There was disappointment for the Dutch as they failed to convert two chances for a title but there was plenty of celebration for the English as they took both their chances to claim two of the three doubles titles.
Pi and Chan Take Singles
Yan Kit Chan took just 31 minutes to end the resistance of Eric Pang in the men’s singles final, taking the title in two games 21-17, 21-19. Pi Hongyan was just as efficient in her victory over Kristina Gavnholt, taking just 35 minutes to claim her 21-13, 21-17 victory and the women’s singles title without the loss of a game this week.
English Take Two
Ivanov and Sozonov took the men’s doubles title in their 27 minute demolition over De Ruiter and Khodabux, winning 21-16, 21-9 to claim their first title of 2012. Agathangelou and Olver claimed the women’s doubles over Lee and Obanana of the USA in two games, with the 2nd seeds claiming the title 21-15, 21-12 for England’s first title of the day. Robertson and Wallwork claimed England’s second title in the mixed doubles with a victory over Pieler Kolding and Houmann in two games, winning 21-17, 21-17 to boost their chances of reaching the Olympics.
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 draws for the 2010 World Championships were made in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, there were little doubts about the top seed in the men’s singles draw with Lee Chong Wei taking the #1 seed but there will be no rematch of the 2009 final in Paris on August 29.
Lee Chong Wei begins his campaign against Kevin Cordon, the world number 46 from Guatemala and could face a tricky second round match against world #22 Muhammad Hafiz Hashim in an all-Malaysian second round encounter. The other seed in Lee Chong Wei’s section is Jan O Jorgensen, seeded 11. The Dane has had a disappointing 2010 after bursting onto the world scene with victory over Peter Gade in Denmark and reaching the Chinese Super Series final in 2009. He begins his campaign against the Austrian Michael Lahnsteiner, ranked 86 in the world. His second round encounter will be a much tougher match with one of the best matches of the opening round with Eric Pang taking on Rajiv Ouseph for the chance to play Jorgensen or Lahnsteiner in Round 2.
Taufik Hidiyat received the 5th seed and with that, he plays Ola Fagbemi of Nigeria who is the lowest ranked player in the draw, ranked #122 in the world. His likely second round opponent is ranked almost 100 places higher in the world rankings, world #23 Yu Shin Hsieh of Chinese Taipei who takes on Portugal’s Pedro Martins in Round 1. The other seed is Kenichi Tago, one of the breakout stories of 2010 who is the #12 seed and faces the Czech national champion Petr Koukal, the world #48 in the opening round.
Lin Dan has barely played in 2010, but is still the Chinese #1 and seeded 3 for the Worlds and begins his campaign against Ali Shahhossieni of Iran, ranked 110 in the world before potentially playing the winner of the all-European match between Henrik Toth and Henri Hurskainen in the second round. The conspiracy theorists will claim that Lin Dan’s opening two matches could be the easiest run to the last 16 of any of the seeds, with only Hurskainen inside the top 50 in the world (ranked 50th). His first big test will be against Bao Chunlai, seeded 10 and the player who defeated him in the 2010 All England. The 10th seed begins against Yan Kit Chan who is current ranked 20th in the world in one of the hardest opening round match for any seed. If anything, the winner of this match will have an easier second round match, playing the winner of David Snider of Canada (ranked 89) and Scotland’s Alistair Casey (ranked 78).
Tien Minh Nguyen may not have won in Chinese Taipei to gain him more ranking points but is still seeded 7 and plays the world number 62 Ukrainian Valeriy Atrashchenkov in his opening round match. The winner of Raul Must and Dieter Domke is likely to play the Vietnamese player in round 2. Park Sung Hwan is the other seed in this section, the 13th seeded Korean takes on Derek Wong Zi Liang of Singapore, ranked 79 in the world with Park likely to play the winner of another all-European clash between Matthieu Lo Ying Ping and Vladimir Ivanov in the opening round.
The opening section from the bottom half of the draw is arguably the hardest one to come out of, with England’s Carl Baxter, ranked 27 in the world taking on Slovakia’s Michal Matejka for the chance to play the 9th seeded Boonsak Ponsana, should he defeat world number 52 Vladimir Malkov of Russia. The other seed is Simon Santoso, winner in Chinese Taipei and seeded 8. He takes on Poland’s Przemyslaw Wacha, ranked 37 in the world with the winner of that match taking on the winner of Scott Evans, ranked 45 in the world and Hsuan Yi Hsueh of Chinese Taipei, ranked 41 in the world.
The 14th seed Chetan Anand begins his campaign against Ashton Chen Ong Zhao, ranked 112th in the world in one of the bigger mismatches of the opening round and likely to play the winner of Dmytro Zavadsky and Stephan Wojcikiewicz, ranked 47 and 56 respectively. The other seed in the section is the 4th seeded Chen Jin who begins his campaign against Finland’s #1 and world #53 Ville Lang in his opening round. The other match and potentially Chen Jin’s second round opponent is between Kestutis Navickas of Lithuania, the world number 59 and Scotland’s #1 Kieran Merrilees, ranked 72 in the world.
Wong Choong Hann received the 16th seed and will take on France’s own Simon Maunoury in his opening round match in the French capital, but the world number 81 will need to play the match of his life to reach round 2. The other match to determine the winner of the Wong/Maunoury match is between Iran’s Kaveh Mehrabi, ranked 92nd in the world and Kazushi Yamada of Japan, ranked 30 in the world. Sony Kuncoro won in Macau two weeks ago and the 6th seed comes into the championships in excellent form and begins his campaign against Misha Zilberman of Israel, ranked 84th in the world in round 1. Another all-European clash is the last match in the section with world #25 Dicky Palyama of Holland taking on the 3rd Frenchman in the draw, US Open runner-up Brice Leverdez for a place in round 2.
The final section is the only one with two European seeds, with 15th seed Marc Zwiebler taking on the Czech Jan Vondra in his opening round match and a second all-European match guarantees at least one European in the last 16, with Sweden’s Magnus Sahlberg taking on Pablo Abian of Spain. Peter Gade comes into the competition as the number 2 seed and starts his campaign against Brazilian Daniel Paiola, ranked 74 in the world. The big news from this section of the draw is world number 15 Yun Hu not receiving a seeding for the event despite Chen Long not being able to play as China’s #4 and world #10 and plays Shon Wan Ho of Korea, the world number 35 in his opening match and a likely second round match against Peter Gade, which would likely be the match of the second round.
Indonesia, Hong Kong and Japan were well represented in today’s final day in New Zealand. The Indonesian pair of Anisa Wahyun and Anneke Feinya Agustine disposed of the top seeded Hong Kong pair 21-19, 21-17 to win the Womens Doubles final.
Hong Kong was guaranteed the Mens Singles title as both players represented Hong Kong. Top Seeded Yan Kit Chan beat his countryman in two easy games 21-9, 21-9 to bring Wing Ki Wong’s excellent tournament to an end.
Japan’s Sayaka Sato secured the Ladies’ singles after a relatively straightforward win over Maria Febe Kusumastuti in two games, 21-10 and 21-16. The Japanese had another chance to win a second title in the Mens Doubles, Noriyasu Hirata and Hirokatsu Hashimoto played top seeded Indian pair of Rupesh K.T. Kumar and Sanave Thomas in the final. After sharing the opening 2 games, the Indian pair took the 3rd set 21-13.
The Mixed Doubles was won by Indonesian pair of Fran Kurniawan Teng and Pia Zebadiah Bernadet 21-13, 21-19 to secure Indonesia’s second title at the NZ Open. Defeating top seeds Hoi Wah Chau and Yohan Hadikusumo Wiratama of Hong Kong.
The Semi Final matches for the NZ Open took place on Friday night, with play starting on both courts at 6pm local time. Few would have predicted the quickness of the matches as the two courts seen less than three hours playing time for the five matches on their respective courts.
2nd Seed Megumi Taruno narrowly lost our to 4th seeded Maria Febe Kusumastuti in two matches, however the other ladies semi final would guarantee a Japanese woman in the final as Sayaka Sato played Eriko Hirose.
Hirose had beaten top seeded Yip Pui Yin to reach the Semi Final stage but Sato had too much today, beating Hirose 21-16, 21-8 to reach tomorrows final. There was more Japanese success in the Men’s Doubles as Hirokatsu Hashimoto and Noriyasu Hirata booked their place in the final with a three set win over Fernando Kurniawan and Lingga Lie.
The men’s singles is an all Hong Kong affair as Yan Kit Chan and Wing Ki Wong booked their place in the final in straight sets. Hong Kong also have another chance of success in the Mixed Doubles, with top seeded Hoi Wah Chau and Yohan Hadikusumo Wiratama progressing to the final.
New Zealand Open Grand Prix 2009 Draws
After the first day’s results there have been few seeds slain, with the exception of France’s Brice Leverdez who lost to Indonesia’s Yoga Pratama and Lee Tsuen Seng who withdrew from the tournament. Surprising though was the loss of last week’s Australian Open Grand Prix winner Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka to Japan’s Kazushi Yamada 14-21, 21-16, 21-12.
Tomorrow might yield some interesting matches with R.M.V Gurusai Datt playing the top seed Yan Kit Chan, Koichi Saeki playing second seeded Andre Tedjono, and a few others worth keeping an eye out for.
The other events have yet to start at this point in time as a result of what seem to be some fairly small draws, so keep an eye out there as well, since we could see some other exciting matches.