DENMARK OPEN 2010 Preview – High Hopes for home nation

“Der er et yndigt land”, the national anthem of Denmark means roughly “There is a lovely land”.  A lovely land indeed for anyone who enjoys badminton. The Scandinavian country is […]

“Der er et yndigt land”, the national anthem of Denmark means roughly “There is a lovely land”.  A lovely land indeed for anyone who enjoys badminton. The Scandinavian country is one of the powerhouses in the international badminton scene and the Danish players definitely will have their chances to secure some titles in front of their home crowd.

By Elm Vandevorst.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

Home favourites may have a unique chance to shine in their own event: the , scheduled just days before the Asian Games – Asia’s most important sport event after the Olympics – will see the absence of some of the best Asians, amongst which Lin Dan, Bao Chunlai, Chen Jin, Lee Chong Wei and others. A blessing in disguise, when one considers the opportunity it grants the local boys.

To begin with living legend Peter Gade (Photo), who has already won the title here three times. After only reaching the quarters here last year, Gade is ready to add a fourth victory to his record. In his first round he’ll meet Wong Wing Ki, a repetition of their first round match at the Japan Super Series last month. The Dane won that one in about half an hour and he should be able to do that again. Taufik Hidayat will probably be his main adversary. The runner-up at the latest World Championships impressed at the Indonesia Grand Prix last week eliminating the toughest Chinese entry along with three compatriots, including Dionysius Rumbaka in the final.

Other Asian opposition has to come from Boonsak Ponsana and Kenichi Tago. Or is Marc Zwiebler again the dark horse of his Asian rivals? Entering the tournament as an unseeded player last year, the German shuttler caused an upset by getting rid of amongst others Chen Long, Wong Choong Hann and Sony Dwi Kuncoro. Only Simon Santoso was able to find an answer for Zwiebler’s intense style of play in last year’s final.

The Danes have off course some other cards up their sleeve, one of them being Tine Baun. Baun won her second All England title this year after a great match against defending champion Wang Yihan (photo) and the two might meet again in the final. Wang has to start with a match against Jeanine Cicognini, Baun will find a tough opponent in Porntip Buranaprasertsuk.  She’s one of the very gifted Thai teenagers who might dominate the women’s singles in a few year and was also the runner-up at the World Juniors in 2009. There are more rivals in the field with veterans Pi Hongyan and Yao Jie, Japanese Eriko Hirose and reigning Asian Champion Li Xuerui.

If the Danes aren’t able to dominate the singles, they still have many chances left in the doubles, for example in the mixed doubles, with former World Champions Thomas Laybourn / Kamilla Rytter Juhl and title holders Joachim Fisher Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen, who are all geared up to keep the title at their fatherland. The latter, if all goes according to plan, have to get rid of Poles Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zieba (photo) in the semi-final just as they did last year. The last title favourites are Indonesians Hendra Gunawan and Vita Marissa, who had a bad rehearsal on home soil, where brought to a halt by their compatriots Markis Kido/Lita Nurlita at the quarter-finals last week.

More possibilities for the “Danish Dynamite” in the women’s doubles with no fewer than thirteen pairs representing the Scandinavian powerhouse. Nevertheless, the title favourites are coming from the other side of the world, Japan. While the Chinese women ignored the Denmark Open, the Land of the Rising Sun sends their two top seeded twosomes to Europe: Miyuki Maeda / Satoko Suetsuna and Mizuki Fujii / Reika Kakiiwa. A Hallowe’en all-Japanese final on Sunday, October 31st is an option, although also the Bulgarian/Russian combo Nedelcheva/Russkikh should be able to improve on their best result at a Super Series event so far.

Powerhouses Indonesia and Denmark have fought many battles in the past at World Championships, Uber Cups and Thomas Cups. This year’s men’s doubles might supply some epic encounters, for example Markis Kido / Hendra Setiawan against Mads Conrad-Petersen / Jonas Rasmussen in the quarter-final or Alvent Yulianto Chandra / Hendra Gunawan  vs. Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen on the other side of the draw. It’s up to all other participants to prevent this from happening.  Boe/Mogensen actually have a slim chance of sneaking into the top spot on the world rankings with Koo/Tan training for Guangzhou rather than defend their title from last year but the Danes would need titles in both Denmark and France to do it.

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About Elm Vandevorst