SWISS OPEN 2012 R16 – Sad day for Europe

Only 5 of 16 European representatives managed to get to the quarter-finals of the Yonex Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold.  But the Swiss crowd still was still able to see […]

swo12-img_0638-chen-jorgensen_rotatorOnly 5 of 16 European representatives managed to get to the quarter-finals of the Yonex Gold.  But the Swiss crowd still was still able to see a lot of very nice matches.   China lost two top seeds but still remain top contenders in all five events.

By Michaela Bencova, live from Basel.  Photos: Sven Heise (live)

Women’s doubles is no longer the domain of by long, boring matches with long, high-clearing rallies.  China Bao Yixin / Zhong Qianxin were just a little bit better than their opponents from Korea, Eom Hye Won and Jang Ye Na in attack and defence.  The two pairs pushed each other to the limit, setting the tournament record with their interesting, 91 minute-long match.

An interesting, almost warlike, atmosphere could be seen in the all-British mixed doubles match-up between Nathan Robertson / Jenny Walwork and Chris Adcock / Imogen Bankier.  Almost from the beginning we could see that there was some animosity there and this meant a lot of pressure for everybody on court.

The pairs are fighting, of course, for the same spot in the Olympics.  With both pairs well out of the world’s top eight, only one of them can represent Britain in London this summer and the 4000-point gap in ranking points could have been almost surmounted by a Grand Prix Gold title.  But they were fighting not only by playing badminton – there were also discussions about the shuttle (if one side wanted to change it, the other not), advising to service judge to call the service faults on the opponent or advising the umpire to show their opponent a yellow card etc.  But all four players finally managed to get through the match without receiving any cards and it was the younger pair Adcock/Bankier who could start to celebrate their victory after a long match that ended 19-21, 21-11, 25-23 – especially the end of the match was very exciting.

Men’s doubles is often the odd event out, in featuring pairs from of a lot of different countries.  From 3 European representatives in the Swiss Open second round, none of them are now left in the tournament.  The biggest chance, in fact, belonged to the Austrian pair Jurgen Koch / Peter Zauner.  Under the big support from the crowd, the Austrians managed to push the match to 3 games with the German Open champions from China Hong Wei / Shen Ye (pictured right).  However, finally it was Chinese who were celebrating after the victory 20-22, 21-11, 21-15.

Actually Hong/Shen are the only Chinese men’s doubles pair left in tournament.  A big surprise was the result of top-seeded pair Chai Biao / Guo Zhendong with Malaysian qualifiers Goh V Shem / Teo Kok Siang.  Malaysian tiny pair with the Chinese muscular Goliaths were amazing in their defence, movement around the court, net shots, dives –  they were simply amazing in everything they showed on court.  The hall was rather full and according to reaction of spectators, it was really good game.  We could hear the crowd breathing.  Malaysians sent Chinese pair to pack after 21-17, 21-18.  It is difficult not to mention all men’s doubles because they were all very interesting and kept spectators in the hall till midnight.

Nor were Goh/Teo the only Malaysians to reach the last eight.  Liew Daren (pictured left) will become the next challenger to take on China’s Chen Jin, who is again poised to overtake Peter Gade and himself become an Olympic qualifier.  Liew needed three games to get past Portugal’s Pedro Martins while Chen Jin played only the second of his six matches against Danish ace Jan Jorgensen (pictured top) to finish in only two.

Taufik Hidayat’s run of form continues as he prevailed over China’s Du Pengyu and their current rankings now makes this an upset.  Meanwhile, Jorgensen’s two compatriots Axelsen and Vittinghus make the quarter-finals and both face top ten opponents on Friday.

Women’s singles saw a third withdrawal of a top star.  After men’s singles earlier lost Lee Chong Wei and Peter Gade, Wang Yihan ceded her quarter-final berth to Minatsu Mitani of Japan.  Jiang Yanjiao also left without a shot, leaving Sung Ji Hyun to join compatriot Bae Youn Joo in the quarter-finals.  Juliane Schenk (pictuerd right) is once again the lone European to survive, having come through her match with Japan’s Eriko Hirose in three.

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