GERMAN OPEN 2011 QF – Shaky day for seeded shuttlers

To have their final rehearsal before the All England, the majority of the top players decided to go (or stay) in Europe. The German Open is for them the perfect […]

To have their final rehearsal before the All England, the majority of the top players decided to go (or stay) in Europe. The is for them the perfect opportunity to test themselves, and why not, win a Gold event.  Unfortunately for the spectators, several of the seeded players can travel down to Birmingham as they’re already out of the tournament.

By Elm Vandevorst. Photos: Sven Heise (live from Mulheim)

A full-size slaughter in the women’s singles. With only first seeded Juliane Schenk and Korea Grand Prix titleholder Liu Xin remaining as favourites. The two had to decide who was up for a semi-final against Korean Sung Ji Hyun. It will become an Asian encounter, as Liu eliminated Schenk 21-16, 21-17.

In the other All-Asian semi, Japanese Ayane Kurihara is up against Malaysian Wong Mew Choo. Kurihara surprisingly overcome her compatriot Ai Goto in two short sets 21-11, 21-7. Also Wong had no problems beating her opponent, Russian Anastasia Prokopenko, 21-11, 21-9.

Far more consistency is to be found in the men’s singles draw with the four top seeded players ready to battle it out in the semi-finals. Hot favourite Lin Dan runs into Boonsak Ponsana. Their last encounter dates back to the Asian Games, with the Thai going down in straights games. In the other semi, second seeded Chen Jin will be up against Park Sung Hwan. The latter holds a good record against his Chinese rival and can prevent an all-Chinese clash, assuming Lin Dan overcomes Ponsana as expected.

A rather unusual match programmed in the mixed doubles, with an all-British bout between Robert Blair / Gabrielle White and Chris Adcock / Imogen Bankier. Both Anglo-Scottish twosomes know each other very well. Blair and Bankier reached the final last year, but were forced to retire due to a back injury for Blair. The latter used to play together with his opponent in the men’s doubles but decided to return to his homeland last year, after representing England for eight years. In the other semi-final, Thailand’s Songphon Anugritayawon / Kunchala Voravichitchaikul stand in front of Japanese pair Shintaro Ikeda and Reiko Shiota.

A duel between living legends is on the men’s doubles schedule:  Koo Kien Keat (photo) and Tan Boon Heong  can take revenge for their loss against Jung Jae Sung / Lee Yong Dae at the Korean Open a month ago, where  the Koreans fell a game behind in front of their home crowd but won the remaining two without further ado. Their Malaysian rivals are the only non-Korean duo left, as top pair Ko Sung Hyun and Yoo Yeon Seong with meet their compatriots Kim Ki Jung / Kim Sa Rang. The latter pair came out of the qualifications and are on a five-match winning streak.

Also the women’s doubles are controlled by the Asians, although not by ultimate powerhouse China. The Chinese women decided not to come to Germany, giving other pairings the chance to take command. In the two upcoming semis, Korea and Japan have to decide who will live up to that role. Both Japanese seem to be in pole position, being the fifth and seventh seeds. Seventh seeded twosome Shizuka Matsuo and Mami Naito took the wind out their compatriots’ sails in the quarter-final, getting rid of top seeds Miyuki Maeda / Satoko Suetsuna (photo) 21-19, 21-12. If they first overcome Ha Jung Eun / Kim Min Jung, they might bump into Mizuki Fujii / Reika Kakiiwa in the final on Sunday.

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