Wang Shows Axelsen The Door

The Chinese domination of recent years continued in Singapore this week, with chance to take all five titles this week looming large.

Lin Dan and Gade meet for 17th time

The top two seeds safely progressed into the last 4, with Lin Dan progressing by the narrowest of margins against Simon Santoso of Indonesia. The match latest one hour with the 2nd seed winning the deciding game 22-20, with Santoso saving five match points to reach 20-20. Peter Gade had less of a problem reaching the last 4, his 21-15, 21-15 victory over Du Pengyu is his third victory in two games this week as the Dane rolls back the years once again. The other semi final is an all-Chinese affair, with world champion Chen Jin defeating Lee Hyun Il in convincing fashion and takes on Wang Zhengming who defeated the second Danish player left in the event, 17-year old Viktor Axelsen in two games.

Dutch Delight For Yao Jie

The big surprise in the women’s singles is Yao Jie’s victory over the 2nd seeded Wang Yihan. The three game match took exactly an hour with the Dutch world number 18 taking the match 21-17, 16-21, 21-15. Her victory sets up another Chinese clash, this time with 3rd seeded Wang Xin who came through her quarter final with Gu Juan in straight forward fashion. The other semi final features the top seeded Wang Shixian, who needed 83 minutes to take her revenge on Juliane Schenk after the German defeated her in the Sudirman last month. Schenk had three chances to win the match in the deciding game at 20-17 only for the top seeded Chinese woman to string five points together to complete her unlikely and unbelievable victory. Her opponent in the semi final is Denmark’s Tine Baun, seeded 6 this week and had her own marathon match today against Cheng Shao Chieh before winning the match 22-24, 21-17, 21-13 to reach the semi final.

Top Two Meet In Semis

The long standing rivalry between Lee and Jung of Korea and Cai and Fu of China renews itself for a 14th time tomorrow, with both pairs progressing to the last 4 without dropping a game in either quarter final match or any match this week. The 2nd seeded Korean’s hold a 7-6 head to head advantage of the Chinese pair and have won their previous three encounters. The other semi final sees the unseeded Indonesian’s of Chandra and Gunawan take on the 7th seeded Chai and Guo of China, who ended the run of German’s Kindervater and Schoettler in their 21-15, 21-10 victory.

Top Seeds Tumble

Maeda and Suetsuna crashed out at the quarter final stage after being defeated by the 5th seeded Tian and Zhao of China in two games, there was success for Japan even with the top seeds loss as 4th seeded Naito and Matsuo cruised into the last 4 to face the Chinese pair who defeated their team mates. The other semi final has Japanese interest too in the 2nd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa, who take on the 6th seeded Ha and Kim of Korea, who defeated 3rd seeded Jauhari and Polii in three games to progress into the semi finals.

Third Time Lucky

The 2nd seeded Thai pair finally came undone against a British pair in the mixed doubles, with Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam defeating two British pairs to reach the last 8 but were defeated in two games by Robertson and Wallwork, who set up a semi final clash with the unseeded Chinese Taipei pairing of Chen and Cheng. The other semi final sees the top seeded Zhang and Zhao through by the narrowest of margins in an all-Chinese quarter final against He and Yu after saving six match points at 20-14 down to go on a run of eight points to clinch the deciding game 22-20. They take on 4th seeded Ahmad and Natsir who ended the run of Lee and Ha in the quarter final stage in two games to reach the semi final.

Quarter Final Results:

Axelsen Playing Wang
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohEWm_Bj3M4[/youtube]

Lee Hyun Il Ousts Chen Jin

The prospects of an all-Chinese final in the men’s singles loomed large but one man has singled handedly ended any thoughts of that happening this week and will take on his 4th Chinese player of the week in the final.

Lee Hyun Il has been on court for just short of five hours in his five matches, all of which have gone the full distance of three games. Wen Kai was his first Chinese casualty, then Wang Zhengming and today was his greatest result in his 79-minute victory over the 4th seeded Chen Jin by the narrowest of margins, winning 22-20 in the deciding game and saving a match point in the process. His opponent in tomorrow’s final has had a completely different route to the final. Spending just four hours on court and without dropping a game to date, Chen Long is in a superb vain of form but there could be one last great result from Lee Hyun Il.

The all-Chinese final has happened in the women’s singles, as the first major match in what is likely to be a year-long battle for an Olympic spot. 2nd seeded Jiang Yanjiao takes on 7th seeded Li Xuerui for the title and the chance to take an early step towards London 2012 along the way. Both players have been pushed to reach the final and this will be their first match against one another in the final.

Lee and Jung’s passage into the final was never in doubt this week, no dropping games along the way in what was supposed to set up an all-Korean final. That all changed with Ko and Yoo’s defeat to 4th seeded Chandra and Gunawan in two games but this result could favour the top seeded Koreans, who hold a 3-0 record against their Indonesian opponents tomorrow whilst their record against Ko and Yoo is 3-2, with the last victory going against Lee and Jung.

Even without Wang and Yu in the field, China have managed to get an all-Chinese women’s doubles final. Tian and Zhao are used to the latter stages of these types of events but recently joined forces in a remix of the doubles pairings ahead of London. Another new pair awaits in the final in Cheng and Yixin, as the 7th seeds ended the run of Malaysia’s Woon and Hoo in straight games to reach the final.

The mixed doubles final features an Indonesian pair and a pair from Chinese Taipei in one of the most unlikely final at the start of the week. 5th seeded Lee and Chien defeated the dangerous pairing of Xu and Ma in three tight games in 59 minutes, whilst the 8th seeded Widianto and Marissa took 62 minutes to defeat the unseeded pairing of Shin and Kim in three tight games.

Semi Final Results:

Chen Jin Crushes Wong Choong Han

Thailand’s chances of success were high in the doubles events, with two top seeded pairs in the women’s and mixed doubles. There had already been big name casualties but today seen the Thailand involvement going into the week down to just one player.

From the moment that Boonsak Ponsana lost to Wang Zhengming, the Chinese domination was a real possibility this week. Chen Long and Chen Jin have both reached the last 4 with little or no resistance but have been joined in the semi finals by two Koreans. Park Sung Hwan has survived two match points and back to back three game matches but is in the last 4 and will perhaps be Chen Long’s first real test this week. Wang Zhengming was expected to go from strength to strength after his win over Boonsak Ponsana but came undone against 6th seeded Lee Hyun Il in three games to set up two China v Korea semi finals.

Saina Nehwal’s tough week finishes before the weekend, after defeating Lu Lan in the opening round it was another Chinese player that ended the Indian’s run in 7th seeded Li Xuerui. The 21-13, 21-12 scoreline is perhaps down not a fair representation of the match as a whole but the Li Xuerui will be happy not to have played another three game match before the weekend. Thailand’s hopes now rest on the 4th seeded Porntip Buranaprasertsuk who has reached the semi final without the loss of a game to date, she will take on Li Xuerui for a place in Sunday’s final. One Chinese player who wanted a Saina Nehwal victory was the 2nd seeded Jiang Yanjiao who will likely be battling against Li Xuerui for a place in the Olympic squad next year. The Chinese player came through a tight three game match against Juliane Schenk to set up her semi final against 6th seeded Cheng Shao Chieh of Chinese Taipei, who defeated the 3rd seeded Bae Youn Joo to reach the last 4.

The Korean top seeds of Lee and Jung have been flawless to date, winning all three matches in just two games. Their opponent in the semi final are the 8th seeded American pair of Bach and Gunawan, who defeated the 3rd seeded Fang and Lee in two games to reach the last 4. Ko and Yoo have struggled through to the last 4, needing three games in both their last two games to set up their semi final against Chandra and Gunawan of Indonesia who defeated the 5th seeded Chai and Guo of China in two tight games.

The unlikely story in the women’s doubles is the Malaysian pair of Hoo and Woon who have progressed into the semi finals in their first major tournament together. Their semi final match will be their greatest test as a partnership against the 7th seeded Chinese pairing of Cheng and Yixin, who have failed to drop a game to date this week. There is Chinese interest in the other semi final in Tian and Zhao, the 5th seeds. Their opponents in the semi final are the Hong Kong pairing of Poon and Tse, who are no strangers to the biggest stage.

The mixed doubles was Thailand’s best chance at a title this week, but within just 2 and a half hours of play that dream was gone. Xu and Ma taking out the 2nd seeded Anugritaywon and Voravichitckaikul in the opening match of the day in two games, then the top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam lost to Widianto and Marissa of Indonesia in just 27 minutes to end Thailand’s chances. The 8th seeded Indonesian’s reward is a semi final against Kim and Shin who defeated their seeded team-mates, Lee and Ha in two tight games to reach the semi finals. Xu and Ma take on the 4th seeded pair of Lee and Chien, who defeated the Korean pair of Cho and Kim 21-17, 29-27.

Friday’s Results:

Ponsana Falls to Wang

The big local hope for singles success, Boonsak Ponsana came undone at the third round to Wang Zhengming as China threatens to take a massive part in determining the winner in the men’s singles.

Top seeded Chen Long continued on his seamlessly destined route to the final with another two game victory, this time over France’s 13th seeded Brice Leverdez. His main threat in the top half of the draw almost came undone against Mohammed Hafiz Hashim, with 3rd seed Park Sung Hwan saving two match points before coming through 25-23 in the deciding game. Wang Zhengming defeated the 2nd seeded Boonsak Ponsana in three games to end the local interest in the men’s singles, allowing a double chance of a Chinese player coming through the bottom half of the draw. The other Chinese player through to the last 8 is Chen Jin, who defeated Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto in three games to book his place in the quarter finals.

With the amount of talent that Korea and Chinese continually put into the women’s singles draw, the most unlikely of outcomes is usually seeing all eight seeds make it through the quarter finals. Today was one such day with all eight seeds coming through their second round matches, with 7th seeded Li Xuerui and top seeded Saina Nehwal being the only two seeds needing three games to progress into the last 8. Their rewards for their victories is a match against each other for a place in the last 4.

The men’s doubles begun today, with a double dose of action awaiting first round winners. The week is definitely one for the seeds as 7 of the 8 seeds made it through to the quarter finals, with only the 6th seeded Cho and Kwon of Korea crashing out to Goh and Lim of Malaysia who made it through to the last 8. The women’s doubles couldn’t have started much worse for the local fans who arrived early on Friday as top seeds Voravichitchaikul and Aroonkesorn crashed out in the opening match of the day to Hoo and Woon of Malaysia in three games. In fact the women’s doubles has been a mass of shock results, with only the two Chinese seeds of Tian and Zhao as well as Cheng and Yixin making in through to the last 8.

The two top seeded Thai pairs survived their second round matches but face their toughest tasks in the quarter finals. 2nd seeded Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul take on the dangerous Chinese pairing and 5th seeded Xu and Ma in the last 8 whilst the top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam game on the 8th seeded Widianto and Marissa. Three of the remaining four pairs come from Korea and the main threat this week comes from the 7th seeded Lee and Ha, who defeated the unseeded Chinese pairing of Qiu and Yixin to reach the last 8. They take on Shin and Kim in an all-Korean quarter final.

Friday’s Results:

Chen Long Breezes Through

It was a mixed day for the seeds in Bangkok, with several crashing out early on the opening day of play. One seed came through a tough encounter to prove her credentials at the highest level.

Chen Long’s progression to the last 16 was a shift as could be with a pair of victories setting up a third round match with Brice Leverdez of France who battled through a pair of tough matches to make the last 16. Park Sung Hwan also progressed safely in the top half of the draw and takes on Muhammed Hafiz Hashim, who defeated Joachim Persson to reach the third round. The bottom half is laden with Chinese players, with 3 of the 8 coming from China. Chen Jin and Wang Zhengming are joined by Wen Kai, who was the most impressive of the Chinese players in reaching the last 16. The top seed in this side of the draw is local favourite Boonsak Ponsana, who progressed into the last 16 without the loss of a game but faces the 10th seeded Wang Zhengming in his toughest match to date this week.

It might have taken 59 minutes, but Saina Nehwal remains in the draw after defeating Lu Lan in a titanic three game encounter. The opening round seen all 8 seeds progress with varying difficulty, most notably 8th seeded Sung Ji Hyun defeating China’s Wang Lin as she continues her return to top flight action. Jie Yao and Pi Hongyan also progressed into the last 16 to add more quality to the field, with both taking on seeds in their second round matches.

The mixed doubles seen the top two seeds progress safely into the second round, much to the delight of the home crowd. Both Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam as well as Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul won their matches without the loss of a game to reach the last 16. 3rd seeded Fuchs and Michels of Germany were also impressive in their 21-5, 21-9 victory, as were the 5th seeds of Xu and Ma in their 21-8, 21-14 defeat of Kwon and Kim of Korea.

Day 1 Results:

Saina Top Seed in Thailand

With just over a year until the London 2012 Olympics, several of the worlds elite are fighting for a place to represent their country. Qualification for the Olympics is just underway and with three major events in June, players have be able to perform well in order to have a chance of making London 2012.

Chen Long, Chen Jin and Wang Zhengming are all fighting for a place to represent China in the men’s singles and are all seeded this week. Top seeded Chen Long starts against Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk whilst hometown favourite and 2nd seeded Boonsak Ponsana takes on Lu Yi of China. Joachim Persson and Viktor Axelsen are the big names from Denmark and will also being battling against one another to make the Danish team for the Olympics. Their fortunes are mixed though, with Axelsen taking on 16th seeded Wong Choong Hann of Malaysia whilst Persson awaits a qualifier in his opening round.

Top seeded Saina Nehwal’s draw couldn’t have been any harder this week, taking on the 2009 world champion Lu Lan in the opening round before she can think about the seeds on her half of the draw. Wang Lin and Pi Hongyan are in the top half of the draw but are both unseeded only to add to the level of difficulty in progressing from the top half of the draw. Jiang Yanjiao is playing this week knowing that with Wang Lin’s return to competitive play, her spot in London is far from concrete but the bottom half of the draw is considerably weaker than the top, with Yao Jie providing the only non-seeded threat in the bottom half of the draw.

The super-competitive Korean pairs are all in action this week in the men’s doubles, with the top 2 seeds being from Korea. Lee and Jung are the top seeds this week and face a qualifier in the opening round as do the second seeded Ko and Yoo. 6th seeded Cho and Kwon are the third Korean seed this week, whilst a 4th pairing of Kim and Shin are unseeded this week. Denmark also have three pairs playing this week, all of which are unseeded but after Boe and Mogensen’s terrible form at the Sudirman last month, Danish badminton might need some new talent in the men’s doubles.

A surprisingly weak women’s doubles gives Thailand hope of a title this week, with Tian and Zhao being the only big name Chinese pair in the draw this week, seeded 5th. The 6th seeded Ha and Kim will be a partnership to watch as well as the 7th seeded Chinese duo of Cheng and Yixin.  The mixed doubles will be the best chance of local success this week, with the top 2 seeds both coming from the host nation. The dangerous pairing of Xu and Ma are also playing this week and are seeded 5th, whilst Lee Yong Dae pairs up with Ha Jung Eun after winning a group match in the Sudirman Cup last month.

The Draws:

Chen Jin Falls To Sho Sasaki

Day 3 provided the first big shocks of the Asian Championships, with 2009 world champion Lu Lan defeating the top seeded Wang Shixian in the women’s singles whilst Sho Sasaki defeated the 2010 world champion Chen Jin in their 78 minute matchup to reach the last 8.

Sasaki’s reward for his victory over Chen Jin is a quarter final match against the top seeded Lin Dan, who also had to come through his won three game match against Wen Kai, eventually progressing in 67 minutes. Second seeded Chen Long has had little trouble in his route to the last 8 with three victories without the loss of a game. His biggest challenge awaits in Wang Zhengming in an all-Chinese match. 3rd seeded Boonsak Ponsana has been back in form this week, with an excellent victory over Kazushi Yamada in two tight games to set up a match with Bao Chunlai, who has also been impressive in his route to the last 8. 4th seeded Tien Minh Nguyen takes on 6th seeded Du Pengyu in the 4th quarter final, with the 4th seeded Nguyen in excellent form in reaching this stage.

Even at the last 8 stage, China has assured itself of at least one finalist with a monopoly on the top half of the draw. Lu Lan’s victory over Wang Shixian means she takes on the 6th seeded Li Xuerui with the winner taking on the other quarter final in the top half of the draw, between 4th seeded Liu Xin and 5th seed Jiang Yanjiao. The three seeded players left in the top half have all won their matches without the loss of a game to date this week. The bottom half of the draw as a much more diverse nationality of players, with 2nd seeded Wang Yihan being the sole Chinese player in the bottom half of the draw. Two unseeded Thai players as well as a Chinese Taipei player makes up the last 8. With Wang Yihan taking on the Thai qualifier Sapsiree Taerattanachai for a place in the last 4.

The men’s doubles is another event well represented by Chinese pairings, with 4 of the 8 duos coming from China. Cai and Fu are the top seeds this week and have been flawless on route to the last 8 with a pair of two game victories. Their opponents in the last 8 are the Malaysian pair of Goh and Lim whose run to the quarters was bolstered with the withdrawal of the 7th seeded Lee and Shin who were set to be their first round opponents. The other quarter final in the top half sees the 4th seeded Chandra and Gunawan take on the 6th seeded Xu and Zhang for a place in the last 4. The big news in the bottom half of the draw is the loss of the 3rd seeded Fang and Lee to the unseeded Chinese pair of Liu and Qiu in a tame two game defeat.

The women’s doubles has a full compliment of seeds in the last 8, with only the 8th seeded Bao and Zhong as well as the 7th seeded Naito and Matsuo dropping a game on route to the quarter final. The Japanese 7th seeds will have to be at their very best to challenge the 2nd seeded Yu and Wang who have been the form pair in this event for the last few months. The top seeded Cheng and Chien take on the 5th seeded Tian and Zhao of China, who defeated the dangerous pairing of Ma and Cheng in two games to reach the last 8.

The mixed doubles draw has a few surprises in the last 8, all of which are in the top half of the draw to the delight of the top seeded pair of Zhao and Zhang. 7th seeded He and Yu lasted just two points into their opening round match before they had to withdraw which the Japanese qualifiers Sato and Matsuo have taken full advantage to reach to the last 8 where they will take on the unseeded Chinese pair of Hong and Pan. The bottom half of the draw has all four seeds remaining, including an all-Chinese tie between the 8th seeded Ma and Xu against the 3rd seeded Tao and Tian, with the higher seeded pair surviving a scare in their second round match against Shiota and Ikeda before progressing in three games. The last of the quarter finals sees the 6th seeded Lee and Chein take on the in form 2nd seeded pair of Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam who haven’t dropped a game this week in reaching the last 8.

Day 3 Results:

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