Lee Slips Past Antonsen – CROWN GROUP Australian Open 2017 – Day 2

Wily veteran Lee Hyun Il pulled off an impressive escape act against Denmark’s Anders Antonsen in the opening round of the CROWN GROUP Australian Open 2017 today.

Andersen nearly had the match wrapped up at 19-15 in the third game of their Men’s Singles opener, but Lee expertly worked his way out of the crisis, and before the Dane had figured out how to regain the initiative, he was out of the match 19-21 21-10 21-19.

“I really don’t know why I lost. I can’t believe that I threw that one away, leading 19-15 and suddenly it was 19-21. It’s extremely tough,” rued Antonsen, still unable to believe that the match had slipped his grasp.

“Of course he’s very experienced, he knows where to place the shuttle at the right moments. He was solid on the big points, I started making mistakes at 19-15; he was very calm at the end. Even though I’m younger, it’s bad to lose a match like this because I had it in my hands. I stressed a bit too much, was attacking too hard on everything, and just a bit in panic… my performance was not good enough.”

Antonsen’s senior compatriot and defending champion Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus had no trouble in navigating his first round – against Indian newcomer Siril Verma, who went down without much of a fight at 21-16 21-18.

Champions of the last two World Superseries, India’s Sai Praneeth and Kidambi Srikanth, both progressed to the second round without much fuss. While Srikanth outclassed Chinese Taipei qualifier Kan Chao Yu 21-13 21-16, Praneeth overcame the loss of the opening game against Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto, eventually coasting through 10-21 21-12 21-10.

“I knew he would be tough as he’s a rally kind of player,” Praneeth said. “I couldn’t adjust to the pace initially, he was playing fast. Once I started getting my smashes in, I felt better. Sometimes when I’m leading, I lose two-three points consecutively. I’m getting better at controlling it now.

“Singapore was a big tournament to win, obviously your confidence goes high. I won Thailand immediately after that. That was the real challenge…. and beating players like this (Sugiarto) will give me confidence.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for India as HS Prannoy, semi-finalist in Indonesia, crashed out to England’s Rajiv Ouseph.

Another casualty was No.5 seed Jan O Jorgensen (Denmark), whose heel injury returned to haunt him as he retired in the third game against Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting.

Mixed Doubles defending champions Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir, fresh from their exploits on home soil in Jakarta, were shot down 21-17 21-16 by Malaysia’s Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing (featured image).

The Indonesians failed to get any sort of rhythm and were chasing the Malaysians through the 39-minute encounter.

“We didn’t have time to recover since our win at the Indonesia Open (on Sunday), as we gave our 100 percent there,” said Ahmad. “We knew what we had to do and we needed to play faster, but my body was not supporting me. Our opponents also played well today, their defence was strong, and it was not easy to get points with one or two shots.”

No.4 seeds Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen (Denmark) looked a shadow of themselves in an untypical defeat to China’s Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping. The Danes were off the boil, appearing too rusty and committing far too many errors to trouble the Chinese during the 21-19 21-15 defeat.

In Men’s Doubles, fourth seeds and Olympic silver medallists Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong were shown the door in the opening round. The Malaysians were outplayed 16-21 21-13 21-13 by Japan’s Takuto Inoue/Yuki Kaneko.

Two other Japanese pairs progressed – Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda over India’s Sumeeth Reddy/Manu Attri and Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi over Thailand’s Supak Jomkoh/Pakin Kuna-Anuvit.

China’s Zhang Nan/Liu Cheng were a trifle lucky to survive as they survived two match points against Hong Kong’s Or Chin Chung/Tang Chun Man in a 67-minute affair: 21-18 20-22 23-21.

Click here for results

Indonesia Reignites Superseries!

Fans are revving up for the resumption of the MetLife BWF World Superseries tour next week with one of the calendar’s most popular – and definitely most noisy – tournaments: the BCA Indonesia Open 2017!

This season, however, the decibel level will be fever pitch, not at the accustomed Istora Senayan, but at the Jakarta Convention Center as the regular venue is undergoing refurbishment ahead of next year’s Asian Games.

Nonetheless, when badminton’s big guns reignite ther battle in the Indonesian capital, they will be zeroing in on the top eight spots to enhance their qualification chances for the the Dubai World Superseries Finals. The season’s eight highest-ranked singles players and doubles pairs will compete in the desert showdown for a share of the US$1million jackpot from 13-17 December this year.

In Men’s Singles, Chou Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei) leads the standings after four out of 12 events, followed by Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen and Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia. Chinese superstar, Lin Dan; Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong; Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Thailand); Wong Wing Ki (Hong Kong) and young Chinese ace, Shi Yuqi, round out the top contenders in that order.

Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying – riding a wave of unprecedented success – has been victorious in three of the four Superseries events held this season so far, to sit atop Women’s Singles in the Destination Dubai Rankings. Unbeaten since last November in Hong Kong, Tai has won five Superseries in succession; with only the India title eluding her as she did not compete in Delhi.

Close on her heels is Carolina Marin, with Spain’s Olympic gold medallist having been runner-up three weeks on a stretch in India, Malaysia and Singapore. The consistent Sung Ji Hyun of Korea is third overall, thanks to semi-final runs in every Superseries this season.

Akane Yamaguchi (Japan), Pusarla V Sindhu (India), Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand), Nozomi Okuhara (Japan) and Sun Yu (China) round out the elite eight.

Men’s Doubles supremos, Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo/Marcus Fernaldi Gideon (featured image), will enjoy deafening support when they take to home court next week. Having blazed to the top of the podium in three Superseries this season, the Indonesians head the standings followed by China’s twin towers, Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen, and Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda of Japan.

Another Indonesian pair – Angga Pratama and Ricky Karanda Suwardi – are in fourth place, with Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding (Denmark), Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong (Malaysia), Bodin Isara/Nipitphon Phuangphuapet (Thailand) ranking fifth to seventh respectively. Meanwhile, Denmark’s evergreen masters, Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark, have moved into reckoning with their victory in the OUE Singapore Open 2017 to be in eighth position currently.

YONEX All England Open 2017 champions, Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee, are the leaders of the Women’s Doubles pack. Having starred in Korea’s recent Sudirman Cup success, they will be keen to continue their strong form in Jakarta. Their compatriots, Jung Kyung Eun and Shin Seung Chan are in third place but the big headline in this category is that Japan has four pairs in the top seven of the Destination Dubai Rankings!

Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open champions Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota are in second place. These Japanese came of age rapidly this season, with a quarter-final in Birmingham, followed by a semi-final in Delhi, before winning in Kuching. Their team-mates, Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao, are in fifth while another Japanese pair, Shiho Tanaka/Koharu Yonemoto – champions in their first Superseries final in India – are sixth. Japan’s Rio 2016 gold medallists, Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi are seventh, having lost their only Superseries final this season  (Singapore) to Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl who are fourth overall. China’s recently-paired Huang Yaqiong/Tang Jinhua are beginning to make inroads and sit in eighth at the moment.

Huang Yaqiong’s name has featured prominently in Mixed Doubles though, as she and partner, Lu Kai, have reached all four Superseries finals – capturing three of them. They are comfortably ahead of the competition in the Destination Dubai Rankings, with Chinese peers, Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen, who defeated them in the Kuching finale, currently in second place. The blossoming partnership of Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai has been reaping handsome rewards and the Thai tandem are third in race for the desert classic.

England’s Adcock household – Chris and Gabby – are fourth with Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying in fifth. The remainder of the top eight is completed by Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen (Denmark); Olympic gold medallists, Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir (Indonesia); and Korea’s upcoming duo, Choi Solgyu/Chae Yoo Jung – fresh from clinching the Sudirman Cup for their country.

The BCA Indonesia Open 2017 will be followed by the CROWN GROUP Australian Open 2017 in Sydney. These two events will bring the MetLife BWF World Superseries to its halfway mark and fans will get a better picture of how fortunes are shaping up. Exciting times and more surprises are certainly ahead with stops in Japan, Korea, Denmark, France, China and Hong Kong in the second half of the season.

Top Guns Confirm Places

The stage is set for some high-profile clashes at the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 in Glasgow with most of the top qualifiers confirming their entries.

In Men’s Singles, gladiatorial contests between the likes of Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia; featured image), China’s Lin Dan and Chen Long, and Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen and Jan O Jorgensen are on the cards as the top qualifiers in Phase 1 of the eligibility list have accepted their invitations.

Among the other top Men’s Singles qualifiers are Son Wan Ho (Korea); Shi Yuqi and Tian Houwei (China); Chou Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei); Ng Ka Long, Wong Wing Ki and Hu Yun (Hong Kong), and Ajay Jayaram, Kidambi Srikanth and Sai Praneeth (India).

Phase 1 having concluded on Thursday 11 April, invitations have been sent to other eligible players under Phase 2 that will conclude on Thursday 25 April. Among the beneficiaries in the Phase 2 invitation list is Denmark’s Anders Antonsen. If his invitation is accepted by Badminton Denmark, the European Championships runner-up would join his compatriots Axelsen, Jorgensen and Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in the competition. A member association can field four players if they are within the top 8 of the rankings on the eligibility date in Phase 1, or if places open up due to other eligible players declining their invitations in Phase 2. An MA cannot exceed four entries in any category.

A few eligible players in all categories have declined their invitations mainly due to the Southeast Asian Games (in Kuala Lumpur) and the Summer Universiade (in Taipei) which coincide with the World Championships.

In Men’s Singles, some of the prominent names who have declined invitations are Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei and Hsu Jen Hao; Korea’s Lee Hyun Il; Thailand’s Khosit Phetpradab; Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh and Singapore’s Derek Wong.

Women’s Singles

World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying, who has been on a run of six straight title victories, will not be contesting the World Championships as she has declined the invitation to compete in the Summer Universiade in her homeland.

Nevertheless, Women’s Singles boasts a very competitive category, with the likes of two-time champion Carolina Marin (Spain); India’s Pusarla V Sindhu and Saina Nehwal; Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun; Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon; Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi, Nozomi Okuhara and Aya Ohori; and China’s Sun Yu, He Bingjiao and Chen Yufei accepting their invitations.

Men’s Doubles

In-form pair Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Indonesia) lead a star cast in Men’s Doubles. Indonesia have confirmed their three pairs – Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi and Muhammad Rian Ardianto/Fajar Alfian being the other two.

Similarly, three Chinese, Danish and Japanese pairs each have confirmed their participation.

Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov; Chinese Taipei’s Yang Po Han/Lu Ching Yao; Olympic bronze medallists Chris Langridge/Marcus Ellis and Hong Kong’s Or Chin Chung/Tang Chun Man are all headed to Glasgow as well.

Women’s Doubles

Olympic champions Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi lead a strong Japanese charge that includes Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao and Shiho Tanaka/Koharu Yonemoto.

China too will be represented by three pairs: Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan, Luo Ying/Luo Yu and Li Yinhui/Huang Dongping.

Indonesia’s fourth-ranked pair Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari have received an invitation for Phase 2. If they accept, they will accompany compatriots Mahadewi Istirani Ni Ketut/Anggia Shitta Awanda and Rosyita Eka Putri Sari/Della Destiara Haris.

Denmark’s two pairs have accepted: Olympic silver medallists Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Sara Thygesen/Maiken Fruergaard, while fellow Europeans, Bulgaria, will field Stoeva sisters Gabriela and Stefani.

Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei and Lim Yin Loo/Yap Cheng Wen will be the two pairs doing duty for Malaysia, while Australia can look to Gronya Somerville/Setyana Mapasa.

Mixed Doubles

Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong have been in blazing form this year, and the duo are part of a strong Chinese line-up that includes Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen and Zhang Nan/Li Yinhui.

Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na, who have been out of action this year, have confirmed their entry, as have Olympic gold medallists Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir (Indonesia) and Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen.

Indonesia have two more pairs who will do battle in Glasgow: Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto and Ronald Ronald/Melati Daeva Oktavianti.

England’s Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock will be buoyed by their recent victory at the European Championships as they seek a first World title.

Also in the running are Malaysia’s top two pairs Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying and Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing; Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei/Chau Hoi Wah; Japan’s Kenta Kazuno/Ayane Kurihara and Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino; India’s Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Sikki Reddy; Polish veterans Robert Mateusiak/Nadiezda Zieba; and Russia’s Evgenij Dremin/Evgenia Dimova.

Click here for full lists:

Men’s Singles

Women’s Singles

Men’s Doubles

Women’s Doubles

Mixed Doubles

Boe/Mogensen Leap into Top-Ten – Destination Dubai Rankings: Men’s Doubles

Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen made the biggest jump among top pairs in Men’s Doubles on the Destination Dubai Rankings after winning the OUE Singapore Open.

The Danes (featured image), who played in only three Superseries of which they lost in the first round of one (All England) and second round of another (India Open), surged 20 places by winning the Singapore Open to enter the top ten.

Indonesian sensations Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon, who have been on fire this seasonchalking up three World Superseries victories, lead the Destination Dubai Rankings.

The Indonesians won the Yonex All England, the Yonex-Sunrise India Open and the Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open to open up an 8000-point lead over nearest rivals Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen of China.

Li and Liu were runners-up at the All England and the OUE Singapore Open; having finished semi-finalists in India and quarter-finalists in Malaysia, they were the best of all Chinese pairs.

In third place are Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda. While they couldn’t quite recapture their title-winning form at last year’s Hong Kong Open, the Japanese were consistent, with their best being the last-four at the Malaysia Open.

Angga Pratama and Ricky Karandasuwardi were once again unlucky to run into Gideon and Sukamuljo in the India Open final. Pratama and Suwardi had lost in two previous Superseries finals to their younger compatriots, and the result was no different in India this year.

In fifth place are Denmark’s Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding, who started the year encouragingly with semi-finals in England and India, but their form then tapered off, with first round losses in Malaysia and Singapore.

The big disappointment this year has been the form of Malaysia’s Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong. Having won silver at the Rio Olympics, the Malaysians had closed out 2016 winning the Dubai World Superseries Finals and promised to dominate this season, but were strangely below-par. Three quarter-finals – England, India and Singapore – was the best they could come up with.

Thailand’s Bodin Isara/Nipitphon Phuangphuapet troubled higher-ranked pairs, and while they couldn’t go beyond the quarter-finals this season (Malaysia Open), they would be one of the pairs to watch out for as the season unfolds.

In ninth spot are Chinese Taipei’s Lee Jhe-Huei/Lee Yang, quarter-finalists in India and Singapore, while the 10th spot is occupied by China’s Liu Cheng/Zhang Nan, whose best was a semi-final showing at the All England.

The top eight pairs on the Destination Dubai Rankings at the completion of the 12 MetLife BWF World Superseries events will be invited to the year-ending Dubai World Superseries Finals at Hamdan Sports Complex in the desert city.

Top Ten (Men’s Doubles)

1.Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo/Marcus Fernaldi Gideon (Indonesia)

2.Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen (China)

3.Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda (Japan)

4.Angga Pratama/Ricky Karandasuwardi (Indonesia)

5.Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding (Denmark)

6.Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong (Malaysia)

7.Bodin Isara/Nipitphon Phuangphuapet (Thailand)

8.Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen (Denmark)

9.Lee Jhe-Huei/Lee Yang (Chinese Taipei)

10.Liu Cheng/Zhang Nan

Click here for the Destination Dubai Rankings

Contrasting Fortunes – Day 4: OUE Singapore Open 2017

Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo motored into their fourth straight World Superseries semi-final in commanding fashion tonight, while misery befell various established pairs.

As the dazzling Indonesians sped towards another victory, their team-mates Angga Pratama and Ricky Karanda Suwardi – also competing in Men’s Doubles – suffered the agony of losing a match point and ultimately being beaten by Li Jinhui and Liu Yuchen. The Chinese twin towers prevailed 18-21 22-20 22-20. There was, however, a silver lining as Indonesia’s third pair, Berry Angriawan and Hardianto Hardianto, toppled No.2 seeds, Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong of Malaysia (21-15 21-15), and now have the opportunity to avenge their compatriots’ loss to China.

Japan’s No.3 seeds, Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda, were also shown the exit by veteran Danish hitmen, Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen: 21-14 21-12. It was a welcome return to the business end of a MetLife BWF World Superseries event for the Europeans and they are aiming to go a step further tomorrow against wonder boys, Gideon and Sukamuljo.

“Though we are two old men, we were not satisfied with our recent performances at All England and in India. We are usually in the last eight of tournaments and it gives us confidence to get our form back. We are extremely delighted to show we can still play at this level and be among the best,” said a buoyant Boe.

“Nobody can deny that Marcus and Kevin are the best pair currently but we have some tools to overcome them and we have the motivation to do so.”

The demise of star partnerships extended to Women’s Doubles as Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan of China succumbed in a hard-fought encounter with Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan; Jia’s judgment faltering on match point as she left a shuttle which floated in on the baseline. The Korean screamed in delight as they squeezed through 11-21 21-19 21-19. They will play Olympic champions, Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi, for a place in the final. The Japanese shook off Thailand’s Chayanit Chaladchalam and Phataimas Muenwong (21-14 21-11) comfortably.

“We were mentally focused at the end and we got some lucky points. We are prepared for another marathon match against Japan and we hope we can win,” said Jung.

Korea’s other star pair, Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee, will once again be across the net from Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl, in the other semi-final. Chang/Lee stopped Thailand’s Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai, 21-12 21-13, while the Danes outclassed Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi/Yonao of Japan, 21-19 21-11.

The upsets continued in Mixed Doubles with whammies for Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto – falling to Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai (21-17 21-13) – and for Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen later in the night. The experienced Danes were stunned by an amazing comeback from Malaysia’s Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing (featured image). The latter won 10-21 21-18 21-18 and now tackle the Thai tandem in the semi-finals. Both pairs will be in uncharted territory.

Tomorrow will be busy for Korea’s Shin as she and Mixed Doubles partner, Kim Gi Jung, expect to have a say in that category too after beating Chinese Taipei’s Wang Chi Lin and Lee Chia Hsin (21-13 21-11). They are up against China’s in-form combination, Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong, who gave a clinical performance, 21-11 21-8, versus B. Sumeeth Reddy/Ashwini Ponnappa.

“After yesterday’s match, I think both of us will face every match with a more serious attitude. No matter who our opponents are, we have to put in 120 per cent of our energy and preparation,” said Huang, alluding to having to save match point against Singapore’s Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han.