women’s doubles with a 21-9, 21-11 victory over Poon and Tse whilst Tian and Zhao top Group B after a three game victory over Pedersen and Rytter Juhl in 58 minutes. Zhao and Zhang defeated their Chinese team-mates Xu and Ma in their opening match of the mixed doubles in Group A, with the world number 1 pairing winning the match in three games, needing 45 minutes to ensure a top two place in the group. Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen top Group B with a two game victory over Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand in a 21-15, 21-17 victory.
China were guaranteed at least three golds on home soil but also secured a 4th title as Lin Dan claimed his first title in China in almost 18 months.
Lin Dan Too Strong For Chen Long
The current world and Olympic champion proved to be too strong for the higher seeded Chen Long after inflicting his 3rd defeat on the 2nd seed in their three meetings with a 21-17, 26-24 victory, with Lin Dan claiming the title on his 7th match point. Wang Yihan claimed the women’s singles title after Wang Xin’s retirement at 18-12 in the opening game of their encounter.
Boe And Mogensen Claim Only Non-Chinese Title
Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen claimed their first title since the Super Series Finals in January of this year with a two game victory over the 4th seeded Ko and Yoo of Korea winning 21-17, 21-15 in 42 minutes. Wang and Yu claimed their 5th straight title and their 58th victory of the year against the unseeded China pairing of Tang and Xia, winning 21-11, 21-10 in 40 minutes. The mixed doubles seen the top seeded Zhang and Zhao defeat Fischer and Nielsen for the second time in two weeks to claim the title in a two game victory, with the Chinese pair winning 21-11, 21-14 to ensure a fourth title for the China in Shanghai.
If China’s plan is to demoralize Lee Chong Wei before the Olympics, their plan is succeeding. After two losses in a month to Chen Long, the world number has suffered a double defeat to Lin Dan in back to back events but this time it was in front of a partisan crowd in Shanghai.
Chinese Dominance In Singles
Lin Dan’s 75-minute marathon victory over Lee Chong ensured two all-Chinese finals in the singles, with Chen Long defeating Simon Santoso in two games to ensure his place in the final without the loss of a game. The two finalists last met in exactly a year ago in this event at the final, with Lin Dan winning in three games and currently leads their overall head to head 2-0. The women’s singles final also sees the 2nd and 3rd seeds from Chinese face each other, with Wang Yihan taking on Wang Xin. Both players progressed after a tough three game match against an unseeded Chinese player, with Wang Xin saving two match points against Li Xuerui to reach the final, winning 23-21 in the deciding game.
Danish Delight In Doubles
Whilst China can claim half of the remaining finalists in the doubles events, Denmark can also claim two of their own in a resurgence of form for the European nation. Boe and Mogensen defeated the 2nd seeded Lee and Jung in one of the best results of the year for the former world number one pairing and will take on Ko and Yoo of Korea in the only final with no Chinese interests. The women’s doubles final sees the pairing of Wang and Yu going for win number 58 of the year against the unseeded pairing of Tang and Xia who received a walkover against Tian and Zhao in their semi final. Zhao Yunlei managed to reach one final with partner Zhang Nan in the mixed doubles and will take on the Danish pairing of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen who have an excellent 4-1 head to head matchup against the world number 1 pairing, but the Chinese pairs only victory came in their most recent encounter, last week in Hong Kong.
With China having more than half the remaining players in the draw, the few non-Chinese players will stand out over the weekend but some big names will not be around for the semi final stages in Shanghai.
Gade Out To Santoso
Simon Santoso’s run of good form this run has claimed another seed, the 4th seeded Peter Gade. The Indonesian defeated Gade in a three game 73-minute match to book his place in the last 4 where he will face Chen Long. The 2nd seed defeated his countryman Chen Jin in a one-sided quarter final to book his place in the semi finals. The other semi final is a repeat from last week that sees Lee Chong Wei take on Lin Dan after both secured two game victories in their respective quarter final matches.
Clean Sweep In Women’s Singles
The question in the women’s singles is now which of the four Chinese players will take the title on home soil. Wang Yihan is the top seed remaining and takes on Liu Xin in the bottom half of the draw, with both players winning in three games. Wang Xin will play Li Xuerui in the other semi final, with Wang Xin the other player of the four remaining not to drop a game in the quarter finals.
Chinese Interest Looms Large In Doubles
The men’s doubles is without a Chinese pair going into the last 4, with Cai and Fu pulling out before their match with Kawamae and Sato to set up a semi final against Ko and Yoo of Korea. Lee and Jung are the highest seeds left in the draw and take on Boe and Mogensen after they defeated Kido and Setiawan 28-26 in a 73-minute thriller. Wang and Yu are one of three Chinese pairs left in the women’s doubles with the top seeds taking the 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa in the first of the semi finals. The other semi final sees the 2nd seeded Tian and Zhao take on the unseeded pair of Tang and Xia for a place in Sunday’s final. China are also guaranteed a finalist in the doubles with Zhang and Zhao taking on qualifiers Jiaming and Xia, who defeated the Danish pair of Laybourn and Rytter Juhl to reach the last 4. The other semi final sees the 3rd seeded Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen take on the Thai pairing of Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul for a place in Sunday’s final.
It may have only been a few seeds that crashed out today, but the significance of the names have changed several of the draws appearance. New world number 1 Wang Shixian crashed out as well as Taufik Hidayat in what could be his last tournament as a Super Series seeded player.
Taufik Crashes Out
It has been an all too similar story this year for Hidayat, another early exit from a Super Series but the manner of his defeat as well as the opponent signals a change in the guard of Indonesian badminton. His 21-15, 21-10 loss to Simon Santoso could be the last time Taufik Hidayat is ranked above Santoso, with just two places separating the pair at the start of the week and Santoso’s reward is a quarter final match against Peter Gade, who defeated Du Pengyu in his second round match. Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan both progressed safely into the last 8, as did Chen Long and Chen Jin who now face each other for a place in the semi finals on Saturday.
Wang Shixian and Tine Baun Out
The weight of China was on Wang Shixian’s shoulders once more, and once more an early exit has been the result. A second round defeat to Inthanon Ratchanok again asks questions over Wang Shixian’s ability to cope with the added pressure of being world number 1. It was one of just two defeats for the Chinese squad that could have had as many as 7 of the last 8 in the women’s singles. Han Li lost out to Petya Nedelcheva whilst Yao Xue ended the run of the 7th seeded Tine Baun with a three game victory and a quarter final against the 3rd seeded Wang Xin.
Business As Usual For Top Seeds In Doubles
It is yet another tournament with the same names looking likely to meet in the final, with Cai and Fu looking ever the more likely to take on Lee and Jung for the fourth Super Series event running, with the 2nd seeded Korean’s coming through a scare against Liu and Qiu to reach the last 8. The women’s doubles looks like an all-Chinese affair for the 4th time also, as Wang and Yu look set to meet Tian and Zhao after both pairs won their opening matches today. Whilst in the mixed doubles there was a surprise as the 2nd seeded Xu and Ma crashed out to Chan and Goh of Malaysia, allowing the 3rd seeded Danish pair of Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen a potentially easier route into Sunday’s final. Top seeded Zhang and Zhao had no trouble in reaching the last 8, where they take on Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei before a potential semi final clash with another Danish pair in Laybourn and Rytter Juhl, who defeated the 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir in what was a successful day for the Danes in Shanghai.
There was no suspicious circumstances over the five Chinese victories on finals day in Hong Kong as China cemented their place back at the top of world badminton going into their home Super Series next week.
Lin Dan and Wang Xin Claim Singles Titles
It was a surprise to see Lin Dan take on Lee Chong Wei this week, but there was no surprise in the final as Lin Dan defeated Chen Jin 21-12, 21-19 in 31 minutes to claim his first title since the world championships in London. Wang Xin ended the superb run of Tine Baun in the women’s singles in the one-sided final that the 3rd seed took 21-17, 21-14 in 30 minutes.
Chinese Revenge In Doubles
Cai and Fu’s recent history against their Korean opponents Lee and Jung had been poor, losing the last 2 Super Series finals against the 2nd seeded pair. Today however, was the top seeds day as they claimed a three-game 69-minute marathon with the Chinese pair winning the deciding game 21-19. Wang and Yu claimed their 8th victory over Tian and Zhao in the women’s doubles final, with the 2nd seeded pair retiring from a game down at 14-2 down in the second game to allow the top seeds to claim yet another title in a historic year for the Chinese pairing. Zhang and Zhao had been defeated twice previously by their Danish opponents Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen in previous Super Series in Denmark and France at the semi final stage. After the opening game, the Danes looked set to make it three straight victories over the world champions but the Chinese pair responded and took the next two games to take the title ahead of their home Super Series next week. The 64-minute, three game match was won 15-21, 21-17, 21-17 by Zhang and Zhao.
The best two players in the world met for the first time since the world championship final in August, and whilst that match was heralded as a classic, their most recent encounter in Hong Kong resulted in a one-sided victory for Lin Dan over Lee Chong Wei.
Lin Dan Too Strong
Much has been made of Lin Dan and of the Chinese squads withdrawals recently, but surprisingly the highly anticipated rematch between Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei took place. The match was a distinctly one-sided affair with Lin Dan winning in two games and put further doubt into the Malaysian that he can compete with the Chinese squad after a pair of losses to Chen Long in recent weeks also. However, Chen Long suffered his own disappointment in his semi final loss to Chen Jin to set up an all-Chinese final.
Baun Into Final
After a recent run of poor form in Denmark and France, few expected this sort of week from Tine Baun. Her three game victory over Wang Shixian was one of her best results of the year and sets up a final against the 3rd seeded Wang Xin, who also defeated her higher ranked opponent in Wang Yihan in just two games to set up tomorrow’s final.
Usual Suspects In Doubles
The finals of the three previous Super Series have rarely changed, with Cai and Fu set to take on Lee and Jung in the men’s doubles final for the third Super Series in a row. The same can be said of the women’s doubles as Wang and Yu look for their 7th victory over Tian and Zhao and in their third straight meeting in a Super Series final. The mixed doubles has the on form Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen taking on a Chinese pairing, this time it is the top seeded Zhang and Zhao in the final after defeating Xu and Ma at the semi final stages this week, the pair they beat in their previous two Super Series finals.
It was a mixed day for the Koreans, the Indians, the Danes and the Japanese but for the Chinese it was almost a perfect day in Hong Kong, with just two pairs losing on a day of success for the Chinese.
Gade Crashes Out
Chen Jin and Peter Gade met for the 12th time today, with Gade winning just 3 of their previous 11 matchups. Today did not add another win to that tally as the 2010 world champion defeated Gade in two games to book his place in the last 4 and inflict his 9th defeat upon the Dane. His opponent in the semi final will be Chen Long, with a guaranteed Chinese involvement in Sunday’s final.
Lee Chong Wei defeated Ajay Jayaram to book his place in the last 4, whilst Lin Dan defeated Shon Wan Ho in his quarter final to set up their dream semi final match. Question marks will loom over the match as to whether the world number 1 will take on the current world champion until the pair step onto court, with the Chinese squad looking to keep this matchup from taking place in an Olympic qualifying year.
Baun Breaks Up Chinese Monopoly
With the top three Chinese seeds all making into the last 4, only Tine Baun adds any sort of variety to what looks like a Chinese certainty in the women’s singles. Baun’s victory over Saina Nehwal was an unexpected one with the Dane’s form being up and down in the past month but it is a welcome surprise to the Danish squad after Gade’s exit from the men’s singles. Baun takes on the 2nd seeded Wang Shixian whilst the other semi final is an all-Chinese affair between Wang Yihan and Wang Xin, with the higher seeded Wang Yihan taking a 5-1 head to head lead into their 7th meeting.
Chinese Dominant In Doubles
Chinese can boast two pairs in the semi finals of each of the three doubles events. Cai and Fu as well the pairing of Zhang and Jiaming, predominantly known for their mixed doubles results are also through to the last 4 of the men’s doubles. The two Chinese pairs take on one another in the first of the semi finals whilst the other semi final is an all-Korean affair with Ko and Yoo taking on Lee and Jung for a place in Sunday’s final.
Wang and Yu continue their march to the final with another two game victory over the local pairing of Poon and Tse whilst their perennial opponents in the final also progressed into the last 4 as Tian and Zhao defeating Jung and Kim of Korea to reach the last 4. Zhao Yunlei is also into the last 4 of the mixed doubles with Zhang Nan as of both partners are set to play two semi finals matches tomorrow, Zhang and Zhao take on the Chinese Taipei pairing of Chen and Cheng in the first of tomorrow’s semi finals whilst Xu and Ma take on their nemesis of the past few weeks in Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen in the second of tomorrow’s mixed doubles semi finals.