2017 Sudirman Cup Day 8 - Final

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Final: KOREA beat CHINA 3-2

The might and potential of Korea's new men's doubles formation Seo Seung Jae / Choi Solgyu was neutralised by China's Zhang Nan and Fu Haifeng, 21-14, 21-15, in the latter's last international match before retirement.

Both sides had mid-court smash opportunities but it was Zhang Nan who was able to end rallies from that position. The Chinese defence of the Rio Olympic gold medallists was impenetrable. Being superior in all departments indicated early on the conclusion to come.

Sung Ji Hyun, making in her fifth appearance in women's singles for Korea, was far more at ease on court than China's He Bingjiao debuting in the final. Ji Hyun's textbook strokes contrasted with Bingjiao's lovely slice technique on shuttles. The Chinese struggled to find the foot speed to run down net shots and also constructed play with a pace too constant and lower than the other aggressive players the Korean met earlier in the week. Hence, Sung comfortably took the match 21-12, 21-16.

In men's singles, the reigning Olympic and World Champion Chen Long encountered last year's Australian SuperSeries runner-up Jeon Hyeok Jin. 

Jeon participated in long patient rallies and was holding ground fine when defending early smashes but any shuttles less than three quarter court were dealt with swiftly by Chen Long. Chen's jump smash angle produced unbelievably inch perfection to the line winners. The world #41 Korean ran out of creativity in the second game when attempted tighter net shots that failed to go across, giving a second tie point to the defending champions China, 21-10, 21-10.

In women's doubles, there technically wasn't an upset when world #3 All England champions Chang Ye Na / Lee So Hee beat world #4 Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan, 21-19, 21-13. But it was in terms of psychological advantage and pride because the Koreans exacted revenge for six consecutive losses to this Chinese pair in 2016. The familiarity among the ladies was apparent with the Koreans wary of Jia's lethal left handed smash and Chen anticipating Chang movements at the net area.

Mixed doubles, already exciting for being the tie decider, got off to a blistering start when Korea's Chae Yoo Jung / Choi Solgyu instigated thick and fast drive shot battles. Choi's solid limbs were built for this particular style. No strangers to playing opponents who start on a high, Huang Yaqiong / Lu Kai drew level at in the first game after the interval. The Koreans remained relentless with Choi noticing Lu's racquet position made a smart choice on game point to hit a drive at head level instead of down. Next was an easy put away and one game up, 21-17.

Both sides were in great form and any errors were largely forced ones. 13-8 in the second game was the best rally of the match: Huang was tested in her defence by Chae and Choi in tandem. In the midst of the onslaught, Lu amazingly picked up an almost sure net shot but, even luckier for Korea, the rally ended when Choi's smash hit the net cord and rolled over.

Up 15-10 in the second plus one game under his belt gave Choi Solgyu the adrenelin for milisecond faster reactions than the Chinese. Sensing the unbelievable at 19-12, the Korean coaches held their heads in their hands.

Chae/Choi's 21-13 taking of the second game in mixed doubles gave Korea the tie and their fourth Sudirman Cup triumph 14 years after the previous occasion in the Netherlands. Korea are the 2017 Sudirman Cup champions at the Gold Coast.

2017 Sudirman Cup Day 7 - Evening

Group 1 Semi-finals

CHINA beat JAPAN: 3-2

The line up order started with the discipline China's is currently strongest in and Japan is weakest in but it still went the full distance.

In the mixed doubles, Arisa Higashino / Yuta Watanabe set a challenge for the world #1 Chen Qingchen / Zheng Siwei to catch up to Japan being one game up 21-12. Chen only warmed up by 6-6 in the second game and then the Chinese rattled off four points with the panache and self-congratulations at every digit's increase.

Fortunately, Japan had controlled their unforced error rate before going into the rubber to be able to give spectators four players in both pairs at their optimum.

Japan's composure from the first game returned and they were just that little bit more inspired and won the match of the night, 21-12, 14-21, 21-19. Yuta Watanabe felt the pressure of winning from being ahead and tossed two of their five points lead. He regained his composure after snapping his strings to daringly pull off the perfect return of short serve that was too awkward for Zheng Siwei to return.

The mixed doubles win already betters Japan's last Sudirman Cup tie outing result against China which was in the Dongguan 2015 final.

Badminton's greatest-of-all-time and current world #9 Lin Dan leveled the tie at one a piece, 21-19, 21-16. In their first ever encounter, Lin was simultaneously impressed and unprepared for how good Kenta Nishimoto turned out to be at retrieving his signature cross court smashes. Nishimoto must have honed this newfound ability through playing the other living legend Lee Chong Wei yesterday.

Lin and Nishimoto exchanged leads multiple times because it was often only a point difference for three quarters of both games. Being one game up, Lin judged it was worth the risk to go for more accurate shots judiciously within the rallies and it paid off by finishing the match without heading into a rubber.

The men's doubles between two world top 5 pairs started off with neither Japan nor China being able to get on a roll in the score in the first game. Kamura wasn't converting net kills easily as it was difficult to intercept such fast and hard hitting. The Japanese reached game point first and the Chinese snatched it away by forcing the agenda.

In the second game, the Japanese weren't too tired but playing the style they wanted to after so many intense rallies with little headway had lessened their hitting power. They were already using up more strength than usual to stay level against two 6 foot Chinese and understandably faded. The higher ranked Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen beat Keigo Sonoda / Takeshi Kamura 23-21, 21-16.

Japan's women's singles world #3 Akane Yamaguchi played smartly against the 6 foot tall Sun Yu of China. Yamaguchi kept short clears to a minimum so as not to give away the odd free point. She made her mark in the longer rallies with dropshots that surprised her Chinese opponent as well as the entire stadium watching on. The most amazing rally was winning ahead 17-15, where the 5' 1” tall Japanese had to run down a net shot from the rear backhand corner and still have sufficient energy for an extended exchange which she won in the end without looking puffed out.

In the second game, Yamaguchi proactively hunted Sun Yu's straight smash to cross it back completely out of range. The gap after the interval was widened as Yamaguchi produced lovely angled smashes of her own to win 21-17, 21-15.

Women's doubles decided the tie in favour of China 3-2 over Japan under the most dramatic of circumstances. The umpire faulted the Japanese for touching the net in the process of saving a desperate shuttle which then brought up match point for China, 20-19, in the rubber. (If there hadn't been a fault it would have been deuce for Japan as part of their diligent comeback.)

Japan's world #1 and China's world #4 met for the first time since December last year. The younger Chinese Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan beat Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi again, this time 21-12, 21-19.

In the first game, the Japanese weren't allowed to install their usual plan and when the opportunity to do so at seven game points down, Matsutomo hit an easy front court kill into the net. Prior to that, Takahashi's timing failed miserably, particularly on defence. Swapping sides produced better timing on Japanese shots but their comeback was foiled in the last moments.

China shall meet Korea in tomorrow's 2017 Sudirman Cup / World Team Championships final.

2017 Sudirman Cup Day 7 - Afternoon

Group 1 Semi-finals

KOREA beat THAILAND: 3-1

Thailand couldn't exceed their previous best in Sudirman Cup. Today Korea as they did back in 2013 at Kuala Lumpur stopped Thailand at the semi-finals and repeated the tie outcome too, 3-1.

Thailand made an ideal start with a hot performance through casting Sapsiree Taerattanachai / Dechapol Puavaranukroh in mixed doubles. The world #9 Thais made world #14 Chae Yoo Jung / Choi Solgyu look ordinary to the tune of 21-16, 21-12.

Dechapol Puavaranukroh's stamp was all over this match. His supreme court coverage from side to side on several points maneouvered both Koreans into submission, sometimes ending with a dazzling leap on dropshots.

Korea again relied upon their men's singles world #1, twenty-nine year old Son Wan Ho, to make matters in the tie even again. It took 80 minutes, almost twice the length of any other, to defeat World #62 Suppanyu Avihingsanon 18-21, 21-10, 21-17. The taller Thai was solid in all departments. Son had to execute winners in order to catch up and beat Avihingsanon.

Son halted his and Avihingsanon's neck to neck rubber game scoreline at 17-17 by daring to hit accurate close to the line straight smashes.

Nobody could have predicted how men's doubles would go. Koreans Choi Solgyu / Seo Seung Jae in only their second international appearance together supplied the second tie point, 21-13, 21-16, over an even greener partnership, Dechapol Puavaranukroh / Bodin Isara in their first outing.

Puavaranukroh was unable to recapture the spirit of his opening rendition. The young Thai committed multiple unforced errors on kills at the net his team had set up.

Left handed Seo Seung Jae displayed flair in cross shots from both sides, typically dropping from the forehand side and smashing deadly off-forehands as he traversed the court.

In women's singles, world #4 Sung Ji Hyun won in straight games over 2013 World Champion Ratchanok Intanon for a third time since December, 21-13, 21-17. Sung had also defeated Intanon at Thailand's previous Sudirman semi-final.

Sung took advantage of Intanon's uncharacteristically short clears. Intanon produced lovely strokes and angles on them for which she is known but her aim was frequently wide this afternoon.

2017 Sudirman Cup Day 6 - Evening

Group 2 Finals

VIETNAM vs SINGAPORE: 3-1

Vietnam upset second seeds Singapore to top Group 2 and place 13th out of 27 countries at this year's Sudirman Cup.

Do Tuan Duc / Pham Nhu Thao won the critical opening mixed doubles over Crystal Wong Jia Ying / Danny Bawa Chrisnanta 21-18, 23-21. Do had confidence to fully commit to his return of Wong's short serves and produced instant winners. Sensing the occasion at the tail end of game two, Do/Pham doubled their pace for the first time which worked a treat.

Terry Hee Yong Kai finished undefeated in men's doubles in Group 2 with a fourth win score of 21-12, 21-16. Singapore fielding the combined experience of a former top 10 and current top 20 mixed specialists in Hee/Chrisnanta was too great for Do Tuan Duc / Pham Hong Nam to handle.

Singapore's Ryan Ng Zin Wei was second youngster this week who wasn't phased by former top 10 star and 2010 Australian Open winner Nguyen Tien Minh. Nguyen was five points behind at the first game point but in chasing back to win it 25-23 snapped the spirit and sapped the strength of Ng. The second game came more easily for Vietnam, 21-9.

In women's singles, Grace Chua Hui Zhen found herself no match for Vu Thi Trang who had disposed of former world #14 Kirsty Gilmour in the previous tie. Vu added one more straight games victory this week to her mantle, 21-11, 21-11.

AUSTRALIA vs CANADA: 3-2

Australia rescued 15th place overall from 2-1 down in the tie and also 1 game down in men's doubles.

The matches featuring Sawan Serasinghe and Setyana Mapasa delivered the three points needed to win the tie and prevent an upset by Canada.

Together with Setyana Mapasa, Serasinghe brought down Josephine Wu / Nyl Yakura 21-13, 21-16, with a mixture of shots that split the Canadians apart frequently and forced Yakura to traverse a great deal of court. The Canadians attempted to prey on Mapasa but she stood her ground and defended admirably, sometimes showing off unexpected round-the-back strokes.

Australia's men both being all round doubles specialists marginally let slip the first game 20-22 but reeled back the next two 21-19, 21-18, against Jason Ho-Shue / Nyl Yakura. Ho-Shue snapping a string at a bad juncture allowed Australia to pull ahead three points very near the end. Chau's smash hitting the tape of the net on match point threw off the timing of Canada and dealt the death blow.

World #24 Setyana Mapasa / Gronya Somerville dropped their unbroken streak of straight games wins but kept their unbeaten record to take their fourth victory in the tournament, 21-12, 13-21, 21-17 over Rachel Honderich / Michelle Li of Canada. In fact, tonight's women's doubles contained three reigning Canada Open winners (Li in singles and Mapasa/Somerville in doubles.)

Honderich/Li were content to consistently play deep and high whereas the Australians used changes of pace throughout especially with Mapasa's mixed doubles skills showing up in her creative net play. Li displayed glimpses of her former top 20 doubles pedigree (circa London 2012 Olympic Games) through her calm defence composure but this alone wasn't enough to break the very practiced Australian partnership in the first game. The second game was Canada's because Li began finding opportunities to claim the forecourt. In response, Mapasa had energy in reserve to really unleash power smashes.

Canada ruled over the singles categories. Wendy Chen of Australia dictated play in much of the second game but 2012 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Michelle Li was able to reach most of the shuttles to win 21-19, 21-17. Jason Ho-Shue shone as the week grew and defeated Canberran Anthony Joe 21-17, 21-5.

2017 Sudirman Cup Day 6 - Afternoon

Group 1 Quarter-finals

JAPAN vs MALAYSIA: 4-1

For the second time in two days, Malaysia lost its vital men's doubles match when the same four personnel came to blows. Japan's Takeshi Kamura / Keigo Sonoda are exceedingly good at starting at their optimum so any uninspired opponents or fluctuations in form are easily found out.

World #6 Goh V Shem / Tan Wee Kiong knew the correct plan but weren't able to continue procuring elevated shuttles from the Japanese enough times to win the third game too, coming off 17-21, 21-16, 11-21.

In women's singles, three time SuperSeries winner Nozomi Okuhara dispatched Soniia Cheah 21-11, 21-9. Japan's world #61 Kenta Nishimoto lasted longer than his 15-21, 13-21 score suggests. It went on for 45 minutes because Nishimoto managed to address most of the signature forehand off-cross court smashes unlike recent opponents of the three times Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei.

The heavy lifting left for Malaysia's women's doubles Vivian Hoo / Woon Khe Wei was too much to bear. World #1 and Rio Olympic champions Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi are clearly peaking at the right time as no matter who took the helm of the fore or rear court they still remained in absolute command, 21-7, 21-14.

CHINA vs INDIA: 3-0

India's Ashwini Ponnappa / Satwicksairaj Rankireddy had stunned all their opponents at this Sudirman Cup by taking at least one game and their effect on mixed doubles world #2 Huang Yaqiong / Lu Kai was no different.

The Chinese pair attained superiority whenever Lu Kai made inroads into the front mid-court either to take charge entirely or get side by side as this positioning gave him clear striking range to test Ponnappa's smash returns. The greater number of slower thoughtful rallies in the second and third games also suited the Chinese who ultimately triumphed 16-21, 21-13, 21-16, in a match that India had levered major hopes on.

Both Rio Olympic men's singles and doubles champions representing China dismissed their opposition in straight games. India's former world #3 Srikanth Kidambi has to wait for another day to register his first victory over Chen Long as their fifth meeting turned out 16-21, 17-21.

In only their fourth international match together so far this year, Zhang Nan / Fu Haifeng were still too experienced to be troubled by the burgeoning talents of five-times International Challenge winning teenagers Chirag Shetty / Satwicksairaj Rankireddy. China's ticket into the semi-finals to meet Japan was bought by their men's doubles triumph, 21-9, 21-11.

2017 Sudirman Cup Day 5 - Evening

Group 1 Quarter-Finals

DENMARK vs THAILAND

Losing the men's doubles meant playing all five matches would decide the tie between Thailand and Denmark. The Rio Olympic silver medallists failed to deliver a crucial tie point at the end of the night.

It wasn't an upset in terms of world rankings when men's doubles #8 Mads Conrad-Petersen / Mads Pieler Kolding pipped Nipitphon Phuangphuapet / Bodin Isara to the post 15-21, 21-18, 21-16 nor considering that the Danes were 1-0 up in their head to head going into the match. But Thailand would chalk it down in their estimation as one due to belief there is talent and distinctiveness in their top pair.

The sting in Isara's smash was used up by the rubber game interval and without it a two points gap grew to six and then literally out of reach of the smash of Kolding, the tallest currently in badminton at slightly over 2 metres.

There were no surprises in the singles categories, both were sealed in straight games. Viktor Axelsen captured the men's category through many untouchable sharp half smashes and dropshots which left the opponent flat footed. Thailand's 2013 World Champion Ratchanok Intanon made Line Kjaersfeldt twist and turn to cover the all corners of the court.

In women's doubles, the Danish world #2 Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl, who did so well against a never before seen Indonesian pairing yesterday, couldn't find comfort dealing with the same sort of tactical move by Thailand. Having practiced their new partnership against the Chinese world #5s, Jongkolphan Kititharakul / Sapsiree Taerattanachai were a tighter fit this time around and error free. The Danes needed to earn every point off their opponents but weren't able to do it enough times.

CHINESE TAIPEI vs KOREA

Chinese Taipei and Korea each fielded different men's doubles pairings a night later and swapped victories through Choi Solgyu / Seo Seung Jae, 21-16, 14-21, 21-17. In the pool match the men's pairs possessed contrasting styles while in the quarter-finals it was like playing like.

All four singles personnel and the names of the winners stayed the same. World #1 Tai Tzu Ying beat Sung Ji Hyun 21-14, 26-24, in the women's. The vibe in the men's was electric as Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei was possessed of deeper self belief this time. Three consecutive amazing net shots of his lead to match point. The situation was only salvaged for Korea by Hawkeye overturning a line call on the rear perimeter. New world #1 Son Wan Ho remained poised and won the remaining points and the match against Chou, making it twice in consecutive nights.

Korea took the tie 4-1 when All England champions Chang Ye Na / Lee So Hee defeated Wu Ti Jing / Hsu Ya Ching, 21-13, 21-18. Chinese Taipei never got to use the mixed doubles of Lee Chia Tsin / Wang Chi-Lin who sent their country into the quarter-finals.

2017 Sudirman Cup Day 5 - Afternoon

Group 2B: Singapore top their group to match Vietnam's achievement in 2A

Host nation Australia met a higher seed in their last pool tie and found out how their earlier opponents must have felt afterwards. Nonetheless, they can be proud of hard fought leads in several games of the four matches they conceded.

Doubles

Australia's Setyana Mapasa / Sawan Serasinghe sprinted towards the first interval against world #18 Tan Wei Han / Terry Hee Yong Kai in the mixed doubles. Thereafter, the potency of Hee's smash and drive shots cut a wedge in his opponent's defences. Australia reacted with a change in game plan as they ought to but hesitation in the execution was perilous and Singapore triumphed, 21-16, 21-6.

In men's doubles, Australia's Matthew Chau / Sawan Serasinghe put forward a studious performance against the scratch pairing of former mixed world #9 Danny Bawa Chrisnanta with current mixed #18 Terry Hee Yong Kai, to earn 14-21, 21-23. The Singaporeans whose individual credentials also includes higher men's doubles world rankings than the Aussies.

Australia's opponents were cautious at the same time as clearly used to the pressure of higher speeds so their baseline capabilities eventually saw them through the deuce situation. All this goes to show that the locals are close to graduating to the next level were they to play frequently at this standard.

In a reversal of fortunes, the Setyana Mapasa / Gronya Somerville who have been ranked inside the world's top 20 this year struck too many shuttles for Ong Ren-Ne / Crystal Wong Jia Ying to get a racquet and won women's doubles, 21-11, 21-15. Pace, delicacy and lack of unforced errors were displayed by the Aussies. After the match, their joy at fulfilling a goal of taking it in straight games was obvious. 

Singles

Singapore's Ryan Ng Zin Rei outlasted Ashwant Gobinathan in men's singles, 21-16, 21-14. Gobinathan had sufficient fitness and strength with the difference between them coming down to his tactical awareness of how to manage the tail end of the longer rallies. Singapore also took women's singles in similar fashion, 21-11, 21-17, through Yeo Jia Min.

“The shuttle here is pretty slow. I am usually much more of an aggressive player so today I was patient and didn't rush my shots. I've seen him (Ashwant) play before and (knew that) he's is a good player”, remarked Ng. 

2017 Sudirman Cup Day 4 - Evening

Group 1D: Denmark fall down eventually

In mixed doubles, Debby Susanto / Praveen Jordan of Indonesia were too inspired to handle for the Danes Christinna Pedersen / Joachim Fischer Nielsen, 21-12, 21-13. It wasn't for want of effort, Fischer Nielsen was simply caught in a jam by shuttles his opponents kept hitting at his body. Susanto served and intercepted net play exceptionally to set up those situations.

The full house was sent into a frenzy when one game down in the men's singles Anthony Ginting clawed back to win it 13-21, 21-17, 21-14. The hallmark of the amazing comeback was anticipating what appeared to be the Dane's sure kills at the net and the composed racquet skills to keep the rally going.

In men's doubles, the world #1 Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo / Marcus Fernaldi Gideon lost to the world #2 Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen, 16-21, 24-22, 23-21. The Indonesian's second consecutive defeat to the pair that ended their three SuperSeries winning streak may well have been averted as it their flamboyant choice of shots was a double edge sword that caused them to lead as well as fail to cross the finish line because gamesmanship was involved.

Fitriani repaid Denmark by dealing a consecutive three games defeat to Mia Blichfeldt 22-24, 21-15, 21-14. Blichfeldt was on the receiving end of more than a few smashes she had to dive for.

Former world #2 Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu were tossed together to deal a pair of Rio Olympic silver medallists. Although this never before seen Indonesian combination possessed a natural chemistry, the Danes Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl felt out the situation quickly. In the first game Rahayu was being forced deep in court to elicit loose exploitable defence.

Indonesia had solved this problem just before conceding the first game score so they continued this momentum till the end of the second game. Rahayu made a concerted effort to defend deep henceforth if she wasn't able to hit downwards which now made the valuable player.

Polii's easy run of errors in tandem with Rytter Juhl's forced power play gave Denmark a five points buffer from which Indonesia could not ultimately recover, 18-21, 21-13, 13-21.

International badminton stars enjoy a slice of iconic beach culture in Gold Coast today while in town for the 2017 Total BWF Sudirman Cup

Some of the world’s best badminton players took in a slice of Australian beach culture on the Gold Coast today, soaking up the sunshine on iconic beautiful Surfers Paradise beach.

Players included:

  • Jonatan Christie (Indonesia & World Ranked #28 Men’s Doubles)
  • PV Sindhu (India & World Ranked (#4 Women’s Singles)
  • Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi (Japan & World Ranked #1 Women’s Doubles team)
  • Zheng Siwei (China & World Ranked #48 Men’s Doubles team)
  • Chen Qingchen (China & World Ranked #5 Women’s Doubles)
  • Sung Ji Hyun (Korea & World Ranked #5 Women’s Singles)
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Also joining them was Australian surf lifesaver and Ironwoman Kirsty Higgison, who is a patrolling member of the Surfers Paradise SLSC, and dual Australian Olympic swimmer and 2018 Commonwealth Games athlete Cameron McEvoy.

China's badminton young gun Shi Yuqi climbs SkyPoint while in Gold Coast for the 2017 Total BWF Sudirman Cup

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Badminton champion SHI Yuqi (China), who is on the Gold Coast to compete in the 2017 Total BWF Sudirman Cup World Mixed Team Championships, took in the 360 degree views of Surfers Paradise beaches and the surrounding this morning, enjoying a SkyPoint Climb off the side of the Q1 building.

SHI Yuqi said “The view is very beautiful and very natural and the air was so clean.  I am enjoying the Gold Coast very much.  I have never done anything like that climb before, it was really thrilling.”

Ranked #5 in the world, SHI Yuqi is China’s top ranked player and part of the national team defending their world title at the Total BWF Sudirman Cup this week.  The tournament runs until May 28 at the new Commonwealth Games venue the Gold Coast Sports & Leisure Centre.

In March this year 21 year-old SHI Yuqi rose up through the world rankings when he dethroned three-time Olympic gold medallist ‘Super Dan’ Lin Dan as All England Open Champion.

Joining Yuqi at Skypoint were Gold Coast local couple Ricky Yu and He Tian (Rosy) Tang, who also played for the Chinese national team in the 1990’s. 

Rosy was a Chinese Olympic medallist and has since represented Australia at two Commonwealth Games, while Ricky coached both the Malaysian and Australian teams after his retirement from competitive badminton.

The SkyPoint Observation deck is always top of their list to take visitors to the Gold Coast but this morning’s SkyPoint Climb was also a first for Ricky and Rosy.  They said, “It was so beautiful, we love the beach views.  And anything from SkyPoint is such a different perspective from each side.  It was fascinating to see, and definitely something we would like to do again.”

2017 Sudirman Cup Day 4 - Afternoon

Group 1B: Mixed makes the difference for Chinese Taipei

Kim Duk Young / Park Kyung Hoon of Korea felt the heat of Wang Chi-Lin's smashing which was rendered all the more effective by his partner Chen Hung Ling's subtle changes of pace both from the front and the rear. The plan of Chinese Taipei to constantly garner short replies paid the ultimate dividend, taking men's doubles 21-19, 21-13.

Women's singles world #1 Tai Tzu Ying's met Korea's Sung Ji Hyun for the third time this year and once again it required three games to come up on top, this time 21-15, 15-21, 21-14. For the first two games, Tai's net shots and smashes were average but no matter there were other weapons up her sleeve. The flat dropshots on the backhand retrievals and floating forehand ones demonstrated how unthreatened she felt on court. Sung's inch perfect depth on clears secured the second game. Tai's full repertoire came to bear in the rubber and then there were too many options and changes of balance for Sung's footwork to deal with .

Currently enjoying his highest world ranking of #2, Son Wan Ho was put under pressure even before he stepped on court for men's singles as Korea were already down 0-2 in the tie against Chinese Taipei. Playing catch up to Chou Tien Chen after the first game interval didn't help either. True to the way he normally plays, Son had simply been warming up both his shots and instincts and taking a look at Chou's game plan. Out came the signature Son smash in the nick of time which usually propped up an easy second shuttle to be put away.

It was no surprise that reigning All England champions Lee So Hee / Chang Ye Na picked up the women's doubles over Hsu Ya Ching / Wu Ti Jing, 21-13, 21-18,

Unheralded Lee Chia Hsin / Wang Chi-Lin produced a career boosting performance to beat Chae Yoo Jung / Choi Solgyu in the mixed doubles, 11-21, 21-18, 21-16, and take the tie 3-2 for Chinese Taipei. Wang's smash alone wouldn't be sufficient, this time his role also included keeping his partner Lee's emotions in check because the rallies were tight.

2017 Sudirman Cup Day 3 - Evening

Group 1D: India convincingly defy Indonesia

The first Group 1 upset happened when India triumphed 4-1 in the tie over Indonesia.

Rio Olympic gold medallist Tontowi Ahmad in a two tournaments old temporary partnership with Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja fell to a pair with only one competitive international match under their belt, Ashwini Ponnappa / Satwicksairaj Rankireddy. Interestingly, this scratch Indian pairing played with more flow and sense of plan to give their country a positive headstart, 22-20, 17-21, 21-19.

Former world #3 Srikanth Kidambi followed the trend in men's singles, taking down Jonatan Christie 21-15, 21-16, with a barrage of unbelievably close to the line smashes from multiple angles.

Men's doubles belonged to Indonesia when world #1s Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo sped up shuttles beyond the comfort zone of Satwicksairaj Rankireddy / Chirag Shetty, 21-9, 21-17. Rankireddy saved the first match point in a crowd pleasing consecutive straight smashing battle with only Sukamuljo defending high and refusing to back off until the shuttle clipped his racquet frame.

Diminutive Indonesian Fitriani almost leveled up on a first game deficit with PV Sindhu but the latter forced one too many frame errors from her to take matters, 21-8, 21-19.

Buoyed by the confidence of her victory in the opener, Ponnappa returned for the fifth match hitting crisp and heftier than earlier and infected her partner N Sikki Reddy with the same enthusiasm. India overturned the expectations of a world rankings difference of 13 places to win the women's doubles too, 21-12, 21-19.

Group 2B: Australia clean sweep Austria

Australia went one better than its previous tie score, this time fielding Ashwant Gobinathan in men's singles and keeping the rest of the line up the same as played the USA. All matches were won straight through and the most points any of the host's opponents earned in a single game was 13.

Gobinathan adjusted to court conditions immediately and stayed totally in command throughout his encounter with Vilson Vattanirappel to conclude it 21-11, 21-10. The Austrian was especially vulnerable to the cross smashes and his reactions slowed down whenever a rally lengthened.

2017 Sudirman Cup Day 3 - Afternoon

Group 1C: Three top 10s seal the deal for Malaysia

Current men's singles world #1 Lee Chong Wei and recent men's doubles world #1 Goh V Shem / Tan Wee Kiong, both Rio Olympic silver medallists, provided the star power of the afternoon session. Germany, however, weren't able to recapture the adrenalin they found against Japan two days prior.

Malaysia's three world top 10 disciplines in succession delivered the business end of the tie. Lai Pei Jing / Tan Kian Meng were tested sporadically by Isabel Herttrich / Mark Lamsfuss before nailing down mixed doubles 21-17, 21-13, with less unforced errors.

Fabian Roth had the impossible task of taking on Lee in men's singles. The German increasingly managed to extend the rallies until Lee finished off the points, more than a couple of times with a signature dazzling cross court smash which only those who've played him can truly appreciate the artistry of.

Under the guidance of former world #11 Ingo Kindervater, Jones Ralfy Jansen / Josche Zurwonne of Germany kept the scores neck to neck up to three quarters of both the first game and led 19-all in the second game. Goh/Tan were happy to depend on natural reflexes to see how far it can take them on their first time playing in a new space.   

Group 2A: Canada couldn't on Tuesday

None of Canada's majority new line up today could stop Vietnam from taking all five matches in straight games.

After his previous quietly admirable outings against New Zealand, it was no surprise Do Tuan Doc steered the ship to safe harbours in mixed and men's doubles against Canada too. Once more, it was Do's men's partner Pham Hong Nam who benefited the most from his calm composure and guidance. Today they chalked up their first victory of the tournament, 21-13, 21-18.

Nguyen Tien Minh won the men's singles, 21-19, 21-11, but Jason Anthony Ho-Shue made the process difficult. The former top 10 player praised the young Canadian's preparation and early attacking initiative to reporters. Ho-Shue had performed well above his current highest world ranking of #187 to lead at first interval and for most of that game until a little inexperience crept in and stop short of a full reward for his efforts.

2017 Sudirman Cup Day 2 - Evening

Group 1A: Thai birthday boy's present to his country

Based on the playing style of Bodin Isara / Nipitphon Phuangphuapet, Hong Kong fielding Or Chin Chung / Tang Chun Man for men's doubles instead of the pair from yesterday was the right choice and they also started off with the right ploy in mind.

Or/Tang promptly forced shuttles to be lifted and then rained offensive shots from a high elevation and deep in the court. The preferred Thai onslaught were flatter exchanges requiring Phuangphuapet to move forward and his contribution was felt most in winning the first game. Isara dug a gulf between the pairs in the rubber game with his phenomenal smash to capture the opening match, 22-20, 17-21, 21-11.

The singles matches were one side affairs and offered one victory each to either side so it was Tse Ying Suet / Poon Lok Yan who kept the tie alive for Hong Kong by surviving a thoroughly energy sapping women's doubles encounter with Jongkolphan Kititharakul / Rawinda Prajongjai, 21-15, 18-21, 21-14. Tse's flair for defending from sitting on the ground and picking dropshots just in the nick of time entertained the crowd and saved many a crucial point to frustrate the Thais.

Late night fans screamed a belated happy 20th birthday to Dechapol Puavaranukroh and his gift was delivered in the form of the first game of mixed doubles owing to mis-timed smashes and drops from Reginald Lee Chun Hei on the other side of the net. Hong Kong bounced back ahead for most of the second game but four unforced errors from them at 15-15 cost them the match and tie. Taerattanachai/Puavaranukroh won 21-16, 21-16, with the most exciting rally turning up on match point.

Group 1B: Chinese Taipei trip up in men's doubles

Two giants went on court so heavy defending was a given for the women involved. Lee Chia Hsin / Wang Chi-Lin of Chinese Taipei took advantage of Ekaterina Bolotova to go ahead one point in the tie, 21-19, 21-11. Vladimir Ivanov was in dependable form and took on the role of reassurer in both mixed and men's doubles.

With the aid of Ivan Sozonov, they scored a victory for their country once again, 19-21, 21-19, 21-17, over Lee Jhe-Huei / Lee Yang. Unlike earlier in the match, the final game was made up of truncated rallies precisely because of the skill and intensity both sides were injecting. Each pair was forcing the other to produce something new.

The quality of shot making in the women's doubles was far superior from all concerned in the second game which was unfortunate for the Russian ladies who had to settle for second best at deuce after fixing their deficient skill departments, 13-21, 22-24.

Sergey Sirant bettered his performance from the previous night when he snatched the second game off world #6 Chou Tien Chen in the men's singles. Cross court forehand smashes from the Russian were lethal whereas the straight smashes were wild unforced errors. In women's singles, the world #1 Tai Tzu Ying had little need to be her usual tricky self as Evgeniya Kosetskaya was vulnerable to cross court smashes on her backhand side.  

2017 Sudirman Cup Day 2 - Afternoon

Group 1D: Four Olympic medallists finish ahead

India and Denmark staked out one singles match each as the world rankings suggested would occur. Doubles categories were where the opportunities to cause an upset lay.

Viktor Axelsen's clinical dismantling of Ajay Jayaram's game plan, 21-12, 21-7, resulted in the shortest match at under half an hour. Line Kjaersfeldt's was well prepared for women's singles but Rio Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu proved quicker in two departments, recovering after saving shuttles and following in on weak replies. The highest world ranked Indian across all disciplines acquitted herself 21-18, 21-6.

Both nations were equally fired up for mixed doubles which started afternoon proceedings on a high note. The scratch pairing of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwicksairaj Rankireddy was a fantastic decision to face the very established Danes Christinna Pedersen / Joachim Fischer Nielsen. The threatening posturing and wealth of experience from the world #5 showed that their London Olympic bronze reputation was not a quality of the past and prevented an upset from happening, 21-15, 16-21, 21-17.

India were left to savour a bittersweet outing and ponder “What ifs”. Their women's doubles N Sikki Reddy / Ashwini Ponnappa reached match point first in another three games thriller but conceded the deuce to Rio silver medallists Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl, 18-21, 21-15, 23-21. In men's doubles, London silver medallists Boe/Mogensen had an easier time dealing with Attri/Reddy, 21-17, 21-15. Nevertheless, the performance produced today bodes well for India in their next battles against Indonesia.

Group 2B: Australia too practiced for USA

The host nation prevailed 4-1 and, importantly, adjusted to conditions in the hall ahead of future battles against Austria and Singapore.

Australia advanced trouble free in the opening mixed doubles, 21-10, 21-12. Setyana Mapasa / Sawan Serasinghe played freely and delighted the crowd with their lovely creativity left handed stroke making that proved slightly too powerful for Americans Jamie Subhandhi / Vinson Chiu.

The two Australians split up and reappeared later as part of their respective level doubles formations. Sawan Serasinghe / Matthew Chau made the most of their men's doubles time on court by testing various out of the ordinary tactics such as routine flick serving. Serasinghe was successful at the net area in closing out rallies on his own with multiple drives targeted at an isolated player. Men's doubles was won 21-19, 21-17, and Gronya Somerville / Setyana Mapasa continued the straight games trend, 21-15, 21-18.

As a result of patiently evaluating the weaponry and level of threat in men's singles, Timothy Lam came through as the American hero of the day winning 21-14, 21-18, over Anthony Joe. Queenslander Wendy Chen overcame a terribly nervous start in front of her home crowd as well as being on a TV court to outpace Jennie Gai, 21-18, 21-9, in women's singles.  

2017 Sudirman Cup Day 1 - Evening

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Group 1B: Russia's short reign

Ivan Sozonov / Vladimir Ivanov were the only Russians to get the better of Koreans. The straightforward penetration of Ivanov's heavy smash helped the 2016 All England champions take care of men's doubles, 21-18, 21-18.

Russian singles proponents Evgenia Kosetskaya and especially Sergey Sirant can be proud of the personal flair with which they played their shots. Playing on the television court, they would have been responsible for overturning any presumptions of casual spectators that Russia is unknown in badminton.

One of the other pleasures of the evening was the reuniting of former world top 5 Korean pair Jung Kyung Eun and Kim Ha Na in the women's doubles. Their racquet skills were too formidable for Ekaterina Bolotova / Alina Davletova, winning 21-7, 21-17.

In the mixed doubles, a healthy first game lead by Evgenia Dimova / Evgenij Dremin evaporated against Chae Yoo Jung / Choi Solgyu and it was another straight games affair for the tournament's second seeds. 21-14, 21-12.

Group 1C: Japan stumble mid-way through

Japan expectedly won the first two and last two matches but of these their German opponents impressed nevertheless in men's doubles and women's singles. As the second game wore on, Marvin Emil Seidel became the most outstanding smasher. It was almost good enough to level the match against men's world #6 Takeshi Kamura / Keigo Sonoda. 12-21, 19-21.

The score of 10-21, 5-21, does not do justice to Yvonne Li's undaunted performance. In a match showcasing the best from both ladies, the German displayed a wide range of shot making while world #10, Nozomi Okuhara's exceptional astuteness translated into fine reading of the shots of a first time opponent and therefore often being in good balance to address them.

Marc Zwiebler took back one point in the tie by beating an inconsistent Kenta Nishimoto, 21-8, 21-18. Having studied the Japanese well enough to know how dangerous he can be the former European champion admitted, “I was very very happy I was in charge of the game”.

Mark Lamsfuss returned later with Isabel Herttrich in mixed doubles and grabbed the second game this time around. Kenta Kazuno's still vibrant offence after 16-16 in the rubber game was the key to victory in the last as well as loudest match of the night in the stadium.

Group 3: Success starts with an S

Success followed expectations and went to the countries from the continents where badminton is more popular. Oceania's third and fourth representations on Day 1, Fiji and French Polynesia (Tahiti), could not prevent their more seasoned Sri Lankan and Slovakian opponents from clean sweeps in their respective ties.

2017 Sudirman Cup Day 1 - Afternoon

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Group 1A: Hong Kong foil Chinese plot

Defending champions China came close to being troubled by Hong Kong in the opening men's doubles match featuring Rio Olympic gold medallists Fu Haifeng / Zhang Nan.

They've only spent one hour and nine minutes or two matches together this year so it was evident that the famous Chinese pair were keeping their strategy simple, seldom deviating from Fu looking after the rear court. The majority of the time was spent finding back the sweet timing that brought them gold medals at Rio.

The Hong Kong men wasted a game trying to find a good length on their defence. Once mixed doubles specialist Reginald Lee Chun Hei settled after swapping sides the match developed on more equal footing. However, the second game's extended deuce ended when Fu / Zhang took advantage of the least experienced Law Cheuk Him by hitting the final shuttles in his direction to win it, 21-15, 26-24.

Things were delightfully going all China's way as 4-0 lead in the tie as world #1 mixed pair Chen Qingchen / Zheng Siwei opened their account by giving their opponents the worst game score of the afternoon 21-10. Astonishingly, the undeterred Tse Ying Suet / Tang Chun Man of Hong Kong managed to turn the tables with their rare dual left-handers proposition, 21-16, 21-18.

Tse/Tang employed a succession of cross court drives of less than full blooded power whenever Chen/Zheng were in perfect tandem, such untouchable winners had the added benefit of not needing to summon continual courage to receive the brunt of Zheng's terrifying smashes which made the difference in the opener.

Groups 2 & 3: Canada's close call

Group 2A's tussle between Canada and Scotland was a guessing game up until a weak women's doubles side handed the tie over to the land of maple trees.

Kieran Merrilees paid tribute to the talents of his younger opponent Jason Anthony Ho-Shue after securing their encounter, 21-18, 21-12. “It's a nice stadium although there is a little bit of wind. This is where my experience could have helped me.”

Ho-Shue began to look lost for ideas as Merrilees confidently plugged every gap. Their men's singles match was characterised by long flat rallies in stark contrast to the aerial antics being fought out on the adjacent court by Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Minh and New Zealand's Dylan Soedjasa.

The titanic match up of former top 20 women's singles players Michelle Li and Kirsty Gilmour lived up to expectations by reaching 17-17 in the rubber game. This rematch of the 2014 Commonwealth Games final again went to the Canadian care of Gilmour sending a flat clear conveniently into the hitting zone of her taller adversary and the late deadlock was broken.

Like Hong Kong, Guam were able to salvage one match in the afternoon. Grace Cai / Sarah Cai defeated Dgenyva Matauli / Cecelia Moussy 21-18, 22-20. Elsewhere the New Caledonian side looked to have the edge because of more match and domestic practice.

Public bus transport confirmed for the Sudirman Cup, 21st-28th May 2017

With the 2017 Gold Coast Sudirman Cup just over a month away the public transport route via bus has been confirmed as the easiest way to access the venue for attendees.

Public transport via bus will operate throughout the 8-day tournament from the 21st-28th of May. The route to access the venue will be the 745 bus, operating between Nerang Station (alight from Brisbane rail) and Broadbeach South station, located opposite Pacific Fair Shopping Center. Additional public and private transportation options are also available from both Nerang Station and Broadbeach South station for attendees continuing their journey.

To gain access to the venue, attendees must exit the bus at the Riverside Home Caravan Park, this is the 1st stop from Nerang Station. The Carrarra sports and Leisure precinct is then just a short 10-15-minute walk across the road at the lights and along a flat footpath that takes you directly to the stadium.

Buses will run every 30 minutes until 12:00am during the week. The timetable can be located on the Translink bus timetable for route 745 found at https://translink.com.au/ 

Additionally, all buses are wheelchair and access friendly.

England withdraws; Germany Promoted

The English national team has officially announced their withdrawal from the 2017 TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup, allowing Germany the opportunity to compete vie for the prestigious Sudirman Cup Trophy.

England has officially withdrawn from competing in the 2017 TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup, with the sudden change allowing Germany to now compete in the coveted Group 1C. Germany will face tough competitors Japan and Malaysia, with Japan taking on Germany on Day One.

Vietnam, Scotland and Canada will now all move up, promoting New Zealand from Group3A and filling the final spot of Group2A. Vietnam will be the first to take on New Zealand on Day One of competition. New Caledonia, Macau and Guam will not be affected and all will remain in their current Group3A positions.

The match schedule has been revised to ensure all 27 teams competing in the Gold Coast 2017 TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup are given the best-possible presentation for the international event.

Match Schedule is Out!

The match schedule for the 28 teams competing in the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017 is out. Click here.

  • The 8 days competition commences Sunday 21st May will have two sessions everyday except for the finals on Sunday 28th May. Sessions commencing times are 12pm and 6pm daily.
  • The 28 teams are placed in 3 Groups based on the team respective world rankings. Group 1 has 12 teams (4 groups of 3 teams per group), Group 2 has 8 teams (2 groups of 4 teams per group) including Australia and Group 3 has 8 teams (2 groups of 4 teams per group).
  • Teams in Groups 2 & 3 will generally complete their 3 round robin ties on Day 5 and will have play offs on Day 6.
  • Teams in Group 1 will complete their 2 round robin ties on Day 4 with the two top teams from each group progressing to a quarter-finals playoff on Day 5 & 6.
  • Day 7 has two sessions for semi-finals and Day 8 is the Final.

 

Ticketing

For Ticketing go to: http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/Show.aspx?sh=SUDIRMAN17

The ticketing packages available are:

  •  All sessions (all 8 days)
  •  Finals sessions (Day 7 & 8: Semi-finals & Finals)
  •  Daily Tickets
  •  Group Stage (Day 1-6)
  •  Group 1 Country Specific (2 round robin ties between Day 1-4)

 

Group 1 Country Specific

  1. China                     (Day 1 & Day 4)
  2. Denmark               (Day 2 & Day 4)
  3. Korea                    (Day 1 & Day 4)
  4. Japan                    (Day 1 & Day 4)
  5. Malaysia                (Day 3 & Day 4)
  6. Indonesia              (Day 3 & Day 4)
  7. Thailand                (Day 2 & Day 4)
  8. Chinese Taipei       (Day 2 & Day 4)
  9. India                      (Day 2 & Day 3)
  10. England                 (Day 1 & Day 3)
  11. Hong Kong            (Day 1 & Day 2)
  12. Russia                    (Day 1 & Day 2)