World champion Chen Jin crashes out to Marc Zwiebler; Peter Gade thwarts Tago
Birmingham: Title contender Saina Nehwal stormed into the quarterfinals of the All England Badminton Championships with a straight-set victory over her Chinese Taipei opponent in Birmingham. Saina, seeded fifth in the prestigious tournament, beat unseeded Tzu Ying Tai 21-17 21-17 in a second round match that lasted 30 minutes.
The day saw the surprise exit of world champion Chen Jin, who fell to Marc Zwiebler of Germany 21-18, 22-20.
In the quarterfinals, Saina will meet Eriko Hirose of Japan who beat Salakjit Ponsana of Thailand 21-13 18-21 21-13 in another round two match last night.
Saina now remained the only Indian shuttler left in the tournament as all her compatriots have already crashed out.
In the mixed doubles, V Diju and Jwala Gutta lost to fifth seeded Chinese pair of Tao Jiaming and Qing Tian 11-21 12-21 in a round two match.
In the women’s doubles also, Indian duo of Gutta and Ashiwni Ponnappa suffered heartbreak as they lost to Denmark’s Line Damkjaer Kruse and Marie Roepke 17-21 21-19 21-18 in a hard-fought second round match that lasted 53 minutes.
In the men’s doubles, Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas lost to eighth seeded Indonesian pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Bona Septano 16-21 16-21 in the second round.
Saina has it easy:
Saina dominated her rival at the nets and in smashes and in both the sets she was the one who made the final flourish after a stiff contest.
The first set saw neck-on-neck tussle between the two as they were 8-8 and then 14-14. But after that, Saina won five consecutive points to race to 19-14 before taking the set.
In the second set also, there was a stiff fight from the Chinese Taipei player and the two were locked 17-17 before Saina took four consecutive points to wrap up the match.
In men’s singles, P Kashyap, Anand Pawar and Ajay Jayaram had already crashed out of the tournament in the first round.
Chen Jin falls:
World badminton champion Chen Jin became the second major casualty to fall at the All England Championships on Thursday.
Chen, who reached the pinnacle of badminton with victory over Taufik Hidayat in Paris seven months ago, was all at sea against unseeded German Marc Zwiebler and crashed to a 21-18, 22-20 defeat.
Incredibly, the Chinese world number six was leading 18-11 in the second game before falling apart against Zwiebler, who advances to a meeting with Kazushi Yamada in the quarterfinals. Yamada sensationally ousted Hidayat from the tournament on Wednesday.
There were no such troubles for third seed Lin Dan, a four-time champion in England, who easily accounted for Indonesia’s Dionysius Rumbaka 21-11, 21-17.
Top seed Lee Chong Wei rolled into the round of eight with a 21-16, 21-16 win over Bao Chunlai, while fourth-seeded Dane Peter Hoeg Gade thrashed Kenichi Tago 21-9, 22-20.
In other men’s results, fifth seed Chen Long walked through to the quarterfinals after Tanongsak Saesomboonsuk withdrew, seventh seed Tien Minh Nguyen overcame Du Pengyu 21-18, 21-15 and eighth seed Boonsak Ponsana defeated Lee Hyun-Il 22-20, 21-12.
Bae Youn-joo was the only seed to tumble in the women’s matches, the eighth seed losing 21-16, 12-21, 21-15 to Gu Juan.
Top seed Wang Shixian walked over Liu Xin, third seed Wang Xin benefited from Li Xuerui’s withdrawal, sixth seed Jiang Yanjiao overcame Lu Lan 21-11, 15-21, 21-17 and seventh seed Juliane Schenk crushed Cheng Shao-chieh 21-13, 21-14.
Peter Gade thwarts young gun:
Peter Gade, the 34-year-old former All-England Open champion, superbly defied the years, the aches and the pains to reach the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Gade saved four successive, crucially important game points to win 21-9, 22-20 against Kenichi Tago, the dangerously improving young Japanese player who caused a sensation by reaching last year’s final.
It meant that Gade both conserved precious energy and found his physical condition is not as bad as he feared, having entered the tournament carrying right knee and left foot injuries.
“I came into the All-England a bit insecure about my game, so I am pretty pleased with this,” Gade said. “I have a lot of respect for him as he is one of the stars of the future. I like that very much. At the same time I know his weaknesses, and that with discipline and variation and playing at speed, he can be made to make bad decisions. He did that a lot in the second game, but played a very good second game and it was close. It was important to finish the match off as I came into the tournament a bit insecure about where my game was.”
This was also crucial given that Gade’s next opponent, fifth-seeded Chinese Chen Long, is likely to feel fresher since he received a walk-over into the quarter-finals from Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, who has a bad back.
Gade played the six points from 16-20 in the second game magnificently. He played tight to the net, lifted accurately down the backhand side, reacted quickly with blocks from the mid-court, attacked steadily only when openings emerged, and made no mistakes.
It was a great combination of discipline and vision, supplemented by a comfortable tactical flexibility and enduringly quick movement.
Earlier, an angry Lee Chong Wei walked out without talking to journalists after receiving the shortest of warnings of his impending second round match.
The defending champion from Malaysia only had an hour’s notice of his 1000GMT match with China’s Bao Chunlai, and had to hurry from his hotel and compete without proper preparation.
These upsetting preliminaries made it all the more creditable that Lee achieved a 21-16, 21-16 victory over the dangerous Bao, who was within one point of reaching last year’s final.
But there was a payback when Lee brushed past waiting media after the match, prompting a statement from an All-England spokesman, who defended the harrassed champion’s hasty retreat.
“In the circumstances we quite understand why he was not able to fulfill his obligations,” said the spokesman. “But we will be reminding him what is necessary to do to help the tournament.”
There was also a hint of controversy when both the all-Chinese women’s singles failed to materialise. Top-seeded Wang Shixian was given a walk-over by her team mate Liu Xin, who complained of a fungal big toe.
Then Wang Xin, the third-seeded world runner-up, was also allowed to pass into the third round without wasting any energy.
This time her opponent was Li Xuerui, who is ranked seven places below her colleague, and in this instance the ailment was described as a bad back.
Jiang Yanjiao and Lu Lan did, however, decide on court who was to progress to the quarterfinals, with Jiang prevailing 21-11, 15-21, 21-17.