Monday, August 30, 2010


China won all the five titles at the Yonex World Championships at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris, a feat they have achieved only once at the World Championships in 1987 at Beijing.

Having won the men and women’s singles, as well as the women’s and mixed doubles titles, only the men’s doubles pair was left to be won. And standing in the way of the Chinese pairing of Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng was world number one and top seeds Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong from Malaysia.

It was heartbreak for the Malaysians who were hoping to end the barren run of their country since its inception as no Malaysian had won at the world meet.

Try as they did to stop the red army, the Malaysians were no match for the Chinese pair, who came from a set down to win 18-21,21-18, 21-14 in 62 minutes.

“We tried our best and are sad that we failed to deliver the medal for Malaysia,” said Tan.

“They were very strong in defence and try as we did to break them, we were unable to do it.”

Cai/Fu raced to an early lead of 8-6 but the Malaysians were undeterred ad fought back to level at 9-9. And they were neck to neck with the Malaysians leading 11-10 at the break, the first time they were in the lead for the set.

Koo/Tan then broke away to lead 16-12, but Cai/Fu started attacking relentlessly and Koo made a costly miss when the score was 16-15 to allow the Chinese to draw level.

They were tied at 18-18 but the Malaysians won the next three points to take the first set 21-18 in 18 minutes.

In the second set they two pairs were level at 5-5 but Cai/Fu then broke away to lead 10-7. At the break the Chinese held an 11-10 advantage. The Chinese pair then raced to a 17-12 lead and had the set within their grasp. And they went on to win the second 21-18 to force the decider.

The third was no different as Cai/Fu raced to a 7-2 lead and never looked back as they wrapped up the set 21- 13 and completed their hattrick, having won in 2006 and 2009.

“It is always good to win and it is extra special as we ensured China won all the titles here,” said Cai Yun.

In the women’s singles, former world number one Wang Lin beat back the challenge of fellow Chinese Wang Xin in the final 21-11, 19-21, 21-14 to clinch the world championships title in 58 minutes.

It seemed that the final would be an easy affair for the former top ranked player after she had easily won the first game but the Chinese number three seed Wang Xin fought back in the second game to win 21-19 and take the match into a decider.

After matching her initially in the decider, Wang Xin lost steam and let Wang Lin run away with the match.

In the women’s doubles, top seeds Ma Jin/Wang Xioli of China lost to the second seeded pairing of Du Jing/Fu Yang 9-21, 17-21.

The defeat dashed the hopes of Ma Jin of winning two titles at the world championship, having won the mixed doubles event earlier in the day partnering Zheng Bo.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


China won the first of today’s finals at the Yonex World Badminton Championships as Ma Jin/Zheng Bo defeated their counterparts He Hanbin/Yu Yang in straight sets at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris.

And Chen Jin made it two out of two for China as he defeated Indonesian Taufik Hidayat 21-13,21-15 to lift the men’s singles title.

Chen Jin’s aggression proved too much for Indonesian super star as the Chinese, who was seeded fourth went one better than the last edition in 2009 when he had lost the final to Chinese teammate Lin Dan in Hyderabad.
For Taufik, the former Olympic and World Champion, it was the end of a brilliant run here at Paris.
In the quarter-finals and semi-finals, the Indonesian 2004 Olympic champion had showed his old class and brilliant skills to have his supporter’s dream of a repeat of 2005 when Taufik had won the World Championships.
But here at the Stade Coubertin on Sunday, in front of tennis superstar Martina Hingis, Chen Jin was the better and stronger player as he controlled the match right from the start.
Right from the beginning, Chen Jin kept a healthy lead and Taufik had to play catch-up for most of the match. What tilted the balance in favour of the Chinese were the seven consecutive points won in the first game and the five consecutive points won in the second game.
Taufik’s normally reliable net play was error-ridden and his wrong judgments at the baseline didn’t help his cause at crucial stages in both the games.
After his semi-final win on Saturday, Taufik had admitted that Chen Jin was a stronger player and it wouldn’t be an easy game. It wouldn’t be too off the mark to say that Chen Jin wasn’t really extended in the final.
After the final Chen Jin, said, “It’s good to win a title. Lin Dan and lee Chong Wei having been winning all the while and to win the world Championships is always good.”
Chen also said that he had analysed Taufik’s play in the last two good games and was able to predict most of the Indonesian’s moves in the final. “I think everyone had an equal chance to win in this world championship and I am happy that I have finally won the world title.”
“I committed too many mistakes,” said Taufik. “He was the better player and it was Chen Jin’s day.”

It was a memorable return for Ma Jin/Zheng Bo as they won 21-14,21-10 and cemented their reputation as a pair to be feared going into the Asian Games this November.

“It is always good to win and we are happy to have landed the world title,” said Zheng Bo.

“We peaked at the right time and that helped us. After this it is back to the grind as we want the Asian Games title.”

With two titles already in the bag, the mixed doubles and the men’s singles, China are set to win all five finals, a feat they last achieved in 1987 at the Beijing World Championships.
The only hurdle in their path would be the number one seeds, the Malaysian men’s doubles team of Kien Keat Koo and Boon Heong Tan pitted against China’s Yun Cai and Haifeng Fu.


Read about the first hand account as to why Lee Chong Wei lost in the World Championships on this blog later today.

Though there was an overzealous official from BAM that prevented Rexy Mainaky from talking to the Malaysian media, with exception of one favoured medium, Chong Wei was at ease sharing his thoughts with this blogger.

Looking back at the actions of the BAM official, one can only wonder his ulterior motives but it was obvious that this official was virtually showing off the ower he wielded and while he succeeded this time around, its a signal that even he cannot be trusted.

All I can say is that players within BAM are a frustrated lot and some are on the verge of leaving BAM, and this official is not helping things.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


The Malaysian pair of Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong qualified for the final  of the Yones World Badminton Championships after defeating Guo Zhengdung/Xu Chen in the semifinals in straight sets, 21-14, 21-18 at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris.

The duo became the first Malaysian pair since the pair of Cheah Soon Kit/Yap Kim Hock in 1997, to qualify for the final of the world championships.

They won the first set easily but struggled in the second as they trailed 12-16 at one stage. Though the Malaysians pulled away to 18-16, the Chinese pair drew level.
But the Malaysians were not to be denied their moment of glory as they battled to win 21-18.

“It was tough but we finally made it to the final. And now there is just one hurdle left,” said Tan who was put on drips after the win over the Koreans in the quarterfinals.

“We will do our level best to win this for Malaysia and give all Malaysians an early Merdeka cheer,” said Koo.


It was double heartbreak for Denmark at the Yonex World Badminton Championship at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris today.

Peter Hoeg Gade saw his dreams of landing the coveted title disappear when he went down to China’s sole representative in the men’s singles, Chen Jin 21-19, 8-21,

The Dane was superb in the first set and sent Chen Jin, the losing finalist in the 2009 edition, scurrying all over the court with his neat drop shots. But the long rallies would take the toll on Gade despite winning the first set 21-19.

“ He was just too good today and credit to him for winning. I was trying my lvel best but against Chen Jin one has to take his game to the next level,” said Gade.

It was all Chen Jin in the second as he romped home 21-8 and in the third the fourth seed led 10-2 at one stage before confirming his place in the final with a 21-11.

“After the defeat of my two higher ranked teammates, I knew I just had to make the final to make up for the disappointment,” said Chen Jin.

“My first aim was to make the final and I will go all out to win in order to make up for my defeat in last year’s championships.”

And Wang Lin made sure of an all-Chinese final in women’s singles when she defeated Europe’s great hope, in the likes of Tine Baun in the semifinals this morning, winning 21-11, 21-8 in 31 minutes.

The other semifinal later this evening will see Xin Wang who is the third seed battling it out with counterpart Wang Shixian for a place in the final against the seventh seeded Wang Lin.

Wang Lin was a class above Tine as she moved around the court with relative easy, retrieving all that Tine could muster and opting to let the Dane make the mistakes.

Wang, a semi-finalist at the last 2009 World Championships was in complete control of the match from the first game when she took a 10-4 lead. Tine was uncharacteristically error-prone. The back court which is a strong point for the Dane became her biggest weakness as she made wrong line judgments giving away precious points. Even her net play, normally very sound was also error-prone.

Wang’s cause was helped by the fact that Tine was carrying an elbow injury and that prevented the Dane from playing her normal game.

“I made too many judgmental mistakes and was unable to smash effectively as the elbow really hurt,” conceded Tine.

“Wang knew that I was in pain and took advantage of the situation. In order to beat the Chinese one has to be at their best so there was no way I could match her.”

As for Wang, making the final meant that she has to beat one of her teammates for the title.

“My coach (Zhang Ning) was happy after I won as she said she could now go shopping as China was assured of the women’s singles title,” said Wang.

“I went out there knowing that I could beat Tine if I play the correct game and am glad it worked out well.”

In the mixed doubles, Zheng Bo/Ma Jin qualified for the finals after defeating South Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun/Ha Eun Jung 15-21,21-11,21-16 in 72 minutes and will take on Ho Hanbin/Yu Yang in another all Chinese affair on the final day.

Ho Hanbin/Yu Yang defeated Lee Sheng Mu/Chien Yu Chin of Chinese Taipei 21-13, 21 to qualify for the final.

Despite losing the first set, the Chinese pair oozed with confidence and look good for the title with their strong defensive play, especially Ma Jin at the net.

“We were not worried after losing the first set as we knew that we could beat them and it was just a matter of getting our act together,” said Zheng Bo.

“Our confidence was further boosted with the presence of our chief coach Li Yongbo at the back of the courts and he kept encouraging us all the way besides providing us with invaluable tips.

“As for the final, really one pair has to win and the other will lose. We are prepared for such eventualities but will give it our best shot tomorrow.”


After the shock exit of top seed Lee Chong Wei, it was the turn of Lin Dan to bid farewell to the Yonex World Championships at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris.

The third seed was sent packing by unheralded Park Sung Hwan of South Korea, 21-13,21-13.

And woefully out of form, Indian hope for the world crown, Saina Nehwal crashed out as well losing to China’s Shixian Wang 8-21, 14-21. Also shown the exit was Pi Hongyan of France who lost to third seeded Wang Xin of China 21-13,21-15.

Park will now take on Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat in the semi finals and was elated with his win over Lin Dan as he showered praises over his coach Li Mao.

“I never really feared Lin Dan as he is just another player. I am still not playing my best yet and today I was playing eighty per cent of my ability,” said Park.
I prepared well for this championships so the win really did not surprise me. The preparations with my coach Li Mao really helped me identify Lin Dan's game and that helped.”
“As for Taufik, I have never beaten him and the semis will be a learning process for me and I will go onto the court, aiming to learn as much as I can about the weakness in Taufik's game and exploit it.”
Winning today has given me that extra boost but I still have another couple of matches to go before thinking of the title.”
For Lin Dan, the defeat was a bitter pill as he was hoping to land his fourth world title.
“I was too much in a hurry today and all credit to Park as he played very well indeed,” said Lin Dan.
“I was hasty and try as I did to calm down, it just was not happening. Of course I am sad but defeats are normal in badminton as you are often targeted by others.”
Second seed Peter Hoeg Gade had no problems though as he was tactically and technically superior in his demolition of Japan’s Kazushi Yamada, winning 21-19, 21-12 and will take on Chen Jin in the last four.
“This is the best chance for me to win the world title and I am not getting any younger,” said Gade.
“Chen Jin is a potential world champ and it will be very difficult against him tomorrow.”
For Saina, It was the end of a dream that had endured over three tournaments, the Indian Open, The Singapore Super Series and the Indonesia Super Series as Nehwal clinched each of these to climb to a world number two ranking raising hopes that she had the capability to clinch the World title here in Paris.
 “I knew I was struggling with my movements,” said Saina. “I did try and rotate the shots but nothing was working.”
It would have been a superhuman effort for Nehwal to comeback into the match.
At 12-16, it did seem that she might claw back but Shixian wasn’t letting any thing past her. At 14-20, Shixian played a rally and then took the match with another Nehwal error.
“She was better then me today and read me well,” said Nehwal about Shixian. “I don’t think I have played this badly in a long time.”
‘It’s very disappointing and it will take some time to come out of this defeat. I had high hopes of going further in the tournament.”
Nehwal did say that she would start training for the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. “Of course, I can’t let the defeat dwell. That’s not the way I am. I will get past the disappointment and start preparing yet again.”


Stade Coubertin is witnessing a massacre. Saina Nehwal is already back at the Ibis Hotel wondering where did she go so horribly wrong. 

Others who would be doing the same are world number one Malaysia’s Chong Wei Lei, China’s ‘Super Dan’ Lin Dan, the three times world champion and Olympic champion lost to a 13th seed from South Korea, Sung Hwang Park. 

And yesterday the women’s top seed China’s Wang Yihan was also sent packing. As Russia’s Ella Diehl said, “This stadium is a graveyard for top seeds.”

Nehwal had not witnessed the defeat of men’s top seed Chong Wei Lei on the same court, minutes before her match began against Shixian Wang. 

The Chinese sixth seed was in a hurry. Within minutes she was off to a flyer leading 5-1. Nehwal was struggling, quite clearly. Her shots didn’t have the depth; her drop shots, her main weapon, didn’t have the measure of the court; even her tosses seemed half-hearted. 

Top players playing day in day out sense the opposition’s anxiety. Shixian saw it as well. Nehwal smiled too much today. When ever she judged a line call wrong, she smiled at the line judges and pleaded with coach Gopichand. If she missed a shot, she smiled at Shixian as if saying – “It’s not my day.”

Shixian kept reeling in the points and finished the first game at 21-8. Embarrassing for a world number two!

“There was nothing I could do,” said Nehwal. “I just wasn’t moving. I rely on footwork and it seemed that I couldn’t cover the court.”

The second game was a little better. Shixian wasn’t in top form either; a sign of how badly Nehwal played today. Every champion is given an off day. But today, there were no fight backs; no sign of trying to do something different; no changing of racquets; nothing. 

If the crowds switched to watching the Lin Dan-Sung Hwan Park match, you couldn’t have faulted them. Nehwal’s first successful drop shot came at 9-14 and her first smash at 12-16 in the second game. It was like going off the blocks after the runners had already crossed the finish line. Shixian won the second game and the match at 21-14.

“Yes, I am disappointed,” she said. “I didn’t expect to play this badly. I had never played her. But then the same goes for her too. I will try and understand this defeat. But I will be back for the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.”

A dream run that started at the Indian Open, Singapore Super Series and Indonesia Super Series has finally ended in Paris.

Friday, August 27, 2010


World number one and top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia crashed out of the Yonex World Championships, losing to Indonesian Taufik Hidayat in the quarterfinals at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris.

It was an indifferent performance from Chong Wei who clearly was not his usual self, opting to play at a slow pace that suited Taufik. Perhaps the pressure of not winning the world title got to the Malaysian, who made numerous unforced errors in the

Chong Wei trailed 12-16 at one stage in the first set as Taufik showed plenty of class and was clearly making use the full length of the court. And the Indonesian went on to seal the first set 21-15. Chong Wei bounced back to take the second set 21-11 and was growing in confidence as Taufik showed signs of tiredness.

Although Chong Wei was leading 10-6 in the decider, Taufik clawed back to go into an 11-10 lead. And he never looked back to seal a berth in the semis with a 21-12 win.

In another men’s singles quarterfinals, Chen Jin defeated Hsueh Hsuan Ji of Chinese Taipei to book his place in the last four where he is likely to meet Peter Hoeg Gade.

Chen Jin was shocked by a determined Hsueh who won 24-22 despite being behind for most of the set. But he came back strongly to win the second 21-5 and went on to win the third 21-13 for his semis spot.

Top seeds in the men’s doubles, Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong also went through to the semis after a come from behind win over Lee Hong Dae/Jung Jae Sung.

Jung/Lee won the first set after an epic struggle, 25-23, with the Malaysians rallying from 18-20 to draw level but failed to capitalize despite holding serve at set point twice.

But the Malaysian were on song in the second, romping to a 21-13 win to take the match into a decider. And they went on to win the decider 21-14.

“We went in there and played our game without thinking of our past meetings against them,” said Koo in obvious reference to the eight defeats in a row at the hands of the Koreans.

“We should have been more careful in the first set but were poor in defending and we hope to make it all the way to Sunday’s final.”

The Malaysians will take on Xu Chen/Guo Zhendong of China in the semis and hold a 2-1 wins record over them.

In the women’s singles, Tine Baun of Denmark qualified for the semi finals after fending off a spirited challenge from Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Shao Chieh 21-18, 21-13.

And giant killer Eriko Hirose of Japan, who had beaten the top seed Wang Yihan in the third round, met her match in anther Chinese player, Wang Lin and lost 16-21, 17-21.

Down 8-11, Cheng changed her shoes as she had blisters on her feet that started bleeding and was limping on the court. On top of that Cheng was also affected by a thigh injury that she suffered prior to the tournament and it was aggravated in her third round match.

Though the pain was unbearable, she still showed tremendous fighting spirit as she rallied for every point, never letting the injury affect her game.

“I played on as I could still walk so there was no question of throwing in the towel for me,” said Cheng.

“I gave it all that I had but things could have been different had I not suffered from this injury.

But Tine was just too good and despite the gallant efforts of the Chinese Taipei girl, the Dane went on to win.

“I just concentrated on my game and paid no attention to the opponent as I had to play my own game and not get distracted,” said Tine.

“I was not sure of the extent of her injury as she looked fine in the rallies and so I just went on doing my usual stuff on the court.”


It took planning and perseverance for Chinese pair Zheng Bo/Ma Jin to overcome top seeds Nova Widianto/Lillyana Natsir of Indonesia in quarterfinals of the mixed doubles of the Yonex World Championship at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris.

And after the top seeds fell, it was the turn of the second seeded Thomas Laybourn/Kamilla Rytter of Denmark to bite the dust as they were sent packing by sixth seeds He Hanbin/Yu Yang of China 21-19, 21-17.

The Chinese pair, who are seeded eight, overcame all odds to beat the Indonesians 21-19,23-21 in a match that had plenty of drama and showcased badminton at its best.

They will take on South Korea’s Ko Song Hyun/Ha Jung Eun in the semifinals. The Koreans ousted the Indian pairing of V.Diju/Jwala Gutta 21-16.21-19 in another last eight clash.

But the Chinese too saw the exit of one of their more fancied pairs in the mixed doubles as Tao Jiaming/Zhang Yawen, who are the 10th seeds lost to Lee Sheng Mu/Chien Yu Chin of Chinese Taipei 14-21, 21-18, 17-21.

“We knew that we could beat them if we had a game plan and all credit to my partner Ma as she was good defensively,” said Zheng.

“We had planned for this match for quite some time and I am glad that it paid off and we look forward to the semi finals with confidence.”

For the Indonesians, they only had themselves to blame for losing as they held the upper hand early in the second set, leading 5-1 and 9-5 at one stage.

But they failed to seize the initiative and allowed the Chinese pair to surge ahead 17-15 before staging a late rally. With only one point separating them from taking the match into a decider, Nova’s serve failed to clear the net with the score 21-20 in their favour.

“We made too many mistakes and played very badly today. Our defensive play was loose and really we did not deserve to win,” conceded Nova.

Struggling with V. Diju’s sore back, the Indian mixed doubles team were no match for the Korean 12th seeds Sung Hyun Ko/Jung Eun.

It was apparent mid-way through the first game when Diju clutched his lower back that movement at the back court was painful for him. Still he managed to earn points but the errors piled on. Jwala Gutta did her bit at the net and once in a while played back court but couldn’t stem the aggression of the South Korean pair who used the smash and mid court placements to telling effect.

“It was a struggle,” said Jwala. “We knew we were in a strong position having beaten the same team before but with Diju struggling it was difficult to maintain a set momentum.”

“We knew we were the better team and it is very difficult to come to terms with this loss,” said Jwala. “Right after the match, Diju had to be rushed to the massage centre and I hope his back gets okay fast.”

Speaking on the team’s future plans, Jwala said, “Our aim is to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics and to do well there. We were very sure of a semi-final here but that’s the way sport is.”


World number one and top seed Lee Chong Wei made it through to the quarterfinals of the Yonex World Badminton Championships at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris.
He defeated Rajiv Ouseph of England 21-9, 21-9 and will take on his best friend on the world circuit, Taufik Hidayat for a place in the semis, where the winner will most likely take on Lin Dan for a spot in Sunday’s final.
Chong Wei was in cruise mode against Rajiv and was never really troubled by the Englishman in what was the last match of the day.
Taufik and Chong Wei have played 14 times with the record 9-5 in favour of the Malaysian. Chong Wei defeated Taufik at the Indonesian Open this year while the last time Taufik got the better of Chong Wei was during the 2008 French Open.
“Although we have played against each other so may times, each new match must be looked at differently,” said Chong Wei.
“We are familiar with each others style and it is not going to be easy just based on past records as this a new match.
“Honesty I do not look at who the opponent is in the next round for I have to win all my matches in order to land the title.”
Earlier Taufik Hidayat sailed into the quarterfinals with an effortless 21-8,21-14 win over Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk.
And he is looking forward to the clash against Chong Wei with renewed enthusiasm.
“I am slowly coming back to be the player I once was and against Chong Wei it will be difficult as he is in a good run of form,” said Taufik.
“But one can never tell in badminton as I have an equal chance against him. It was good that I was able to conserve energy and it will be a good match tomorrow against Chong Wei.”
South Korea’s Park Sung Hwan also made the last eight at the expense of 7th seed Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh. Park won 21-15,21-14 and will now take on Lin Dan of China, who has a 10-3 career win record over the Korean.
In the women’s singles, home favourite Pi Hongyan booked her place in the quarterfinals after coming from a set down to defeat Kim Moon Hi of South Korea 16-21,21-15, 21-14.
Hongyan will be facing an uphill task against Wang Xin of China who is the third seed here. The duo has met twice with Wang Xin triumphant on both occasions, the last being the 2009 Hong Kong Open.
Meanwhile Saina Nehwal stormed into the quarterfinals beating Russia’s 13th seed Ella Diehl in straight games 21-14, 21-18.
Nehwal controlled the match and maintained the pace throughout to win in 40 minutes.
At 18-14 in the first game, Nehwal reeled off three points in a row forced an error at the net from Diehl to win 21-14.
“I wouldn’t say that the first game was easy,” Nehwal said. “I felt better than my second round game and I did control the play. I know she would have liked to play long rallies because that’s her strength and I didn’t allow that.”
 “I think I am more comfortable with the conditions now,” said Nehwal. “It’s going to get tougher now as higher seeded players will come through but I am prepared.”
“It’s not that I haven’t played quarter-finals before but a world championship has its own pressures and I think I am used to it.”
Nehwal will now play China’s 6th seed Shixian Wang and never played against the Chinese in any championships.  
Malaysia’s doubles pair and number one seeds Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong also safely negotiated their way into the last eight when they defeated China’s Zhang Nan/Biao Chai 21-17,21-17.

They will face South Korea’s Lee Yong Dae/Jung Jae Sung and will be in for a tough time as the Koreans hold the edge in their past meetings, winning eight out their nine meetings, the most recent being at the Chinese Taipei Open last month.

The only win recorded by Koo/Tan dates back to the 2007 Macau Open, ironically the first time the two pairs crossed path.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Even though 30 minutes had passed after pulling off a major shock win over world number one Wang Yihan, Japan’s Eriko Hirose was still in a state of delusion.

The feeling of putting a dent on the Great Wall of China had yet to sink in for the petite Eriko who was grinning from ear to ear at the post match press conference.

“It is truly a memorable moment for me as this is my greatest ever achievement. You do not often beat the world number one and doing it at this level is really something I did not expect,” said Eriko.

“When I stepped onto the court to face her, all I wanted to do was give her a good fight. But as the match progressed I knew that she was vulnerable and I took my chances.

“Even after losing the first set I knew I was with a chance and just returned every shots, letting her make the mistakes.”

The 25-year-old Eriko proved that her win over Yihan during the Uber Cup Finals in Kuala Lumpur this May was not a flash in the pan as she recovered from a first set defeat to win 20-22, 21-16,21-18 in 75 minutes.

Yihan was left in tears and was shell shocked when asked for comments by Chinese TV stations.

She failed to keep her emotions in check as tears rolled down her cheeks, trying to come to terms that her World Championships was over.

“I really do not know what to say. Somehow Eriko managed to read my game to precision and countered whatever I could conjure,” said Yihan.

“ Eriko was in her best form and my game was not really up to expectations. I am sad to have lost but credit to my opponent.”

In the men’s singles though, it was plain sailing for the favourites as Peter Hoeg Gade had little difficulty overcoming the challenge of Marc Zwiebler, winning 21-14,21-15.

Despite just 16 hours between his second round three set thriller against South Korea’s Shon last night, Gade was in his element and will now take on Japan’s Kazushi Yamada in the last eight.

“I had to play intelligently and not let Marc seize the initiative as I had yet to recover from the match last night,” said Gade.

“I have not played Yamada but from what I have observed he is full of energy and can surprise if I let my guard down.”

Gade also dispelled the notion that the bottom half of the draw was favourable to him given that most seeded players had lost.

“That’s an opinion of others and I do not think that is correct as players who are in these championships have a certain level. And if they progress, then it is because they are the better players on that day.”

Also moving into the quarterfinals was the invincible Lin Dan of China who brushed aside the challenge of his countryman Bao Chunlai, winning 21-16, 21-13 in 42 minutes.

Joining Lin Dan and Gade was fourth seed Chen Jin who defeated Singapore’s Ashton Chen 21-17,21-10.

But it was curtains for ninth seed Boonsak Polsana of Thailand who lost to Chinese Taipeh’s Hsueh Hsuan Yi 21-13, 21-11.

In the last eight Hsueh will play Chen Jin while Peter Gade takes on Yamada.


They were starring at an exit at one stage of their third round match but Indonesian mixed doubles pair of Nova Widianto/Lillyana Natsir got their act together to make it into the quarterfinals of the Yonex World Championships at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris.

The top seeds had to dig deep into their reserves before overcoming Korean pair Yoo Yeon Seung/Kim Min Jung 21-17,13-21.21-19. They will take on China’s Zheng Bo/Ma Jin in the last eight tomorrow.

The Chinese pair, seeded eight, had booked their place in the quarterfinals be defeating 14th seeds Sudket Prapakamol/S. Thoungthongkam 21-19.21-15.

“It was a wake up call for us as the Korean pair played really well and we were lucky to come off the court winners,” said Lillyana.

“Their attacking play caught us off guard and in the third set it was our composure that helped us overcome them.

“As for the quarterfinals, the Chinese are a very experienced pair and we have to thread carefully. We have to improve our performance and plan the match carefully.”

Despite losing the first game, the Indian mixed doubles team of V. Diju and Jwala Gutta, came back strongly to beat Singapore’s Chayut Triyachart and Lei Yao 14-21, 21-18, 21-14 to qualify.
Quarter-finalists at the last World Cup, Diju and Gutta will now face the 12th seeds, South Korea’s Sung Hyun Ko and Jung Eun Ha for a place in the semi-finals.
The Korean pair had shocked the fifth seeds Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen of Denmark winning 21-13,13-21,21-19.
“I don’t think we were at the top of our game,” said Diju. “Too many mistakes and it’s only later that we managed to piece our game together.”
“I think a day’s gap made us complacent,” said Gutta. “But we will be ready for the Korean pair. We would do our best to clinch a semi-final spot at the World Championships.”
The Indians had only recently beaten the Korean pair in the Singapore Open Super Series 23-21, 21-16.
In the women’s singles, Denmark’s Tine Baun had to stave off a fighting Petya Nedelcheva of Bulgaria to register a 21-19,23-21 to move into the last eight.

But Tine, who is seeded fourth, was not too happy with her performance, saying that she lacked the confidence on the court.

“The arms and legs were willing but somehow the mind was deserting me throughout the game,” said Tine.

“To be honest I lack the self belief that I can go all the way and this is something I need to overcome.

“Hence I intend to work on regaining my focus and go out there tomorrow with renewed vigor, and work towards progressing further in the tournament.”

In the men’s singles, unseeded Kazushi Yamada was the first to book a place in the last eight when he defeated Dicky Palyama of Netherlands 14-21,21-19,21-11.


BAM General Manager Kenny Goh met the Malaysian media after a hastily convened PC by the BWF. And alongside him was the BWF Deputy President Paisan Rangsikitpho.

The PC was targeted towards correcting some reports in the Malaysian media with regards to the cold war between BWF and BAM on the issue of the re-location of the BWF office in Kuala Lumpur and the non selection of Malaysian Open as a Premier Series event.
It resembled a poorly written drama, directed by the "senior government officer" as indicated by The Malay Mail on Wednesday.

Imagine this, within 24 hours of the report being published, BAM are now backtracking that they were to voice their displeasure on not getting the Premier Series and also that upon completion of the World Championships, BAM will identify a suitable office for BWF and this senior government officer will ensure that BWF are comfortable.

Presto, all is well and nothing was said about the role played by Datuk Razali Ibrahim, the Deputy Sports Minister, who ironically was the reason why this matter was resolved diplomatically and did not take the direction of an SMS sent that issued an ultimatum.

What baffled all present was that suddenly all is well, with fake smiles all around. 

I posed two questions, what is the win-win situation that BAM was talking about with regards to them not being awarded the Premier Series and also why did it take 8 months to decide the request by BWF on the re-location of their office from the mosquito infested Stadium KLBA to a more suitable venue?

You really do not want to know the answer to those questions - well I will still tell you.

Firstly Malaysia has no chance whatsoever given the current regulations on Premier Series to be included until 2014. But wait, Paisan did say that there could be changes to the rule though.

And on the office, well, both agreed that its was water under the bridge.

So who is this senior government officer then who seems to be all powerful?


They don’t come any bigger then this. And that was what Rajiv Ouseph felt after defeating Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen in the second round of the Yonex World Championship at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium this afternoon.

Rajiv, coached by Denmark’s former great Kenneth Jonassen, triumphed 21-12,25-23 in a pulsating 34-minute clash that had the spectators at the edge of their seats.

Jorgenson was the second seeded men’s singles player to crash out today after Japan’s Kenichi Tago, seeded 12, was sent crashing out by Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, 22-20,21-19. And he was followed by Malaysia’s Wong Choon Hann, seeded 16, lost to Kazushi Yamada, 21-17,16-21,18-21.

Two Indonesian players who were seeded, Sony Dwi Kuncoro (6) and Simon Santoso (8) are also out due to injuries, while Chetan Anand of India who was the 14th seed lost to Ashton Chen of Singapore in the first round.

World number one Lee Chong Wei had earlier defeated fellow Malaysian Mohd Hafiz Hashim 21-16,21-16 to move into the third round.

Bao Chunlai of China defeated David Snider of Canada and will play against Lin Dan in the third round. Though Chunlai knows he has a tough task ahead, he remained confident.

“It will be an interesting match as we have played against each other both at the international and domestic level,” said Chunlai.

“Of course Lin Dan is the favourite but I intend to make him earn each point as I too harbour hopes of landing the coveted world title.”

Coming back to giantkiller Rajiv with regards to his third round clash with World number one, Lee Chong Wei, Rajiv said that he was looking forward to the match.

The duo have met twice before with the record at 2-0 in favour of the Malaysian, with the last win being recorded in the Malaysian Open in January this year.

“The pressure is on Chong Wei to win so really I am just going out there and enjoy myself tomorrow,” said Rajiv.

“No Malaysian has won the world title and Chong Wei carries the hope of the entire nation, so I wish him the best as I intend to go for a win.

For Chong Wei, defeating Hafiz, who was his roommate, was not as easy as the score suggested. This was the eight meeting between the two Malaysians at international level and with the win Chong Wei extended the winning margin to 6-2.

“We have played each other so many times and it’s always difficult when one of us has to lose,” said Chong Wei.

“We have shared rooms together and it will not be any different tonight as Hafiz helps me out in reading opponents as well. We exchange notes and hopefully his input will help me progress further.”

But the spectators in the stadium were awaiting the home favourite, Pi Hongyan to take the centre stage.

And she did not disappoint as she turned on her class to romp home 21-8, 21-8 winner over Elena Prus of Ukraine.

Hongyan, who won the bronze at the World Championships in Hyderabad, will now take on Kim Hi Moon of South Korea in the third round.

“To be honest even I am affected by the humid conditions in the venue and I think it will not be easy for all players,” said Hongyan.

“It will take getting used to but I am sure with the home crowd backing me, I will be able to lift my game no matter what the playing conditions are like.

“It will be more technical from the players aspect as we need to plan our strategy well in these conditions. But it’s the same for all so we just have to get used to it.”

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Taufik Hidayat was on the brink of exit before recovering to book his place in the third round of the Yonex World Championships at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris today.

He was not the only player who struggled in the morning session as in the women’s singles, Saina Nehwal of India also needed three sets to subdue Chinese Taipei’s Chen Hsiao Huan, winning 20-22,21-15,21-8 in 47 minutes.

“It was not easy getting into gear as the last I played on this courts was on Sunday. So the three day wait was bound to affect me in some ways,” said Saina.

“All due respect to my opponent though who made me work hard for the win.”

The Indonesian, who is the number five seed dug into his reserves to overcome a tenacious Hsieh Yu Hsin of Chinese Taipei 19-21, 21-19,21-9. And the fact that he was the sole Indonesian left in the fray, following Simon Santoso’s decision to pull out of the second round due to a lower back injury, added more pressure on Taufik to deliver.

Taufik was left trailing 16-20 in the first set and though he staged a late rally to reduce the deficit to 19-20, he sent the shuttle out on the baseline to hand the first set to Hsieh.

And he was on the verge of exit as Hsieh fought back from 16-19 to draw level, but a line call in favour of Taufik assured the match went into a decider. And Taufik had no difficulty in the third.

“Although it is my second match here, I still have problem getting adjusted to the court conditions,” said Taufik.

“But I was never worried as I knew I could win. Now I have to prepare for the next match and recover fast.

Chinese ace Lin Dan though had no such problems as he carved out a 21-13,21-15 win over Finland’s Henri Hurskainen. He will most likely play against his counterpart Bao Chunlai who is expected to overcome the challenge of David Snider in a later match.

Lin Dan and Bao Chunlai have met 23 times in the past with Lin Dan winning 18 of the encounters.

“We both know each others game and it will be close,” said Lin Dan on his anticipated clash against Chunlai.

“It was a good workout for me today and I am looking towards the later stages of the tournament with renewed confidence.”

Also booking his place in the third round on the men’s singles was Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh who defeated Raul Must of Estonia, 21-14,21-10 in 42 minutes.

Nguyen will take on either South Korea’s Park Sung Hwan or Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov in the third round.

“ I have beaten him before but that means nothing now. It is the result of our match tomorrow that matters,” said Nguyen.

“ It will be close no doubt, but my target is to make the last eight and you can expect me to run for every shot.

Nguyen is also looking at a good outing in the Asian Games after his first round exit in Doha four years ago where he was beaten by Simon Santoso.

“ Making the quarterfinals here will no doubt give me the added confidence going into the Asian Games this November.”


Chen Jin labored to a 21-14,21-14 win over Lang Ville of Finland in the first round of the YONEX-BWF World Championships match on Tuesday.

But that did not stop him from targeting the title here in Paris as he feels that he has what it takes to win the title.

And not only is the fourth seed contended with that, for his aim is to replace Lin Dan as the Chinese number one player in the near future.

“Some may feel that the draw is a bit easier in the bottom half as there is no Lee Chong Wei or Lin Dan to overcome to make the final,” said Chen Jin.

“But these days every player must be treated with respect and hence I intend to take it a match at a time in this tournament.

“I have set a target to win the title here in Paris and to achieve that I have to be in my best form.”

On his desire to achieve the number one status in China, Chen Jin said,” Of course I want to be the top player in China. And contrary to what some may think that I have to wait till Lin Dan retires, I intend to work my way towards that target now.”

And talking of respecting other players, India’s Chetan Anand learnt that lesson in a bitter way when he was sent packing by Singapore’s Ashton Chen Ong Zhao in the first round.

The 14th seeded Indian had no answer to Ashton’s strong baseline play and succumbed to a 21-14,21-18 defeat in 37 minutes.

For Ashton, the win was indeed sweet as he was left pinching himself to see if he was dreaming.

“This is the first time I have beaten a seeded player in any world level competition and it is indeed a memorable moment for me,” said Ashton, who completed his two-year National Service in Singapore in July.

“Not only does this boost my confidence here but also gives me a psychological edge for the Commonwealth Games this October.”

Also making it to the second round was eight-seeded Simon Santoso of Indonesia who defeated Poland’s Wacha Przemyslaw 21-11,21-17 in 33 minutes.

Simon was unperturbed on the pressure for him to deliver in the World Championships following the withdrawal of Sony Dwi Kuncoro due to an injury.

“There is really no pressure as I will play my game and take each match as it comes. It’s unfortunate that Sony is not around but we still have Taufik (Hidayat) to count on,” said Simon who made his national team debut in the 2004 Thomas Cup in Jakarta.

“The road to the title is long and arduous and the task is not easy with the playing conditions as there is an unpredictable draft.”

Simon made the last eight in Hyderabad last year and is looking to improve that achievement with a place in the semi finals as his target this time around.

Meanwhile, Boonsak Polsana of Thailand also moved into the second round with an effortless 21-6,21-6 win over Vladmir Malkov of Russia in 24 minutes.


Peter Hoeg Gade will focus on his opponents one at a time as he tries to land the coveted world title at the World Championships in Paris.

The number two seed had a stroll in the humid conditions, defeating Darval Paiola of Brazil with relative ease, winning 21-10.21-7 in just 23 minutes.

Gade was in his usual confident self on the court and cut out the frills in his businesslike approach to win the match.

And although buoyed by the fact that Sony Dwi Kuncoro is one less hurdle, following the Indonesian’s withdrawal due to injury, the cool Dane however preferred to be conservative when asked if his chances of landing the title were good.

“No doubt the bottom half looks open but there are other good players that can pose a lot of problems,” said Gade.

“It will be foolhardy to think that I will breeze through. Hence I rather be cautious then be overconfident.”

Top seed Wang Yihan of China opened her campaign with a 21-12,21-19 win over Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasentsuk in just 33 minutes.

Wang was in her element in the first set but let her guard down in the second. However she did enough to win in two sets and looked sharp when in control.

In the men’s doubles, Singpore’s Hendri Kurniawan Saputra/Hendra Wijaya set ninth seeds Alven Chandra Yullianto and Hendra Aprida Gunawan paking with a 21-15,21-15 scoreline.

With the defeat of the Indonesians, three seeds in the men’s doubles have already been sent packing as Malaysia’s Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah and USA’s Tony Gunawan/Howard Bach were first round casualties on Monday.

Singapore’s fairytale continued as their mixed doubles pair stepped onto the court to register another major upset.

Chayut Triyachart and Lei Yao defeated the third seeds Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zieba of Poland who had won two Super Series events in their career, 21-13,16-21,21-14.

The Singaporeans will take on India’s crack team of V. Diju and Jwala Gutta stormed into the third round beating Malaysia’s Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh 21-19, 21.

After their hard fought three game win over England’s Chris Adcock and Gabriella White on the opening day, the win over the Malaysian pair was like a walk in the park.

Even though the score line did seem as if the Indians enjoyed court supremacy, Diju felt it was a hard fought win. “We were leading in the first game before they turned the momentum and led with a three point lead before we kind of steadied ourselves,” said a highly relieved Diju.