Two Titles From China: "Good Job, INA!"

Indonesia claimed mixed and men's doubles titles in China Open Super Series 2007. Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir became the champions of mixed doubles after defeating Thailand's Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam in the final. The Thais saved the first game by 15-21. In the second game, despite of the hard fight displayed by the Thais, Nova/Lilyana managed to grab the game. In the decider, Nova/Lilyana crushed the Thai pair by 21-11.

Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan grabbed their first ever Super Series title. Markis/Hendra won over a home pair, Guo Zhengdong/Xie Zhongbo, by 21-12, 21-19. The match featured some controversies in line judging and fault which gave advantage to the Chinese pair.

The home crowd still have something to cheer for as Bao Chunlai and Gao Ling/Zhao Tingting secured two titles in men's singles and women's doubles, respectively. Bao beat Malaysia's favorite, Lee Chong Wei, 21-12, 21-13. Gao/Zhao beat their younger compatriots, Yu Yang/Du Jing, 17-21, 21-15, and 21-8.

The host  was given a shock when Xie Xingfang, the world's number one, lost to Malaysia's Wong Mew Choo in the event which Chinese players usually dominate. Wong won by 21-16, 8-21, and 21-17. The Malaysian beat two China's top players en route to final.

Next stop: Hong Kong Open Super Series 2007.

China Open Super Series 2007: Semifinals

Indonesia's Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir advanced to the semifinals of mixed doubles event after beating their compatriots, Flandy Limpele/Vita Marissa, 14-21, 21-13, and 21-7. Indonesia's hope is still alive in the tournament as its pair, Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan, beat Jen's Eriksen/Martin Lungaard Hansen of Denmark in the quarterfinals. Kido/Setiawan book the ticket for semifinals after beating the Danes, 18-21, 21-16, and 21-16. Sony Dwi Kuncoro, Indonesia's current highest ranked player, was shown the exit by Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei, 10-21, 21-19, and 14-21. According to an Indonesia team official, Kuncoro made too many unforced errors in the decider. It prevented him from repeating his success in the 2007 world championships in Kuala Lumpur, in which he beat the Malaysian in the second round and created the biggest dissappointment for the home crowd at the time. Indonesia's last hope in the women's doubles event, Lilyana Natsir/Vita Marissa, was defeated by a home pair, Pan Pan/Tian Qing, 11-21, 21-23.

Semifinals line ups:

Mixed doubles:
Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir (INA) vs Nathan Robertson/Gail Emms
Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam (THA) vs Xie Zhongbo/Zhang Yawen (CHN)

Men's Doubles:
Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan (INA) vs Fang Chieh Min/Lee Sheng Mu (TPE)
Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah (MAS) vs Guo Zhengdong/Xie Zhongbo (CHN)

Men's Singles:
Bao Chunlai (CHN) vs Park Sung Hwan (KOR)
Chen Jin (CHN) vs Lee Chong Wei (MAS)

Women's Doubles:
Zhang Yawen/Wei Yili (CHN) vs Du Jing/Yu Yang (CHN)
Gao Ling/Zhao Tingting (CHN) vs Pan Pan/Tian Qing (CHN)

Women's Singles:
Wong Mew Choo (MAS) vs Zhang Ning (CHN)
Xie Xingfang (CHN) vs Lu Lan (CHN) 


Yonex Open Japan Super Series 2007: The Finals

Indonesia couldn't save a title in Japan as its three representatives lost in the finals. In the mixed doubles final, Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir lost to China's Zheng Bo/Gao Ling, 19-21, 14-21. The Chinese pair was the pair that Widianto/Natsir beat in the finals of world championships last month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Luluk Hadiyanto/Alvent Yulianto, Indonesia's second men's doubles pair, lost to their former teammates in Pelatnas (Indonesia's training center), Candra Wijaya/Tony Gunawan (INA/USA), 18-21, 17-21.

Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia beat Taufik Hidayat in a very close match which ended 22-20, 19-21, 21-19. In the decider, the Malaysian led by 20-14 before Taufik closed the gap by gaining 5 points in a row, and made it 20-19. Lee got his one last point needed and won over olympic and former world champion, Taufik Hidayat. The Malaysian made up for his fans' disappointment over his failure in the world championships in which he had lost to Indonesia's Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the second round.

China was given a shock when Xie Xingfang lost to Denmark's Tine Rasmussen in straight game, 21-15, 21-17. The Dane was eliminating three Chinese players, Jiang Yanjiao (Asian champion), Zhang Ning (world's number one), and Lu Lan (seventh seed) en route to final. The women's singles event is dominated by Chinese players, only a few of women players could break the domination.

The women's doubles final features an all chinese final. Yang Wei/Zhang Jiewen crushed Zhao Tingting/Yu yang, 21-17, 21-5, to clich the title.


Zhang out, Taufik Through

The quarterfinals of Yonex Open Japan Super Series 2007 are still full of suprises. Zhang Ning (CHN), the first seed in the women's singles event, was shown the exit by Tine Rasmussen (DEN). The Chinese bowed out after playing for 49 minutes in a close match which ended 13-21, 21-16, 18-21. Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia outplayed Park Sung Hwan of South Korea, and booked one ticket in the semifinals. Lin Dan (CHN), the world's number one, defeated Peter Gade (DEN), and advance to the semifinals. Malaysia's only survivor in the tournament, Lee Chong Wei, beat China's Chen Jin quite easily. The Malaysian won 21-7, 21-16.

Indonesia's Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir are through to the semifinals of mixed doubles after beating Thailand's Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam, 13-21, 21-14, 21-18. However, Flandy Limpele/Vita Marissa failed to handle Han Sang Hoon/Lee Hyo Jung of South Korea. The Koreans won 21-13, 17-21, 19-21. The first seeds in the event, Zheng Bo/Gao Ling (CHN) beat Anthony Clark/Donna Kellogg (ENG), and ensured one spot in tomorrow's semifinals.


Yonex Open Japan Super Series 2007: Quarterfinals

So many upsets and suprises happened in the second round. Men's doubles' first and second seeds are out. Fu Haifeng/Cai Yun (CHN) lost to Lars Paske/Jonas Rasmussen (DEN), and Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boong Heong (MAS) lost to Indonesia's Luluk Hadiyanto/Alvent Yulianto. Malaysia's veterans, Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah, were stunned by Hendra Wijaya/Hendri Saputra (SIN), while Denmark veterans, Jens Eriksen/Martin Lundgaard Hansen, were defeated by a home pair, Shuichi Sakamoto/Shintaro Ikeda.

In the men's singles event, Chen Yu (CHN) and Kenneth Jonassen (DEN), who seeded seventh and eighth were also shown the exits by Chan Yan Kit (HKG) and Park sung Hwan, respectively. Indonesia still keeps its hope alive in this event after Taufik Hidayat and Simon Santoso advanced to the quarterfinals. Hidayat outplayed Malaysia's Yeoh Kay Bin, and Santoso beat Thailand's number one, Boonsak Ponsana. The Thai has played magnificently in the second round by beating the second seed, Bao Chunlai (CHN). Taufik will play Park Sung Hwan (KOR) and Simon will take on Chan Yan Kit (HKG) in the quarterfinals. Should they win, they will face each other in the semifinals.

Indonesia's last survivor in the women's singles event, Maria Kristin Yulianti, ended her journey after losing to South Korea's Jun Jae Youn. The first and second seeds are through to the quarterfinals. Zhang Ning and Xie Xingfang , both from China, will play Tine Rasmussen (DEN) and Pi Hongyan (FRA), respectively. 

Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir, the newly crowned world champions, are through to the quarterfinals. The Indonesians will face Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam (THA). Flandy Limpele/Vita Marissa, Indonesia's number second pair, will play Han Sang Hoon/Lee Hyo Jung (KOR). The first seeds, Zheng Bo/Gao Ling (CHN) will play the fifth seeds, Anthony Clark/Donna Kellogg (ENG).

Indonesia's hope in the women's doubles ended when Lilyana Natsir/Vita Marissa lost to the second seeds Gao Ling/Huang Sui (CHN) in a thrilling three-game match. The Chinese pair secured the first game, and the Indonesians took the second. In the decider, despite of leading 18-13, the Indonesians failed to maintain the lead and lost 19-21.



Indonesia Open Super Series 2007: The Host's Nightmare

Indonesia failed to secure even one title in the tournament. Malaysia and Hongkong prevented China from clean-sweeping. Malaysian player, Lee Chong Wei, defeated China's Bao Chunlai in the final. Lee won in straight game, 21-15, 21-16. While Hongkong player, Wang Chen, grabbed the title of women's singles after thrashing Zhu Lin of China by 21-14, 21-13. The three other titles belong to China. Du Jing/Yu Yang beat their compatriot Zhao Tingting/Yang Wei in the final of women's doubles. The world's number one, Fu Haifeng/Cai Yun, had to sweat before securing the title of men's doubles. Fu/Cai got a hard fight against newly paired, Mohd Zakry/Mohd Fairuzzizuan, of Malaysia. The Malaysian pair went down by 21-17, 22-20. Zheng Bo/Gao Ling, China's rising mixed doubles pair, humiliated Indonesian pair, Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir. Widianto/Natsir lost 21-16, 21-11.

Indonesian players bad results:
Mixed Doubles:
Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir lost to Zheng Bo/Gao Ling (CHN).

Men's Singles
Taufik Hidayat lost to Bao Chunlai (CHN).

Women's Singles:
Maria Kristin Yulianti lost to Petya Nedeltcheva (BUL).
Men's Singles:
Sony Dwi Kuncoro lost to Taufik Hidayat.
Men's Doubles:
Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan lost to Koo Kean Kiet/Tan Boong Heong (MAS).

There are still more players who lost in the earlier rounds. Indonesia needs to be worried especially for the upcoming Sudirman Cup in June. Indonesia, as the fifth seeds, is in the same group with Denmark (the second seeds), Korea (the third seeds), and Hongkong (the eighth seeds).

Group 1 A
China (the first seeds)
Malaysia (the fourth seeds)
Thailand (the sixth seeds)
Inggris (the seventh seeds)

Group 1B

The Sudirman Cup will be held at Scotstoun International Sports Arena in Glasgow, Scotland, from June 11-17. The winners of Group 1A will face the runners-up in Group 1B and the winners of Group 1B will face the runners-up in Group 1A in the semi-finals. Hopefully, Indonesian players can do better, much better than in this year's Indonesia Open.


Aviva Open Singapore Super Series 2007: Finals

Boonsak Ponsana (THA)
beat Chen Yu (CHN) 21-17, 21-14.
Zhang Ning (CHN) beat Xie Xingfang (CHN) 21-18, 19-21, and 21-3.
Fu Haifeng/Cai Yun (CHN) beat Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah (MAS) 16-21, 24-22, and 21-18.
Zhang Yawen/Wei Yili (CHN) beat Zhao Tingting/Yang Wei (CHN) 10-21, 21-19, and 21-18.
Flandy Limpele/Vita Marissa (INA) beat Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam (THA) 21-14, 21-13.

Limpele/Marissa grabbed Indonesia's first Super Series 2007 title. Ponsana's victory over Chen sends a message to the world of Badminton that China's domination in the men's singles can be shaken. Before defeating Chen in the final, the Thai player beat Lin Dan, the world's number one, from China in the quarterfinals. Zhang, who is 32, once again proves that she is still competitive enough against younger players. It's making sense why Chinese national training camp still keeps her in the squad. Choong/Lee was so close from victory, but they fell down 21-18 in the decider. NO comment on the women's doubles final.


Aviva Open Singapore Super Series 2007: Semifinals Results

Mixed Doubles
Flandy Limpele/Vita Marissa (INA) beat Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir (INA) 21-16, 16-21, 21-17.
Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam (THA) beat Xie Zhongbo/Zhang Yawen (CHN) 16-21, 22-20, 21-18.

The first and second seeds are out. Limpele/Marissa are the only hope for Indonesia to grab a title in this tournament. The Thai pair really improved a lot, by beating the world's strongest pairs en route to the final. FYI, Thailand placed two representatives in the finals. Thank's to Boonsak Ponsana's impressive play.

Men's Doubles
Fu Haifeng/Cai Yun (CHN) beat Tony Gunawan/Candra Wijaya (USA/INA) 18-21, 23-21, 21-11.
Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah (MAS) beat Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan (INA) 21-18, 21-13.

The semifinals in this event featured youth vs experience affairs. In the first semifinal match, the youth managed to overcome the experience. However, in the other semifinal match, the experience were too strong for the youth. Indonesia failed to secure one ticket in the final.

Women's Doubles
Zhao Tingting/Yang Wei (CHN) beat Gao Ling/Zhang Jiewen (CHN) walkover.
Zhang Yawen/Wei Yili (CHN) beat Lee Kyung Won/Lee Hyo Jung (KOR) 21-12, 21-12.

All Chinese final in the women's doubles event.

Men's Singles
Chen Yu (CHN) beat Peter Gade (DEN) 21-15, 23-25, 21-17.
Boonsak Ponsana (THA) beat Ronald Susilo (SIN) 21-13, 21-15.

It's quite surprising to see Ponsana in the final. Thailand creates a big success in this tournament by securing two spots in the finals. Gade failed to repeat his success in Singapore last year, in which he clinched the title.

Women's Singles
Xie Xingfang (CHN) beat Xui Huaiwen (CHN) 21-10, 21-4.
Zhang Ning (CHN) beat Eriko HIrose (JPN) 21-11, 21-12.

The first and second seeds are through to the final. More all-Chinese final.

Prediction (predicted winners in bold):

Flandy Limpele/Vita Marissa (INA) vs Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam (THA). Limpele/Marissa will prevail.

Fu Haifeng/Cai Yun (CHN) vs Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah (MAS). The Chinese pair should win.

Zhao Tingting/Yang Wei (CHN) vs Zhang Yawen/Wei Yili (CHN). Zhao/Yang should win since they get one-day break caused by the withdrawal of Gao/Zhang in the semifinals.

Chen Yu (CHN) vs Boonsak Ponsana (THA). The Chinese should prevail.

Xie Xingfang (CHN) vs Zhang Ning (CHN). Xie will take it!

Next Stop:
Djarum Indonesia Open Super Series 2007.


Aviva Open Singapore Super Series 2007: Semifinals

Mixed Doubles
Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir (INA) vs Flandy Limpele/Vita Marissa (INA)
Xie Zhongbo/Zhang Yawen (CHN) vs Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam (THA)

Women's Doubles
Zhao Tingting/Yang Wei (CHN) vs Gao Ling/Zhang Jiewen (CHN)
Zhang Yawen/Wei Yili (CHN) vs Lee Hyo Jung/Lee Kyung Won (KOR)

Women's Singles
Xie Xingfang (CHN) vs Xu Huaiwen (GER)
Zhang Ning (CHN) vs Eriko Hirose (JPN)

Men's Singles
Peter Gade (DEN) vs Chen Yu (CHN)
Ronald Susilo (SIN) vs Boonsak Ponsana (CHN)

Men's Doubles
Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan (INA) vs Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah (MAS)
Fu Haifeng/Cai Yun (CHN) vs Tony Gunawan/Candra Wijaya (USA/INA)

Prediction (predicted winners in bold)

Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir vs Flandy Limpele/Vita Marissa. It's hard to predict which pair will qualify to the finals. My feeling says it's Nova/Lilyana, I think they're on a good mood to win their first title this year. Especially after they outclassed Zheng Bo/Gao Ling (CHN) in the quarterfinals.

Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan (INA) vs Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah (MAS). Youth vs Xperience. I expect the youth will prevail.

Xie Zhongbo/Zhang Yawen (CHN) vs Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam (THA). Xie/Zhang will prevail but there's still a chance for an upset.

Fu Haifeng/Cai Yun (CHN) vs Tony Gunawan/Candra Wijaya (USA/INA). It's difficult to predict but I think the Chinese pair will through to the finals.

Peter Gade (DEN) vs Chen Yu (CHN). The Dane to win. Gade faced a fierce fight in the quarterfinals against his countryman, Kenneth Jonassen. The winning gives him a boost to repeat his success last year in Singapore.

Ronald Susilo (SIN) vs Boonsak Ponsana (THA). These two players really give us a surprise. Nobody expected (well, at least I did not) they would go this far. Susilo beat Indonesia's Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the second round, and Ponsana upset the first seed, Lin Dan (CHN), in the quarterfinals. The Singaporean will prevail.

Xie Xingfang (CHN) vs Xu Huaiwen (GER). Xie will prevail.

Zhang Ning (CHN) vs Eriko Hirose (JPN). Great achievment by the cute Japanese, but I think her journey ends here. Zhang is too strong for Hirose.

As usual, China vs Korea affair in the women's doubles. It's easy to predict, China will clinch the title.

Indonesia ensured one spot in the final of mixed doubles event, and still keeps its hope alive in the men's doubles semifinals through Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan.


Indonesia Open 2007: The Draws

Indonesia Open 2007 (May 8 - May 13, 2007)

Men's Singles:
Lin Dan (CHN), the first seed, will play John Moody (NZL) in the first round, and is expected to play the fifth seed, Lee Chong Wei (MAS), in the quarterfinals. The other Chinese player who seeded second, Bao Chunlai, also has a managable first round match against Yeoh Kay Bin (MAS). Bao's first tough match could be in the quarterfinals, where he probably will play Peter Gade (DEN).
Three Indonesian shuttlers in the main draw have tough draws. Taufik Hidayat (INA)  will play the third seed, Chen Jin (CHN), in the first round. Sony Dwi Kuncoro (INA) will face the sixth seed, Chen Yu (CHN), and Simon Santoso (INA) will play Muhammad Hafiz Hashim (MAS).

Women's Singles:
As usual, women's singles event is dominated by Chinese players. Four Chinese shuttlers are placed as the top four seeds. Xie Xingfang (1st seed) will play Wong Mew Choo (MAS) in the first round, Zhang Ning (2nd seed) will take on Yu Hirayama (JPN), Zhu Lin (3rd seed) will play a qualifier (could be Indonesia's Adrianti Firdasari), Lu Lan (4th seed) will play Huang Chia Chi (AUS). The only Indonesian player who directly places a spot in the main draw, Maria Kristin Yulianti, will play Susan Hughes (SCO) in the first round, with a possible encounter against Lu Lan in the second round. 

Men's Doubles:
Fu Haifeng/Cai Yun (CHN), the first seeds, have a winable first round match against Simon Mollyhus/Anders Kristiansen (DEN). The second seeds, Jens Eriksen/Martin Lundgaard Hansen (DEN), will play Kristof Hopp/Inge Kindervater (GER) in the first round. The Danes have a relatively friendly draw, but the trouble could be in the quarterfinals where they will probably face Jung Jae Sung/Lee Jae Jin (KOR).
Luluk Hadiyanto/Alvent Yulianto (INA) have a winable first match against Matthew Hughes/Martyn Lewis (WAL). If Luluk/Alvent could make it to the second round, they will probably have to face the winners of Asian Badminton Championships, Lee Wan Wah/Choong Tan Fook (MAS). Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan (INA) will play Hendri Kurniawan Saputra/Hendra Wijaya (SIN) in the first round. Hendra A Gunawan/Joko Riyadi (INA) will play a qualifier pair in the first round, and Rian Sukmawan/Eng Hian (INA) will play Albertus Njoto Susanto/Yohan Hadikusumo Wiratama (HKG).

Mixed Doubles:
Indonesia's strongest pair, Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir (1st seeds), will play their fellow Indonesians, Muhammad Rizal/Gresyia Polii, in the first round. Too bad for Indonesia because their players must meet in such early round. The second seeds, Xie Zhongbo/Zhang Yawen (CHN), will play a Polish pair, Robert Mateusiak/Nadiezda Kostiuczyk, in the first round. Flandy Limpele/Vita Marissa (INA) have a tricky first round match against Lee Jae Jin/Lee Hyo Jung (KOR). Another Indonesian pair, Lingga Lie/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari, will take on a Singaporean pair, Hendra Wijaya/Jiang Yanmei, in the first round.