If the Chinese squad wanted another headline to take over from the semi-final withdrawals, then their performances on finals day certainly made more desirable headlines as China won all four of their matches in the final.
Chen Long stunned the world number 1 Lee Chong Wei with a three game victory in the men’s singles final, the 73-minute match started with an unlikely 21-8 win for Chen Long but the Malaysian was equally impressive in his 21-10 second game but Chen Long rallied back to stun Lee Chong Wei and take the title 21-18 in the third.
There was further success in a pair of one-sided victories in the women’s singles and men’s doubles, Wang Yihan defeated Juliane Schenk in two games as well as Cai and Fu beating Ahsan and Septano in a tight two game match to take the Chinese tally to 3 titles. There was a fourth title for the young Chinese pair of Chong and Bao over the 5th seeded Chien and Cheng of Chinese Taipei, after losing the opening game and saving two match points the Chinese pair battled back to clinch the second game and then the third game to claim an unlikely fourth title in Japan.
The only non-Chinese final seen Chen and Cheng of Chinese Taipei take on the Danish pair of Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen, after sharing the opening two games Cheng Wen Hsing ensured that she would take one title this week and from 14-14 in the third game the Chinese point strung four points together to ensure a decisive lead that they wouldn’t surrender and took the third game 21-15 to claim the title.
The double withdrawal of Liu Xin and Lin Dan marred a day of excellent matches as the Chinese have their sights set on London 2012 and getting as many players as possible to qualify for the Olympics.
Chen Long received a walkover over Lin Dan and will face Lee Chong Wei who defeated Peter Gade in two games whilst in the women’s singles, Liu Xin’s withdrawal means that Wang Yihan will play Juliane Schenk, who defeated Saina Nehwal in convincing fashion to reach the final.
Cai and Fu survived a real test against Koo and Tan to reach the men’s doubles final where they will take on the 4th seeded Indonesian pair of Ahsan and Septano who beat their team-mates Kido and Setiawan in another tight three game match. China are represented in the women’s doubles too by Bao and Zhong who defeated their three Japanese seed of the week , this time it was the 3rd seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa who were defeated in three games in a 91 minute match. Their opponents in the final will be the 5th seeded Chien and Cheng of Chinese Taipei who ended the run of the unseeded Hong Kong pairing of Poon and Tse in two games.
Cheng Wen Hsing is also into the final of the mixed doubles with a two game victory over the top seed and world champions Zhang and Zhao with her partner Chen Hung Ling and will take on Danish pair of Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen who defeated Fuchs and Michels in an all-European semi final in a tight three game match to reach the final.
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.