The Semi Finals storylines were of two unseeded Chinese players, Bao Chunlai and Wang Xin and their impressive runs to the last four stage of the competition. Bao Chunlai was against 8th seeded Tien Minh Nguyen in the first of today’s semi finals.

The Vietnamese player had breezed into the Semi Final stage without the loss of a game en route and had been on court well under two hours to reach this stage. Bao Chunlai had defeated Peter Gade in the previous round to set up this encounter, spending over 2 and half hours on court to reach the semi final stage.

The first game did little to convince anyone that Bao Chunlai was feeling tired, never letting Nguyen take a led in the opening game that was won 21-15 by the unseeded Chinese player. The second game was a much tighter affair, the pair swapping the lead on various occasions. With the game poised at 12-12, Bao Chunlai 3 points and then four points without reply to take a 20-15 lead. With the second time of asking, Bao Chunlai took the game 21-16 and booked his place in the final.

Wang Xin was next on court, playing Wang Lin seeded 2. The pair had played just last week in China with Wang Lin winning in three games. This was Wang Xin’s 6th match of the week, having come through two rounds of qualifying to just make the main draw. Wang Xin stormed to a 4-0 led in the first game before Wang Lin rallied over the coming points to make the score 13-13.

Wang Xin then won the next six points, taking the first game at the second time of asking 21-15. Both players knew they needed a good start in the second game, Wang Xin stormed to a 5-1 lead, only for the second seed to reel off five points in a row to make it 7-7. However, Wang Xin never led her opponent into the lead in the second game, winning two points as soon as Wang Lin drew level once more. At 18-17, Wang Xin finished her opponent off with three points in a row to take the second game 21-17.

Both the other semi finals in the singles went to three sets. With Taufik Hidiyat beating fellow Indonesian Simon Santoso 13-21, 21-12, 21-18 in 62 minutes. Wang Yihan beat Japan’s Eriko Hirose 18-21, 21-12, 21-9 in 64 minutes.

Finals day with have some local interest, with Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna beating second seeded Ma and Kim over Korea to reach the ladies doubles final in the longest match of the day at 75 minutes.

Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan’s run ended today, beaten in three games by Dasuki and Sukmawan of Indonesia. They set up an all-Indonesian final with Kido and Setiawan in the men’s doubles. There is also some European interest in tomorrow’s finals. Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen are through to the final against unseeded Thai pairing Anugritaywon and Voravichitchaikul in tomorrow’s mixed doubles final.

Play resumes tomorrow at 12 noon.


Yonex Japan Open Super Series Draws

The highest seed remaining in the Mens draw at the quarter final stage was Peter Gade, looking for his first Super Series title since Korea earlier this year. The draw had opened up for him, Lee Chong Wei, out. Chen Jin, withdrawn. Lin Dan, not playing. He had sailed through to the quarterfinals in just over an hour.

Bao Chunlai waited in the Quarter Finals, an ex-World #2 and former Asian Champion, and still only 26. The first set of their encounter was all Bao Chunlai, the Chinese left-hander only surrendered the lead briefly in the middle of the first game before winning six points in a row to set him up for the first game.

The second set had a similar feeling, although Gade was taking the lead in the early part of the set, the Dane led at the mid-game interval 11-10. The pair exchanged points until Bao Chunlai took a 15-14 led, and then came the enslaught, Bao Chunlai reeled over another six points without reply and secured the second game 21-14. It was all over in less than 45 minutes.

The Mens draw has just two seeds remaining, Taufik Hidiyat in the top half of the draw, Tien Minh Nguyen in the bottom half. Hidiyat against Santoro is the first semi final, with a guaranteed Indonesian in the final. Nguyen plays Bao Chunlai in the other semi final.

The Women’s draw has also been littered with Chinese withdrawals, however they could still three players in the last 8. Qualifier Wang Xin is the least known of the three Chinese players left in the draw but her three set winner over Japan’s Mayu Sekiya. Wang Xin burst onto the scene in June, reaching the Malaysian Open Final.

She then took the Phillpine Grand Gold title, beating top seed and world #1 Zhou Mi in the final, she reached the Semi Finals of the China Masters Super Series event just last week, losing out to Wang Lin in three sets.

Tomorrow, she has a chance for revenge against Wang Lin as they play again in the semi finals. The other semi finals has some local interest, with Eriko Hirose playing 4th seeded Wang Yihan for a place in Sunday’s final.

The sub story of the championships has been Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan, since being forced to qualify in Indonesia in June, they rolled back the years at the World Championships. They have reached their first Super Series semi final after defeating Hashimoto and Hirata today in three games.

The draw is dominated by Indonesia at the Semi Final stage, of the 20 pairings/players remaining in the draw, 8 are from Indonesia, 5 from China, 2 from Japan and one from Korea, Thailland, Vietnam, Denmark and the USA.

Play resumes tomorrow at 12 noon on both courts.

Yonex Japan Open Super Series Draws

The draw in Japan left a real chance of seeds falling today, with potential shocks with Boonsak Ponsana against Lee Chong Wei in Round 1 being one of the matches of the day. Ponsana came into the event on the back of his Super Series Final defeat to Lin Dan and the Thai player was expected to trouble the world number 1.

That was simply not the case. Lee Chong Wei sailed into Round 2 with a 21-9, 21-15 victory. Joachim Persson, seeded 7 played Shon Wan Ho of Korea, a player showing promise in recent weeks. The Korean player took a set of Peter Gade just last week in the China Masters and continues his excellent form with a superb 21-13, 21-13 over Persson. He plays Bao Chunlai in Round 2.

The bottom half of the men’s draw has been decimating with Chen Jin’s withdrawal and Joachim Persson’s defeat, leaving just two seeds in the bottom half of the draw going into Round 2. The Women’s draw is none the better, with Wang Yihan the last seed left in the top half of the Women’s draw.

Zhou Mi’s half of the draw was a potentially easier one that she expected, the withdrawal of world champion Lu Lan and Xie Xingfang meant that only herself and Wang Yihan were seeded in the top half. Adriyanti Firdasari was her Round 1 opponent, three sets and 56 minutes later, the top seed tumbled out of the competition. Zhou Mi held a 16-12 lead in the third set, only to lose nine of the next eleven points. Half of the seeds in the Women’s singles are now out or withdrew pre-event. Salna Nehwal also failed to reach Round 2, with a three-set defeat against Jiang Yanjiao.

The event is littered with Chinese withdrawals, Lu Lan, Xie Xingfang, Cai and Fu, Xie Zhongbo and Zhang Yawen to name a few.

The Men’s Doubles has also suffered its fair share of shocks in Round 1. Second seeds Tan and Koo losing to Japanese partnership of Hayakawa and Kazuno. The pair was seeded 14th at the World Championships. The story of the early rounds of the World Championships was Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan’s run at world title number two.

The pair put together some incredible victories to reach the quarterfinals; they have started their campaign with another outstanding win over Paaske and Rasmussen, the 6th seeds. The American partnership was never behind in the third set and play Hoshino and Kobayashi in Round 2.

Play begins on Thursday at midday local time.

Yonex Japan Open Super Series 2009 Draws

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