It was a day with German, Danish and Indian involvement hoping to overcome the odds to reach the last 4 against a fierce contingent of local players and the all-conquering Chinese. For the most part, the latter pair of nations took the spoils.
Lee and Lin Ever Closer To A Korean Rematch
Form might be temporary, but this week has seen the form players in the world reach the last 4 with the unlikely inclusion of Du Pengyu who announced his arrival this week with his opening round demolition of Peter Gade. The Chinese player now has his toughest match of the week against the world number 1 Lee Chong Wei, with the hope of setting up a potential all-Chinese final after the Malaysia defeating Kenichi Tago once more in their one-sided rivalry. Lin Dan would be the second part of the final, with a three game victory over Jan O Jorgensen setting up a semi final against Sho Sasaki who ended European chances in the event with his two game victory over Marc Zwiebler.
A Chinese Monopoly Broken
China hoped for an all-Chinese semi final line-up to cement their place at the top of the women’s singles game, however Bae Youn Joo did not read the script in her victory over Li Xuerui to break the Chinese monopoly of the last 4 places. The Korean takes on Wang Shixian in the semi final, with the 2nd seed failing to drop a game to this point. The other semi final is an all-Chinese clash between the world number 1 Wang Yihan and Jiang Yanjiao. The top seed ended European hopes with a two game victory over Germany’s Juliane Schenk whilst Jiang Yanjiao ended India’s hopes with her own two game victory over Saina Nehwal.
China And Korea Dominate Doubles
Of the 12 pairs remaining in the three doubles events, only two are not Korean or Chinese. The men’s doubles has a Korean majority of 3 to 1 over it’s Chinese rivals. With Cai and Fu the lone Chinese hope in the event. The top seeds take on Ko and Yoo of Korea for a place in Sunday’s final whilst Lee and Jung take on their countrymen Kim and Kim who ended Hong and Shen’s run this week to ensure a sole Chinese entry in the semi finals.
The women’s doubles has two China-Korea matches, with Wang and Yu taking on Ha and Kim in the first semi final in a meeting that has been monumentally one sided. The 6-0 advantage to the Chinese pair is a similar record to most of the other pairs in the world as the world number 1 pair look to extended their unbeaten run to a calendar year. The other semi final sees Tian and Zhao take on Jung and Kim, an unseeded pair who defeated the 7th seeded Matsuo and Naito to reach this stage.
European hopes lay in the mixed doubles, with interest in both semi finals. Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen will be the pair that people will easily recognise, they take on Xu and Ma in the second semi final between the top highest seeds left in the draw. The other semi final features Lee Yong Dae, looking for a historic double in his home country with partner Ha Jung Eun. The Korean pair take on the Russian pairing of Nikolaenko and Sorokina, who defeated He and Yixin in their quarter final in the biggest win of their careers to date.
After losing the top seed in the mixed doubles, the Chinese squad got back on track in Seoul today whilst the Danish contingent had little to celebrate in the second round.
Four Seeds Remain
The top two in the world progressed to the last 8 with both needing the full three games to ensure their place in the quarter finals. Lee Chong Wei was tested by Shon Wan Ho before eventually setting up his quarter final match with Kenichi Tago. Simon Santoso is the other seed remaining in the top half of the draw who will likely move up the rankings after this week after securing a quarter final match against Du Pengyu who continues his excellent run with a three game victory over Hu Yun.
A lot was expected of Marc Zwiebler after his double victory over Taufik Hidayat and he has finally delivered with a run to a Premier quarter final against Sho Sasaki. The Japanese 6th seed was impressive in his two game victory over Wang Zhengming to ensure his place in the last 8. Jan O Jorgensen claimed the biggest scalp of the day in his victory over Chen Jin in three games to set up a quarter final against Lin Dan, who had his own struggles in beating Lee Hyun Il before progressing in three games.
Chinese Presence In All Quarter Finals
All four of the quarter finals will have some Chinese presence as the three seeded players are joined in the last 8 by Li Xuerui. Juliane Schenk is the sole European in the draw but will have a tough test to still be in the draw after the end of play tomorrow as she takes on Wang Yihan, whilst Jiang Yanjiao or Saina Nehwal will face the winner depending on the result of their quarter final in the top half of the draw. Wang Shixian takes on Gu Juan for a place in the last 4 whilst the only non-seeded Chinese player Li Xuerui takes on Bae Youn Joo in the second quarter final in the bottom half of the draw.
Seeds Topple In Men’s Doubles
Only three seeds remain in the draw, with a Cai/Fu versus Lee/Jung final looming large. Boe and Mogensen crashed out to Hong and Shen of China who take on Korea’s Kim and Kim for a place in the semi final. Lee and Jung needed three games to ensure their place in the last 8 where they will take on the Chinese Taipei pair of Fang and Lee a place in the last 4. Cai and Fu saved a match point before booking their place in the quarter finals against the German pairing of Fuchs and Roth, the last remaining European pair in the draw. Ko and Yoo will hope to ensure an all-Korean final as they try to progress into the last 4 in their match against Endo and Hayakawa of Japan.
Chinese Powerhouses Cruise Into Last 8
Wang and Yu progressed into the last 8 in straight forward fashion, and were joined by their team-mates Tian and Zhao in equally impressive fashion. The prospect of a ninth meeting of the year in Sunday is almost a foregone conclusion, such is their gap at the top of the world’s elite. Xu and Ma are into the last 8 in the mixed doubles and take on the 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl in their quarter final matchup. Whilst in the top half, He and Yixin ensured a Chinese involvement after their victory over Adcock and Bankier in the second round.
Several seeds crashed out of the opening round in Seoul, but there were some big-name departures on the opening day also.
Gade & Taufik Crash Out
Whilst Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan both progressed into the second round, the two big surprises were the loss of the 3rd and 4th seeded players. Chen Long retired from his opening round match with Hsu Jen Hao trailing 20-15 in the first game whilst Peter Gade was comprehensively beaten by Du Pengyu of China, with the Dane losing 21-9, 21-12. Gade cited his busy schedule over the last 4 months as a factor in his defeat to the world number 11.
Kenichi Tago disposed of the 7th seeded Tien Minh Nugyen to take the number of seeds left in the event down to 5. The big match not containing a seed seen Taufik Hidayat crash out at the first round to England’s Rajiv Ouseph to further question the Indonesian’s ability to qualify for the London Olympics.
Seeds Topple In Women’s Singles
There was a similar story in the women’s singles, with 3rd seeded Wang Xin losing out to Bae Youn Joo in third games as well as Sung Ji Hyun crashing out to Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in two games. Wang Yihan needed three games to defeat Jie Yao but there was no such trouble for Wang Shixian who progressed safely into the second round.
Denmark Lead European Charge
With the loss of Gade, the Danes will rely on their doubles partnerships to bring some success in Seoul. Boe and Mogensen needed three games to defeat the 2005 world champs Bach and Gunawan and are joined in the last 16 by Conrad-Petersen and Rasmussen who take on the 4th seeded Ko and Yoo in the second round. The top two seeds in the men’s doubles both progressed in straightforward fashion, winning their matches in 2 games.
Wang and Yu reminded everyone why they are the best pair in the world with a merciless 21-7, 21-5 victory over Wang and Wang of the USA. Tian and Zhao also progressed easily to set up their all Chinese second round against Yixin and Zhong. The lone Danish pair left is Rytter Juhl and Pedersen who take on the 7th seeded Japanese pairing of Matsuo and Naito who were impressive in their 21-7, 21-9 over Grether and Reid of Canada.
The biggest shock of the day came in the mixed doubles as top seeded Zhao and Zhang crashed out to the British pair of Adcock and Bankier in a rematch of the 2011 World Championship final. The British pair take on another Chinese pair in the second round, facing He and Yixin. Xu and Ma lead the Chinese charge and take on the Russian qualifiers Durkin and Vislova in their second round match. The Danes have two seeded pairs remaining, the 3rd seeded Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen faught back from a game down to reach the last 16 whilst the 8th seeded Laybourn and Rytter Juhl defeated the British pairing of Blair and White to reach the last 16.
With a new Super Series season starting the BWF is once again providing free live streaming in select countries. The first event of the year is the Victor Korea Open 2012.
The coverage begins at 4am GMT on Thursday January 5th.
Round of 16
The first event of 2012 takes the world’s elite to Seoul for the biggest prize money of the year in the opening Super Series Premier event.
Tough Start For Gade
Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan both avoided a potentially tough opener, with the world number 1 taking on Kashyap Parupalli of India whilst Lin Dan has a first round clash with Spain’s Pablo Abian. Chen Long takes on a qualifier whilst Peter Gade has the toughest draw of the top four seeds as he takes on Du Pengyu of China. The world number 4 and world number 11 clash in the biggest match of the opening day of play. Gade holds a 3-0 head to head advantage and won their most recent encounter in China in late November last year.
Tien Minh Nguyen will be tested in his opening round match against Keinchi Tago in another fantastic opening round match with countless intriguing encounters taking place out with the seeded players. Boonsak Ponsana and Wang Zhengming also clash in the opening round, as well as Lee Hyun Il taking on Wong Wing Ki. Taufik Hidayat starts with a potential banana skin against Rajiv Ouseph of England, with a loss almost ensure he will drop out of the top 16 in the world.
Chinese Presence Throughout
The top 3 seeds in the women’s singles are as expected, Chinese. With Wang Yihan claiming the top seed and an opening round match against Jie Yao of Holland, Wang Shixian is seeded 2 and takes on Fu Mingtian of Singapore. The 3rd seed Wang Xin takes on Bae Youn Joo of Korea in the toughest of the three encounters, taking on the world number 14. Saina Nehwal takes on Susan Egelstaff in a rematch of the 2010 Commonwealth Games semi final whilst the final Chinese seed, Jiang Yanjiao take on Bulgaria’s Linda Zechiri in the opening round.
European hopes lie with Tine Baun, seeded 5th this week the Dane takes on the Canadian Michelle Li in a potentially tough opener. Juliane Schenk is seeded 7 but faces Liu Xin of China in her opening match in the biggest match of the opening round in the women’s singles draw. Liu Xin is ranked 10 in the world and holds a 2-0 head to head advantage against her German opponent.
The 3rd Force In Men’s Doubles?
Boe and Mogensen come into 2012 as the form pair in the men’s doubles after success in the Super Series Finals before Christmas and come into this week seeded 3. Their opening round match is against the 2005 world champions, Bach and Gunawan of the USA with a potential rematch with Lee and Jung in the semi finals. The 2nd seeds are the defending champions and take on Kumar and Thomas of India in their opening round match.
Top seeds Cai and Fu crashed out of the Super Series Finals at the group stage and have a potentially tough opener against the Polish pair of Logosz and Cwalina whilst the 4th seeded Korean pair of Ko and Yoo take on the Chinese pairing of Liu and Qiu of China, who are ranked 15 in the world.
Wang And Yu Still The Pair To Beat
World number 1 since June and haven’t lost a match since January of last year, Wang and Yu are the super power of the women’s doubles and come into 2012 looking for an unthinkable run of a year without losing a match. They start 2012 with a opening round match against Wang and Wang of the USA and a likely matchup with the 2nd seeded Zhao and Tian in the final on Sunday. Zhao and Tian start their campaign against Agustin and Maheswari of Indonesia.
2011 World Championship Rematch
Zhang and Zhao take on Adcock and Bankier in a rematch of the 2011 World Championship final, this time in the opening round in Korea. It is a tough blow for the British pair hoping to grab valuable ranking points in a 3-way fight for an Olympic place with Robertson and Wallwork as well as White and Blair. The 8th seeds and 2009 world champions Laybourn and Rytter Juhl wait in the first round for White and Blair. The 2nd seeded Xu and Ma start with a tough opener of their own, taking on Widianto and Marissa of Indonesia with both previous meetings going to three games.
Lee and Eun of Korea are the wildcard of the draw, they take on a qualifier in their opening round before a likely second round match with Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam of Thailand.
The chance of a clean sheet on home soil loomed large, but Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen ensured a Danish success in Liuzhou.
Lin Dan and Wang Yihan Claim Singles Titles
Lin Dan completed his exceptional week with a second victory over Chen Long in 5 days, this time it was much more one seeded then their meeting on Wednesday with Lin Dan winning in two games. Wang Yihan needed to battle back from a game down against Saina Nehwal to claim the women’s singles titles, winning in 71-minutes in her third three game match of the week and spent almost 5 hours on court to claim the title this week.
Two More Titles in Doubles
Wang and Yu completed their 63rd victory over the year to claim yet another title in the women’s doubles over Ha and Kim for the second time this week, with the victory just as impressive as their group match win. Zhang and Zhao won the mixed doubles in their all-Chinese match against Xu and Ma also for the second time this week, but their victory in the final was much more one-sided than their group match.
Danish Delight In Men’s Doubles
There was a European victory in the men’s doubles as Boe and Mogensen defeated Chai and Guo to ensure there was no clean sweep for the Chinese. The Danes defeated the Chinese pairing in two games after winning a tight opening game 25-23, then cruised to victory with a 21-7 victory in the second game.
Seven of the ten finals spots will come from the home nation as they dominated in Liuzhou on semi finals day.
Two All-Chinese Finals
Chen Long started the morning session with another victory over the world number 1 to claim his third win over the Malaysian in their last 4 meetings and set up an all-Chinese final against Lin Dan. The Group B winner had little trouble in claiming his 16th victory over Peter Gade in two games to set up his clash with Chen Long in tomorrow’s final. The mixed doubles is also an all-Chinese affair, with Zhang and Zhao defeating the Japanese pairing of Ikeda and Shiota in routine fashion. Xu and Ma finally broke the streak of three consecutive losses over Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen in the other semi final, with the Chinese pair beating the Danes in two games to set up their second match against Zhang and Zhao this week.
Chinese Interest In Other Three Finals
Whilst they may not be all-Chinese finals, there is still interest the women’s singles, doubles and men’s doubles. Wang Yihan takes on Saina Nehwal in the women’s singles final, with the Indian beating Tine Baun in her semi final. Wang Yihan won the all-Chinese semi final against Wang Xin to claim her first victory over the world number 2 since the world championships in August. Wang and Yu won their semi final in a walkover against Zhang and Zhao and will take on the Korean pair of Ha and Kim in the final of the women’s doubles, with the two pairs already playing this week in a one-sided victory for the Chinese pair. The men’s doubles final is far from the expected pairings as Boe and Mogensen will take on Chai and Guo, with the Chinese pairing beating Lee and Jung in two games to reach the final whilst the Danish pair defeating the other Korean pair of Ko and Yoo in the other semi final in a three-game, 51 minute match.
Cai and Fu’s absence in the semi finals will be a loss for the home fans but the Chinese squad still have interest in every event. There is Danish involvement in all five events too with the headline match of tomorrow being Peter Gade against Lin Dan.
Peter Gade v Lin Dan
Head to Head: 15-3 Lin Dan
Peter Gade needed to defeat Lee Chong Wei to avoid this matchup, but the world number 1 was simply too strong for the Dane which seen Gade take second spot in the group. Lin Dan has dropped just a single game on route to the semi final stage against Chen Long and will go into tomorrow’s game as the undoubted favourite on recent form as well as the overwhelming head to head advantage for the current world champion.
Lee Chong Wei v Chen Long
Head to Head: 5-3 Lee Chong Wei
Chen Long has beaten Lee Chong Wei twice in their past three meetings, but Lee Chong Wei took their previous encounter at the French Super Series in three games to take back the momentum in their matchups. The Malaysian has just dropped a single set against Sho Sasaki in his group opener and was never in any doubt of winning his matches against Tago and Gade. Chen Long bounced back from an opening day defeat to Lin Dan to ensure second spot and a chance for a third victory over Lee Chong Wei in since September.
Wang Yihan v Wang Xin
Tine Baun v Saina Nehwal
Head to Heads: 6-2 Wang Yihan, 3-1 Tine Baun
The all-Chinese matchup was meant to be in the final, but Saina Nehwal’s victory over Wang Xin ensured she topped Group B and set up these matches instead of the expected ones. Despite Baun being the lower of the ranked players, the Dane has an excellent record against the Indian world number 4 and won their most recent matchup in Hong Kong last month. The all-Chinese semi final sees the top two in the world go head to head with the world number Wang Xin winning their previous two matches, however Wang Yihan did lead 18-12 in their most recent match before the world number 2 retired through injury.
Cai and Fu Out
The big Chinese disappointment is the absence of Cai and Fu but their form this week has been far from their stellar best. Their two game defeat to Ko and Yoo ensured they wouldn’t be taking part this weekend but instead the Korean pair would top Group A instead. Their opponents in the semi final is the Group B runners up, Boe and Mogensen who lost to Lee and Jung today in the fight for top spot in Group B, with the Korean pair taking on Chai and Guo of China in their semi final.
Top Two Collide
Wang and Yu topped their group in stunning fashion, but have been rewarded with a semi final against the world number 2 pairing of Tian and Zhao who finished second in Group B after a defeat to the world number 3 pairing of Fujii and Kakiiwa. The Japanese pair still failed to make the playoffs, instead the other semi final is between Ha and Kim of Korea against Rytter Juhl and Pedersen of Denmark, with the Danish pair topping Group B on games difference.
On Form Danes Look To Topple Chinese
Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen have been the form pair in the world for the past few months and after a straightforward progression into the last 4, they take on the world number 2 pairing of Ma and Xu. The Danes hold a 3-2 head to head advantage, winning their last 3 meetings over the Chinese pair. The other semi final sees Zhang and Zhao take on Shiota and Ikeda of Japan for only their second meeting, their previous matchup coming over 18 months ago. The world number 12 pairing had a negative games difference from Group B and will need play some of the best badminton of their life to compete with the world number 1 pairing.
The majority of the top ranked players and pairs have progressed into the playoffs needing just two games to ensure qualification, however some groups are doing down to the wire tomorrow in the final matches of the group stage.
Lee Chong Wei, Peter Gade, Lin Dan All Through
Few expected any resistance in Group A as Sho Sasaki and Simon Santoso were outclassed by the eventual qualifiers from the group in Peter Gade and Lee Chong Wei. Both players secured two victories and will play tomorrow for top spot within the group and the likelihood of the loser meeting Lin Dan in the semi final stage. The Group B winner takes on Kenichi Tago to ensure top spot, whilst the Japanese player needs a victory to have any chance of progressing. The other match in Group B sees Chen Long take on Taufik Hidayat, with the Chinese player also looking for a victory to ensure his place whilst the Indonesian cannot qualify for the last 4.
Sung Ji Hyun Remains Unbeaten
After her stunning win over Wang Yihan, Sung Ji Hyun ensured her place at the top of Group A with a two game victory over Juliane Schenk but still needs a victory over Tine Baun to ensure qualification, whilst the Dane must defeat Sung to have any chance of qualifying whilst Wang Yihan needs only to beat Juliane Schenk to reach the last 4. Group B is already settled with only the top spot on offer as Wang Xin and Saina Nehwal play in the final group match.
All To Play For In Doubles
Group A of the men’s doubles offers the simplest of equations, win and progress into the playoffs. All four pairs have won one and lost one going into the final round of matches tomorrow, with Cai and Fu against Ko and Yoo likely to be the standout match of tomorrow’s play with at least one of these pairs not playing this weekend. Chai and Guo take on Hashimoto and Hirata for the other place in the last 4. Group B is a different story, with Boe and Mogensen progressing as well as Lee and Jung ahead of their match tomorrow to determine top spot in the group.
Wang and Yu are safely into the last 4, even with a defeat tomorrow their points and games difference is too strong and have secured the top spot in Group A. Ha and Kim have to become the first non-Chinese pair to defeat Wang and Yu to have any chance of progressing into the last 4. Tian and Zhao are not mathematically through, but would need to lose convincingly to the Japanese pair of Fujii and Kakiiwa for the world number 3 pairing to have any chance of progressing.
Zhao Yunlei faces a similar situation in the mixed doubles, needing only to avoid a big defeat to Ahmad and Natsir to advance to the playoff stages. Xu and Ma need a victory against the British pair of Blair and White to ensure their place in the last 4, with the world number 22 pairing already out of contention. Fischer Neilsen and Pedersen have already won Group B, whilst either of the three pairings in their group capable of taking second place in the group. The likely winner between Ikeda and Shiota against Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam will look like the favourite to take the second place spot in the group.
Once again BWF is offering a live stream to select countries. You can find the various feeds here:
Day 1 Session 1
Day 1 Session 2
Day 2 Session 1
Day 2 Session 2
Day 3 Session 1
Day 3 Session 2
Semi Finals Session 1
Semi Finals Session 2