Another year and another World Championships is over, new World Champions have been crowned whilst some continue their domination of the sport. It was a tournament full of surprises, from England’s withdrawal on the eve of the Championships to seeing Lin Dan seeded a mere fifth.
He might have been seeded fifth, but Lin Dan is still the best player in the world. He almost eased into the tournament with three simple wins in under 90 minutes, and then hit top form when it mattered against Peter Gade, Sony Dwi Kuncoro and Chen Jin to win his third straight World Championship.
Lu Lan came in as China’s 4th best player, but now she is World Champion. Beating four of the top ten seeds on her way to the world title without losing a set is a remarkable achievement for the 22-year old. She defeated Xie Xingfang and Wang Lin on her way to the world title to declare herself as the number one player in China and in the world.
Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng’s lack of tournament experience this year did little to hinder their progress at this years world championship, but had to come through the most remarkable match of the Championships in the final against Lee and Jung where they had a to save two Championship points at before taking the title at their sixth match point, winning 28-26 in the third game in a 75 minute epic.
Zhao and Zhang came in as China 4th best women’s doubles partnership but they showed the depth and quality of the nation by defeating two higher Chinese seeds on their way to their first World title. Their stunning win over Ha and Kim in the quarterfinal will live long in the memory.
The only non-Chinese winner and a first gold for Denmark since 2003 as Laybourn and Rytter Juhl take the mixed doubles title, beating the top three seeds on their way to the title. It is an event that the Chinese haven’t won since 2001 and a result that will boost the game as a whole in Europe that the Asian stranglehold can be broken.
Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan rolled back the years at this years World Championship, unseeded and unfancied at the start of the week they went on a run that turned them from no-hopers to contenders for the title. Only a narrow defeat in the quarterfinal robbed them of another run at the world title.
Jan O Jorgensen’s run to the quarterfinals could be the first look into the future of Danish badminton and to continue the legacy of outstanding men’s singles players. The 21-year old gave Taufik Hidayat a real scare in the last 8 before narrowly losing out, but don’t count out another run by Jorgensen next year.
Paaske and Rasmussen’s shock round 2 defeat was one of the big disappointments of the opening three days of action. Their half of the draw opened up with the withdrawal of Kido and Setiawan but the 2005 World Championships fell at the first hurdle.
There was a lot of harsh criticism of Lee Chong Wei’s defeat to Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the quarterfinal stage on the live-blog that was onsite during the World Championships, but that is not my reason for putting him down as a disappointment. I think he was the only genuine contender to Lin Dan this year and we were almost robbed on their potential semi-final encounter, a victory over Lee Chong Wei would have made Lin Dan’s three-peat all the more impressive.
What next for the world’s best? Macau next week.
Just one day remains in this year World Championships, where no top seed will be playing on finals day. Only Lee and Lee remained as top seeds left in any of the draws but were defeated by Thomas Laybourn and Kamila Rytter Juhl of Denmark in three games.
They will play Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir in the final after they defeated the second Danish couple in the semi finals, Joachim Fischer Neilsen and Christina Pedersen.
In the Mens Singles, Chen Jin was in superb form to beat Taufik Hidayat 21-16, 21-6 to reach the final, where he will play Lin Dan. The Chinese 5th seed came through his match against Sony Dwi Kuncoro in three games
Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong lost out in an agonizing three set affair, losing 22-20 in the decider against Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae. Jung and Lee will play Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, the Chinese partnership came back from losing the opening set to win in three games.
Finals day provides three guaranteed gold medals for the Chinese, starting off with the all-Chinese Men’s Singles Final between Lin Dan and Chen Jin. Both players have only lost one game in their route to the final but Lin Dan goes in as the favourite.
The Mixed Doubles Final is the only match without a Chinese interest, as Denmark’s Laybourn and Rytter Juhl play Indonesia’s Widianto and Natsir. Laybourn and Rytter Dahl have defeated both the third and first seeds to reach the final.
The next two matches are dominated by China. Zhang Yawen and Zhao Tingting play against Cheng Shu and Zhao Yunlei in the Women’s Doubles Final, followed by Xie Xingfang against Lu Lan in the Women’s Singles Final.
The last match of the day pits Cai and Fu against Lee and Jung in the Men’s Doubles Finals. The breakdown of the seedings are:
Three 2nd Seeds
One 4th Seed
Three 5th Seeds
Two 7th Seeds
One 8th Seed
Play begins at 2pm local time.
The unseeded dream ended today, with all 5 unseeeded singles players or partnerships defeated on the biggest day of the World Championships this year. Both top seeds in the singles crashed out within an hour of each other on Court 2, Xie Xingfang defeating Zhou Mi in two games to book her place in the Semi Finals, with Sony Dwi Kuncoro beating Lee Chong Wei in two games.
The day started so well for the Danish, with both mixed doubles partnerships making the Semi Finals. However the dream of a Danish winner in either of the singles ended today with Tine Rasmussen, Jan O Jorgensen and Peter Gade all losing at the quarterfinal stage.
Local hopes were dashed also with defeats to Saina Nehwal and doubles partnership Gutta and Valiyaveetil today. Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan also lost in 3 games today to 2nd seeded Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong.
Day 6 promises to be a great day, starting on Court 1 with the Mens Singles semi-final between Taufik Hidayat and Chen Jin. Court 2 begins with Lee and Lee playing Laybourn and Rytter Juhl of Denmark, with Lee and Lee being the last of the top seeds still in any of the events.
Sony Dwi Kuncoro playing Lin Dan third on Court 1, followed by Xie Xingfang and Pi Hongyan. Court 2 has two all-Chinese matches with Du Jing and Yu Yang playing Zhang Yawen and Zhao Tingting in the ladies doubles semi-finals. Then Lu Lan plays Wang Lin in the second ladies singles semi finals.
Play begins at 2pm on Day 6;
The round of 16 pitted seed against seed, with yet more shocks along the way. 4th seeded Wang Yihan crashed out to 11th seeded Juliane Schenk in two games, who plays Pi Hongyan of France, seeded 8.
Court 1 was also the stage to see top seeded Wong Pei Tty and Chin Eei Hui crash out of the Women’s Doubles to Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna, seeded 11 from Japan.
All of the 10 games on Court 2 ended in two sets, with the big shock of the day being Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan ending Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen’s chances of world title success.
Jan O Jorgensen’s superb form continued as he disposed of 16th seed Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand to book his place in the quarterfinals against Taufik Hidayat.
Day 5 begins with doubles on all three courts, followed by on Court 1 is the all-European Women’s Singles match between Juilane Schenk and Pi Hongyan. Chen Jin plays Simon Santoso third on court. Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan play Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong for a place in the semi finals.
Court 2 starts with top seeds Lee and Lee play Xie Zhongbo and Zhang Yawen, followed by Ma Jin and Zheng Bo playing Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl. The last four matches on Court 2 are the highlight of the day, with Zhou Mi playing Xie Xingfang for a place in the semi finals of the singles.
Lee Chong Wei plays Sony Dwi Kuncoro, with the winner playing the match of the day, Lin Dan against Peter Gade. Play ends on Court 2 with local hero Saina Nehwal playing Wang Lin.
Court 3 has Tine Rasmussen playing Lu Lan of China, followed on court by Jan O Jorgensen against Taufik Hidayat. Of the 40 remaining players in all the competitions, 35 are seeded.
Play begins at 2pm on all three courts.
Another day brought the number of seeds left in the respective draw tumbling, the biggest casualty of the day being 3rd Seeded Paaske and Rasmussen in the men’s doubles. However the top seeded male and female singles players have successfully made it into Round 3.
Lee Chong Wei defeated Nigerian Ola Fagbemi 21-11, 21-14 in just 22 minutes to secure his place in the last 16. He will play Tien Minh Nguyen, seeded 14 for the event and has claimed a famous victory over the top seed in Singapore just two months ago.
Zhou Mi also won in under 30 minutes, disposing of Australian Michelle Chan Ky to set up a last 16 match against Ai Goto of Japan. With 14 of the 16 seeds still left in the women’s draw, there’s still no clear favourite for the title.
The men’s draw still has 13 of its seeds in at the last 16 stage. Unseeded Dicky Palyama plays defending champion Lin Dan tomorrow and Kenichi Tago plays 13th seeded Simon Santoro in Round 3. Jan O Jorgensen’s win over 8th seeded Park Sung Hwan has booked him a place against 16th seed Boonsak Ponsana.
The Men’s doubles seeds have been decimated at this stage. Just 9 of the last 16 are seeded, with at least one unseeded partnership in the Quarter Finals. Cai and Fu, seeded 5 are now the highest seeds left on their side of the draw. Paaske and Rasmussen shock defeat to Han Sang Hoon and Shin Baek Choei has opened the top half of the draw greatly.
Jung and Lee have successfully made it through to the last 16, as well as second seeds Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong. Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach look in great form as they look to repeat their 2005 success.
The women’s doubles so far has seen every seed progress to the last 16 who started the event.
Day 4 starts with mixed doubles action, with the top 3 seeds all in action first on court. Court 2 sees Lin Dan take on Dicky Palyama as the second game, with Zhou Mi following on fifth on court. Taufik Hidayat is on sixth against Hsieh Yu Hsing and Lee Chong Wei is on eighth.
Court 3 sees Peter Gade in action, followed later on with Tine Rasmussen’s first game at the World Championships against Yip Pui Yin. Court 4 will have a double serving of Ma Jin tomorrow, she plays first on court with Zheng Bo, then she is on 5th with Wang Xiaoli in ladies doubles.
Play is set to start at 2pm tomorrow.
Would Day 2 give us another shock? The answer would be yes. Kenichi Tago, the 2007 Scottish Open winner defeated 7th Seeded Joachim Persson in one of the longest games of the day, with Tago taking the deciding game 21-13.
There were routine wins for Widianto and Natsir in their opening round matches, as well as Bo Zheng and Ma Jin. Yu Yang and He Hanbin won in two games, with the second game taken to 22-20. 5th Seeded Xie Zhongbo and Zhang Yawen had a scare after looking the first game, but showed their ttue ability to take the next two games and progress to round 2.
Chen Jin, seeded 2 began his campaign against Eric Pang. There was no repeat of a Dutch victory like Palyama had done earlier as the Chinese seed won in two games. Taufik Hidayat also started his challenge against Switzerland’s Christian Boesgier, the Indonesian 4th seed comfortably progressed in two games.
Day 3 begins with both top seeds in the singles events on court. Zhou Mi plays Michelle Chan Ky on Court 1, and Lee Chong Wei is playing Ola Fagbemi on Court 2. Taufik Hidayat’s game against Mathieu Lo Ying Ping is the second game on Court 2.
Peter Gade begins proceedings against Sho Sasaki on Court 3, followed later in the day with Saina Nehwal and Wang Lin on Court 3 to play their second round matches.
Court 4 begins with Sony Dwi Kuncoro, seeded 6 against Przemyslaw Wacha of Poland. Followed later in the day with Lu Lan, Chen Jin and Lin Dan in second round action.
On Court 6, Tien Minh Nguyen plays Frenchman Brice Leverdez to open play at 1pm local time. Followed by Boonsak Ponsana, seeded 16 and Wang Yihan starts her challenge in round 2 against Susan Egelstaff of Scotland.
The Mens and Ladies Doubles are in action also, with our first look at Cai and Fu of China, Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong of Malaysia and Lee and Jung of Korea. The big news in the Mens Doubles is the withdrawal of top seeds Kido and Setiawan due to injury.
The World Championships first day lived up the expectations, with a shock within the first hour of play as 11th seeded Bao Chunlai crashed out in straight sets to Dutchman Dicky Palyama. He plays Swede Henri Hurskainen in Round 2 with the winner likely to play World and Olympic Champion Lin Dan.
Lin Dan begun his campaign with a straight forward win over Isreali Misha Zilberman, Lee Chong Wei also came through his opening match in straight sets of Dieter Domke to set up a second round match with Ola Fagbemi of Nigeria.
Peter Gade is also through to Round 2, as well as Chan Yan Kit after defeating Kaveh Mehrabi 21-15, 21-11. There was little action from the Women’s Singles today, Belgian Lianne Tan coming through against Elena Prus in two sets gives her a second round match against 15th seeded Maria Kristin Yulianti after the Indonesian defeated Swede Sophia Hansson 21-6, 21-2.
Susan Egelhart defeated Anu Nieminen 21-19, 22-20 to set up a round 2 match with 4th seeded Wang Yihan of China. 14th seeded Wong Mew Choo beat Shannon Pohl of the USA 21-4, 21-6 and will play Ai Goto of Japan in Round 2.
Remarkably, Bao Chunlai was the only seed to be defeated in any of the matches that took place today.
Day 2 will finish off the first round of matches in all the events, with the crowds expected to flock to see Taufik Hidayat began his campaign begin against Swiss Christian Boesiger. 2nd seeded Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir also begin their quest of world championship glory on Tuesday against Belarusian couple Aleksei Konakh and Alesia Zaitsava.
Zheng Bo and Ma Jin (Seeded 3), He Hanbin and Yu Yang (Seeded 4) as well as Xie Zhongbo and Zhang Yawen (Seeded 5) are all in first round action in the Mixed Doubles.
Joachim Persson plays Kenichi Tago in Round 1 of the Men’s Singles in the 3rd match on Court 3, with the 7th Seeded Dane looking to book his place in Round 2 against Kevin Cordon of Guatemala or Marc Zweibler of Germany.
2nd seeded Chen Jin is in first round action against Eric Pang of Netherlands. Another victory for the Dutch over the Chinese in the making?
The talking stops and the matches will determine who is in and who is out after day 1 of the World Championships from Hyderabad, India. The tournament has been overshadowed by terrorist threats, leading to the English team withdrawing their entire team before the event. The following is an excerpt from the BBC News website
The England team has withdrawn from the World Badminton Championships in India because of “a specific terrorist threat” made by extremists.
The eight-strong squad pulled out of the tournament, which starts on Monday in Hyderabad, after reports of threats by Muslim extremists Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy said it was “an incredibly tough decision”.
Badminton Scotland said its players will stay and compete.
Mr Christy said: “After the Olympic Games, this is the most prestigious championships in the world but we were not prepared to risk the safety of our players, coaches and staff in what we felt could have been a very volatile environment.”
He said the team, which included Olympic silver medallist Nathan Robertson, had “carefully considered” information from local police authorities.
Peter Gade starts his quest for World Championship glory in the first match on Court 3 against Ukrainian Valeriy Atreshchenkov The big match of the day is third on Court 4, when 5th seed Lin Dan begins the defence of his title against Israeli Misha Zilberman. Top seeded Lee Chong Wei starts his campaign against Dieter Domke takes place tenth on Court 3.
Six matches to date have been confirmed as walkovers, including mixed doubles 11th Seed Clark and Kellogg from England, 14th seed Nina Visolva and Valeri Sorokina in the ladies doubles.
The All-European match on Court 4 between Anu Nieminen and Susan Egelstaff will determine which of them will play 4th seeded Wang Yihan in Round 2. That match follows after Bao Chunlai , the 11th seed plays Dicky Palyama in the first round. Kaveh Mehrabi is one of the last games on Court 4 today; he plays 10th seeded Chan Yan Kit of Hong Kong.
The amount of Europeans in the main draws will almost certainly half after just one day of the World Championships, with several playing seeds in their respective disciplines or an all-European clash so early on in the tournament.
The Mixed doubles will be one of the few events where anyone from ten seeds could win the title. The Olympic Champions come into the event as top seeds, with the 2007 World Champions second seeds. The on-form couple coming into the tournament are also the third seeds.
2007 World Championship Winners: Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir
2008 Olympic Champions: Lee Jong Dae and Lee Hyo Jung
Lee Jong Dae and Lee Hyo Jung
Last Tournament: Indonesia Super Series (Finalists)
2nd Round Opponents: NO MATCH
The draw has opened out well for the top seeds, a first round bye as well as their second round opponents pulling out allows both partners to focus on their other discipline before taking to the court already in the round of 16.
However, this means their first match together is likely to be against 14th seeded Chinese couple Xu Chen and Zhao Yunlei. It could work in their favour or the two byes to the last 16 could be the worst thing to happen to the top seeds.
Other Seeds to Watch:
Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir
Last Tournament: Indonesian Super Series (Quarter Finals)
2nd Round Opponents: Aleksei Konakh and Alesia Zaitsava (BLR)
The 2007 World Champions have had an indifferent 2009 since their win early in the year in the Malaysia Super Series. They have reached the latter stages in the last few months without winning a competition since January.
Their big test will come in the last eight against Indian couple Jwala Gutta and Diju Valiyaveetil, a couple which beat them in the Korean Super Series this year.
Ma Jin and Zheng Bo
Last Tournament: Malaysian Open (Won)
2nd Round Opponents: Goh Liu Ying and Chan Peng Soon (MAL)
If you’re looking for the form couple, look no further. Winners of the last three Super Series events, beating the top seeded Lee and Lee in two of the Super Series finals. Ma Jin is arguably the most on-form doubles player in the world right now, winning both the level and mixed in Malaysia just 6 weeks ago.
A potential semi-final against Lee and Lee would be worthy of the final, if both make it to the last 4.
These are the “big three” who will be the favourites for the title, 4th seeded Yu Yang and He Hanbin of China are another couple with a real chance, but to make it through to the last four they have to beat 6th seeded Pedersen and Fischer Nielsen in the quarter finals.
Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg are seeded 11 and have made a run in this tournament in 2007 previously. The final four couples from the Beijing Olympics are all seeded in the top 5, with second seeded pair Zheng Bo and Gao Ling no longer playing together, Zheng Bo’s new partnership with Ma Jin has them seeded 3rd.
The two Danish couples ranked 6th and 7th are also strong contenders, it’s perhaps the most open draw at this years World Championships.