Thursday, December 31, 2009

3 Successive Wins in the Last Days of 2009

No. 1: Conquering the Hull

London (12/19) - First it was at home against Hull City. Denilson, Eduardo, and Abou Diaby each contributed a goal to secure three points. It was a very essential victory to maintain Arsenal's chance of winning the Premier League, after being held by promoted club Burnley only in the previous match.

When Andrei Arshavin was fouled, the Gunners were awarded a free-kick. However, Samir Nasri was involved in an emotional as well as physical battle with the Hull players. Even Manuel Almunia had to help his teammates cool down. Nasri took the free-kick, but he failed to score.

Denilson brought the matter into his own hands when only a few moments later Arsenal was given another free-kick. He thrashed the net and gave Arsenal a 1-0 lead before half-time.

In the 56th minute, Mikael Silvestre's tug on Fagan's shirt granted a penalty kick for Hull but Almunia managed to save it. And three minutes later, it was again Arsenal who doubled the lead, Eduardo finishing Diaby's crossing with an accurate tap.

In the 80th minute, Arshavin, who had been kept quiet by the Hull players, gave his assist to Diaby, who then made it 3-0 for Arsenal.

Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey, who came for Eduardo and Nasri respectively, had chances in the last minutes but Arsenal secured the win 3-0.

No. 2: A Tale of Cesc's Carol

London (12/27) - To triumph over Aston Villa, who aimed to enter the Big Four, the Gunners even practiced in Christmas morning, being allowed to celebrate the holiday with their families in the evening. However, their sacrifice was not in vain.

Two days after Christmas, Cesc Fabregas gave his best to his team, even if it meant setting him back to another three-week absence due to an injury rearousal. He scored two goals in his just 27-minute appearance, bringing Arsenal to a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa.

Though definitely the better team, Arsenal was stagnant throughout the first half. The players had a number of chances but they could not produce even a single goal.

Then, seeing that his team desperately need a new spirit, Arsene Wenger risked the health of the still-recovering captain by pulling out Denilson in the 56th minute.

Wenger's strategy proved right. Only 9 minutes later, Fabregas ended the goalless state when his free-kick netted his eighth goal in the Premier League this season, making him Arsenal's top scorer, over Robin van Persie's 7 goals.

In the 81th minute, Armand Traore passed the ball to Theo Walcott, who in turn slid into the path of Fabregas. The Spaniard then charged past Brad Friedel to be Arsenal's top scorer with 12 goals in all competition, as well as Arsenal's top assist.

But in the middle of the crowd's joy, there was concern. Fabregas was hobbling as he celebrated, and he was almost immediately replaced by Aaron Ramsey, with the crowd giving him a deserved applause.

In the 81st minute, Abou Diaby came through the middle and added a third goal.

No. 3: In the Bottommost Land of Premier League

Portsmouth (12/30) - On Wednesday evening, the Gunners visited Fratton Park without Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, and Nicklas Bendtner.

Arsenal seemed to have no difficulty in earning the third consecutive win with a three-goal margin over the team at the bottom of the Premier League standings. But this time, the score was 4-1.

Eduardo struck the opening goal in the 27th minute. And Samir Nasri added a second in the 41st minute.

Three goals were created from the 68th minute to the 81th minute. Aaron Ramsey gave his team a 3-0 lead, but then Nadir Belhadj of Portsmouth gave a consolation finish 5 minutes later.

Alex Song, who will be out to defend Cameroon in African Cup, added a fourth in the 81st minute.

Now Arsenal is still four points behind leader Chelsea and two points behind Manchester United, but with a game on hand.

The Gunners can comfort themselves as the top scorer team in the Premier League with 51 goals and 30 goal differences, though.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Indonesia Dominates Badminton Final

Vientiane (12/17) - Indonesia won three badminton gold medals in 2009 Laos SEA Games. The three medals are from men's singles, men's doubles, and mixed doubles.

Indonesian mixed doubles pair, Nova Widhianto and Lilyana Natsir, contributed the first badminton individual gold medal after conquering Thailand's tenacious Songpol Anukritayawan/Kuchala Worawichitchaikul in three sets, 21-10, 20-22, and 21-9.

Simon Santoso added to Indonesia's gold medal tally and gained his first SEA Games gold with a 21-16 and 21-12 triumph over teammate Sony Dwi Kuncoro in 45 minute.

Finally, Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan confirmed Indonesia as the chief collector of badminton gold medals by winning their revenge on Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong. Markis/Hendra, who were beaten by Koo/Tan in the team event, successfully prevailed over the Malaysians in straight sets, 21-17 and 21-17.

Indonesia did not place any player in women's event. Thailand won gold and silver medals in women's singles. Salakjit Ponsana battled her compatriot Ratchanok Intanon in a 50-minute match to a 21-14, 18-21, and 21-10 victory.

In the women's doubles, Wong Pei Tty and Chin Eei Hui of Malaysia outshone Singaporean Shinta Mulya Sari and Yao Lei 21-12 and 21-11 to obtain their second SEA Games gold medal.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Four to Final

Indonesia puts four contenders into 2009 Laos Sea Games finals. The most successful is men's singles with Sony Dwi Kuncoro facing compatriot Simon Santoso in the final. This is a repetition of 2005 Philippines Sea Games final in which Sony won.

Simon won an easy 21-7, 21-14 victory over Vietnamese Nguyen Hoang Hai whereas Sony strived to a 21-10, 18-21, and 21-17 win over Thailand's tough Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk.

In the women's singles, Thailand makes sure of a gold medal as Salakjit Ponsana and Ratchanok Intanon progress to the final, both defeating Malaysian players. Salakjit subdued Wong Mew Choo 21-18 and 21-14 while Ratchanok humbled Lydia Cheah, 21-15 and 23-21, leaving Malaysia two bronze medals. Wong's achievement in SEA Games dropped from gold in Vietnam and silver in the Philippines to bronze.

Malaysia must be satisfied with another two bronze medals from mixed doubles when 2005 bronze medalists, Koo Kien Keat and Wong Pei Tty, crashed out 15-21, 15-21 to 2005 gold winners of Indonesia, Nova Widhianto and Lilyana Natsir.

Nova/Lilyana will compete against Songpol Anukritayawan and Kuchala Worawichitchaikul of Thailand who subjugated Koo/Wong's teammates, Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying, 21-18, 21-13.

In the men's doubles, Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia will face Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong again in the final. Markis/Hendra struggled to beat Malay Zakry/Tazari 27-25, 15-21, and 21-16. Meanwhile, Koo/Tan defeated Markis' brother Bona Septano and his partner Ahsan in straight sets, 21-16 and 21-10.

Laos SEA Games Semi-final Fixtures

Men's Singles
Sony Dwi Kuncoro (INA) vs. Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (THA)
Simon Santoso (INA) vs. Nguyen Hoang Hai (VIE)

Women's Singles
Salakjit Ponsana (THA) vs. Wong Mew Choo (MAS)
Ratchanok Intanon (THA) vs. Lydia Cheah (MAS)

Men's Doubles
Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan (INA) vs. M Zakry Abdul Latif/M Fairuzizuan Tazari (MAS)
Bona Septano/M Ahsan (INA) vs. Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong (MAS)

Women's Doubles
Savitree Amitrapai/Vacharaporn Munkit (THA) vs. Shinta Mulya Sari/Yao Lei (SIN)
Shendy Irawati /Meiliana Jauhari (INA) vs. Wong Pei Tty/Chin Eei Hui (MAS)

Mixed Doubles
Nova Widhianto/Lilyana Natsir (INA) vs. Koo Kien Keat/Wong Pei Tty (MAS)
Songpol Anukritayawan/Kuchala Worawichitchaikul (THA) vs. Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying (MAS)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Theo Praises Andrei


Theo Walcott has hailed the ever-reliable Andrei Arshavin after the Russian struck a superb match-winning goal at Anfield on Sunday.

Arshavin fired home his eighth goal of the season to see Arsenal to a 2-1 victory over Liverpool on a weekend after Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham, and Manchester City all dropped points.

After the match, Walcott praised his fellow forward's contribution to Arsenal's attacking threat.

"If you put him in those positions, he is always going to put it away," said the 20-year-old.

"He has got plenty of pace as well. We can frighten the defenders at times but also you have to defend well and not always break forward.

"We have got so many attacking players and Andrei has done it yet again.

"He just seems to be relaxed. There is always a smile on his face when he is playing and to get a goal was very well deserved.

"You could put any goalkeeper in that position and he is never going to make the save.

"It was a fantastic finish."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Arshavin Astonishes Anfield

Liverpool (12/13) - The Big "RED" Match on Sunday at Anfield was a very crucial one.

Arsenal needed the win to stay on course of Premier League hunt, while Liverpool had to improve their performance to reach the big four.

Both teams played with full team. Arsenal put Andrei Arshavin and Cesc Fabregas in their starting line-up, and Liverpool had their depended-upon Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.

In the first half, the Gunners had some opportunities, including two corner-kicks and two free-kicks. Similarly, the Reds gained the same amount of corner-kicks and three free-kicks. But none of these resulted in a goal.

Instead, it was Dirk Kuyt who brought Liverpool to a 1-0 lead in the 41st minute.

In the changing room, Arsene Wenger thundered at his team's incapability of using good chances to score. And his indignation served as a whiplash for his players.

Five minutes into the second half, Samir Nasri put a pressure on Glen Johnson, forcing the Liverpool player to net an own goal.

In the 58th minute, only 8 minutes later, Andrei Arshavin once again became the hero of Arsenal fans as well as a threat for the Liverpool fans when he struck the ball with a slightly injured foot into Jose Reina's net.

After that, Arsenal and Liverpool gained a few more chances to score but did not produce more goals. It was a 2-1 win for Arsenal.

One Gold Medal Only for Each Finalist

Both Indonesia and Malaysia won a gold and silver medal in Laos SEA Games in badminton team event. In the men's event, Indonesia beat Malaysia 3-1. Sony Dwi Kuncoro made Indonesia lead 1-0 as he defeated Muhammad Hafiz Hashim 22-20, 14-21, and 21-12.

However, Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong of Malaysia equalized the score 1-1 with a 19-21, 22-20, and 21-10 victory of Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan.

Simon Santoso's 21-18, 21-13 triumph over Kuan Beng Hong made the score 2-1 for Indonesia. Ultimately, newly-made pair Nova Widhianto and Mohammad Ahsan secured the win after shocking old pair of Malaysia Zakry Abdul Latif/Fairuzizuan Tazari in straight sets, 21-18 and 21-17.

Nevertheless, Indonesia failed to clinch the women's gold, losing 1-3 to the same opponent. Malaysia's Wong Mew Choo subjugated Adrianti Firdasari 21-18 and 21-17. Wong Pei Tty/Chin Eei Hui added more point for Malaysia as they beat Shendy Irawati/Meiliana Jauhari 21-17 and 21-13.

Maria Kristin gave one point for Indonesia as she overpowered Lydia Cheah 21-8, 21-9 in just half an hour. But Lilyana Natsir and Greysia Polii could not equalize the score and gave up 21-19, 12-21, and 18-21 to Woon Khe Wei/Ng Hui Lin.

To summarize, Indonesia won 1 gold medal from men's team and 1 silver from women's team. Malaysia gained the same result as Indonesia, but the gold medal is from women's team and the silver medal is from men's team. Thailand and Singapore each obtained 2 bronze medals.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Double Battles

In 25th SEA Games in Laos, Indonesia will face Malaysia in badminton women's and men's final. Malaysia's women's singles team played Thailand in the first match of the day. They won 3-o. Wong Mew Choo gave the first point for her team by overcoming Salakjit Ponsana 21-15 and 21-17. It was the only two-set match in the Malaysia-Thailand match.

Wong Pei Tty/Chin Eei Hui added Malaysia's lead as they beat Duanganong Aroonkesorn/Kuchala Worawichitchaikul 19-21, 21-14, and 21-14. Lydia Cheah completed the match with a 19-21, 21-18, and 21-19 win over 18-year-old Porntip Buranaprasertsuk.

In the other semi-final, defending champion Indonesia beat Singapore 3-0 too. Indonesia's Adrianti Firdasari played the first match against Zhang Beiwen and won 21-14, 21-13.

Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda gave further lead as they beat Vanessa Neo/Shinta Sari in tough rubber sets, 23-21, 18-21, 21-10 in 42 minutes.

Finally, 2008 Olympic Games bronze-medalist Maria Kristin booked final ticket for Indonesia by vanquishing Xing Aiying in straight sets, 21-19 and 21-15.

Thailand's Fight

In the men's event, Indonesia proved they were better Thailand. They edge Thailand with a perfect score 3-0 to breeze to the final. However, Thailand was able to give great fight in the two men's singles as Boonsak Ponsana and Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk insisted Indonesian singles players to play in three sets.

2004 Olympic Games bronze-medalist, Sony Dwi Kuncoro, struggled hard to beat 2004 Olympic semi-finalist, Boonsak. Sony needed an hour to make Indonesia lead 1-0 with a 21-6, 11-21, and 21-14 victory.

2007 men's doubles champions, Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan, increased the point for Indonesia by downing Nutthapon Narkthong and Patiphat Chalardchalaem in easy 22-minute match, 21-12 and 21-12.

Simon Santoso conquered Tanongsak in rubber sets, 10-21, 21-15, 21-17, to bring Indonesia to the final. Next, Indonesia will take on Malaysia who defeat Singapore 3-0.

Muhammad Hafiz Hashim created a 1-0 lead as he defeated Derek Wong 21-15, 21-15. This is the first time Hafiz play as first singles because Malaysia's top men's singles player, Lee Chong Wei, withdrew due to injury.

Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong only played a 20-minute match to win over Hendri Saputra/Hendra Wijaya 21-19 and 1-0. The Singaporeans retired in the second set.

Kuan Beng Hong's 21-17, 21-17 victoy over Ashton Chen made Malaysia progress to the final.

By this result, Thailand and Singapore gained two bronze medals from badminton while Indonesia and Malaysia fight for gold medals tomorrow.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Experience for the Young Gunners

Athens (12/9) - Win or loss, Arsenal has already qualified for Champions League's last 16 as the winner of Group H with 6 points lead over second-place Olympiakos.

As it is, Arsene Wenger decided to give his young players a Champions League experience by starting 3 reserve players - Kerrea Gilbert, Kyle Bartley, and Thomas Cruise - as well as the well-known Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, and Carlos Vela.

In fact, the only player who is in his 30s is Mikael Silvestre, and he was appointed captain that night. The average age was 21, the youngest Champions League team ever.

Experience was costly, and that night the "baby" Gunners had to pay the price. They were defeated that night 1-0 by Leonardo's goal in the 47th minute. But they succeeded to impress the spectators.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Three Titles in A Row

Johor Bahru - Perhaps Lee Yong-dae/Jung Jae-sung can be said as the most successful men's doubles pair in the last three tournaments. They won Super Series Finals title, following titles from Hong Kong and China last month, with a 21-15, 21-15 triumph over Carsten Mogensen and Mathias Boe of Denmark in 46 minutes.

Playing in the third match of the day, Yong-dae/Jae-sung played against Boe/Mogensen whom they defeated in China Open semi-final. In the first set, they chased each other's points as finally Yong-dae and Jae-sung left the Danish 15-12 and then took the first set 21-15.

In the second set, the world number three was 1-5 but they could equalize 8 all and left Boe/Mogensen 13-7 to win the second set 21-15 again.

Bright Yong-dae

Lee Yong-dae returns a shot

Lee Yong-dae, who shines in the last three tournaments with 3 men's doubles titles and one mixed doubles title, said, “I’m no superman. I’m very grateful that both my doubles partners (Jung Jae Sung in men’s and Lee Hyo Jung in mixed) are great partners.

“They have been great support and offered plenty of encouragement to me over these 2 years that has helped me to juggle playing in both doubles.”

Yong-dae did not play in mixed doubles because his partner Hyo-jung was injured. They were world number one mixed doubles pair.

Mew Choo Is Back

After two-year title drought, Malaysia's best women's singles player, Wong Mew Choo, conquered Juliane Schenk in easy two sets, 21-15 and 21-7, after fighting with injuries. She won 42 rallies and 10 smash winners to Schenk's 22 and 3.

“I am going to treat my teammates and coaches as they have been instrumental in helping my career,” said Mew Choo.

“Without their help, I will not be here today as they were pillars of support to me even when I was injured.”

Top Seeds' Victories

Top-seeded Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen of Denmark was crowned as mixed doubles winner as they humbled Indian Diju V and Jwala Gutta 21-14, 21-18 to receive $42,000 prize money.

“We will be playing at the Copenhagen Masters at the end of the month but winning the Masters Finals is a great way to end the season,” said Fischer Nielsen.

“It is a pity that some of the top pairs are not here but in today’s mixed doubles, there are seven to eight pairs who can win the title.

“I rate the Koreans (Lee Yong Dae-Lee Hyo Jung) as the best mixed doubles pair in the world right now and that is our aim – to beat them.”

World number five Wong Pei Tty/Chin Eei Hui maintained their women's doubles title as they prevailed over Danish Kamilla Rytter Juhl/Lena Frier Kristiansen 21-17, 21-14.

In the men's singles, top seed Lee Chong Wei, who plays in too many tournaments this year, beat Park Sung-hwan of Korea 21-17, 21-17. After the Super Series Finals, he will play in SEA Games.

No wonder he said, “But next year, I plan to be more selective in choosing the tournaments I want to compete in order to focus on major events.”

The defending champion also said: “After the Olympic Games in Beijing (2008), my form took a dip but I am very happy with the way the year has progressed.

“I’ve won six titles and now the Masters Finals title as well. As such, I am pleased with my performance.”

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Arsenal Returns to Winning Ways

London (12/5) - After 1-0 and 0-3 defeats to Sunderland and Chelsea respectively in the Premier League, as well as an English League Cup loss by Manchester City, Arsenal needed a victory very badly to restore the players' confidence.

And they had the opportunity to win an easy match against Stoke City, at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners attacked from the first minute. Andrei Arshavin was tripped inside the penalty area, but Cesc Fabregas was assigned to take the penalty-kick.

Unfortunately Thomas Sorensen saved it.

But it did not matter much because only five minutes later, Arshavin continued Fabregas' assist and struck straight into the net.

In the 54th minute, Emmanuel Eboue added to Arsenal's injury list and had to be replaced by Aaron Ramsey.

Just about 10 minutes before the final whistle, the 18-year-old Welsh fired his third Arsenal goal for this season and doubled the lead 2-0.

Arshavin could have made it 3-0, but Stoke's Andy Wilkinson prevented it.

This cheerful result put Arsenal back in winning ways, especially after Chelsea lost to Man City 1-2 on Sunday.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Unbeatable Winners into Final

Lee Yong-dae celebrates semi-final win with his partner Jung Jae-sung

2008 Super Series Finals men's doubles finalists, Lee Yong-dae and Jung jae-sung, reaches the final of Super Series Finals as they shattered the dream of local favorites, Zakry Abdul Latif/Fairuzizuan Tazari, in just two sets, 21-18 and 21-11.

The former world number one will face Denmark's Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen whom they beat in China Open final last month. Boe/Mogensen vanquished Group A winner Guo Zhendong/Xu Chen of China 21-19, 21-17.

Lee Yong-dae/Jung Jae-sung hopes to win their first Super Series Finals title with assuring results in Group B. They topped Group B by winning all matches without even losing a set. Boe/Mogensen were in the second position of Group B. Thus, no Group A contenders play in the final.

This final will be easier for Lee/Jung since the defending champions Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong were on the third position in Group A.

In women's singles, Wong Mew Choo achieves her first final in her Super Series Finals debute with a 21-10, 21-10 win over Yao Jie in the semi-final. Mew Choo only won a super series title, China Open 2007. Even though she was not ranked in top 8, she could play in Super Series Finals because many great players did not play.

Mew Choo will compete against unseeded Juliane Schenk in the final. In the semi-final, Schenk ousted top seed Sania Nehwal of India with a 21-18, 21-18 victory.

Local favorite Lee Chong Wei progresses to men's singles final after beating last year finalist Peter Gade in just straight sets, 21-17 and 21-16. He will play Korean Park Sung-hwan who surprisingly eliminated Bao Chunlai of China 21-14, 21-14.

Other semi-final results:

Women's Doubles
Kamila Rytter Juhl (DEN) def. 2-Cheng Wen-Hsing/Chien Yu-Chin (TPE) 21-17, 10-21, 21-16
1-Wong Pei Tty/Chin Eei Hui (MAS) def. Duanganong Aroonkesorn/Kuchala Worawichitchaikul (THA) 21-15, 21-18

Mixed Doubles
Diju V/Jwala Gutta (IND) def. Robert Mateusiak/Nadiezka Kostiuczyk (POL) 21-19, 21-11
Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen (DEN) def. Anthony Clark/Donna Kellogg (ENG) 21-13, 21-17

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lost But Advance to Semi-finals

Roger Federer wipes sweat when he plays against Juan Martin del Potro

Both Roger Federer and Robin Soderling lost in their last match of their group but they progress to the semi-final of ATP World Tour Finals. Both topped the group with 2 points. Federer failed to revenge his loss to Juan Martin del Potro in US Open 2009 final as he was conquered 2-6, 7-6 (5), and 6-3, while Soderling was defeated by Nikolay Davydenko 6-7 (4), 6-4, and 3-6.

Del Potro's Win Knocks Murray Out

In the group A, following Andy Murray's 6-4, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3) victory over Fernando Verdasco this afternoon, the only scenario that could see Murray miss out was a del Potro win in three sets.

That would then see the three players tied on match wins and sets won and lost, with the semi-finalists decided on percentage of games won.

And it all came down to one game, with Federer winning the group and del Potro pipping Murray courtesy of his 45 games won to 43 lost, while the Scot's record read 44-43.

"I knew if I won the match then there was only one way I couldn't go through, and that was del Potro winning in three sets and then I think it would go down to the games won," Murray said after the match.

"I just had to focus on winning and then there's a very slim chance of me going out."

Unfortunately for Murray, that slim chance proved to be the reality as Del Potro won the final set with the only score that would put Murray out - 6-3.

Federer said: "There are certain rules and these are the rules. Sometimes unfortunate, sometimes fortunate.

"This time they're very hard for Murray, who didn't get through, but he got so close. How can we imagine that we all play three sets and it comes down to a couple of games?"

World Number Two in the Bottom of Group B

In the Group B, world number two Rafael Nadal as he went down 6-7 (5), 3-6 to Novak Djokovic. Nadal, suffered back injury in the second set, exits the tournament without having won even one set.

Meanwhile, Djokovic, who was successful in Paris Masters and Basel by beating Nadal and Federer in the finals, did not qualify to the semi-final. The Serb's game percent was worse than Soderling's and Davydenko's.

Federer vs. Davydenko and Soderling vs. del Potro in Semi-finals

Davydenko will set up a semi-final clash with the four-times Tennis Masters Cup champion Federer today. He is hopeful to beat Federer. But his head-to-head against Federer is bad. He never won a match against the world number one for their 12 meetings. Moreover, Federer has won 14 straight sets against Davydenko.

In the night session, Group B winner Soderling will take on del Potro. Soderling, who play in the ATP World Tour Finals because he replaces world number six Andy Roddick who withdrew, tied 1-1 with del Potro in their winning record.

Group A Final Standings

1. (1)Roger Federer 2-1
2. (5)Juan Martin del Potro 2-1
3. (4)Andy Murray 2-1
4. (7)Fernando Verdasco 0-3

Group B Final Standings

1. (8)Robin Soderling 2-1
2. (6)Nikolay Davydenko 2-1
3. (3)Novak Djokovic 2-1
4. (2)Rafael Nadal 0-3

* () = seed


picture by reuters

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Federer Masters Murray

Murray congratulates Federer

London (11/24) - Roger Federer will end this year as world number one as he outclassed British Andy Murray 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the ATP World Tour Finals second round robin match.

The O2 Arena, with hardly an empty seat, gave both players a rapturous welcome and they were immediately rewarded with a fabulous opening point, an epic baseline rally eventually won by Federer when Murray mis-hti a forehand so badly it hit the scoreboard.

The Swiss was broken twice as Murray, who also hit six aces, wrapped up the first set. But Federer upped his game in the second set and made a decisive break in game six to level the match at 1-1.

Murray's serve, which had been so dominant early on, faltered as Federer broke threee times to wrap up the win.

"I played a great match and him as well. I'm glad it lived up to the expectation. Andy was playing well and I couldn't get a proper read on hsi first serve. He's also one of the best returners in the game and when you're behind against the top guys it's not easy. But's it's a huge improvement and gives me confidence," said Federer, the 15-time Grand Slam champion.

Juan Martin del Potro beat Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 3-6. 7-6 (1) in the earlier match.

The result leaves Federer top of Group A with two wins while Murray is in second place with one win and one defeat.

Neither man is guaranteed a place in the semi-finals but his victory guarantees Federer will end the year as world number one.

Group B Monday (11/23) results:

Robin Soderling def. Rafael Nadal 6-4. 6-4
Novak Djokovic def. Nikolay Davydenko 3-6, 6-4, 7-5

Federer drinks water during a match against Murray

pictures by reuters

Arsenal 2-0 Standard Liege

Arsenal won Champions League Group H with something to spare after dismissing Standard Liege 2-0 at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.

After taking 10 points from their opening four games, Arsenal were virtually through before kick-off anyway. This result just rubber-stamped their passports for the Knockout Stages.

Arsenal were pressing after the kick-off. A goal seemed likely. It should have arrived five times in the 15th minute.

It all started when Fabregas took a corner, and Arshavin's point-blank shot was saved. Then Vela's collected the rebound and planted the ball against the post. Then Gallas had two efforts blocked by the keeper. And finally Vermaelen's vicious shot beat everyone, hit Arshavin on the line and flew wide.

On the half-hour, Gallas nudged a header over the bar from a Fabregas cross. The Frenchman clashed heads with Arshavin in executing the chance. Both players needed lengthy treatment. The Russian had gash on the top of his head and Gallas had swollen eye worthy of a heavyweight boxer.

The home side had not yet returned to 11 men when they took the lead. Given the bizarre events so far, it was relatively mundane. Vermaelen punted the ball forward towards Nasri and Landry Mulemo, the covering defender, slipped as he tried to intercept. The Frenchman pounced then lifted his shot over the keeper and into the far corner of the net at the 35th minute.

It was so nearly 2-0 a couple of minutes later. Nasri slipped a clever ball to Arshavin who drove a low shot inches past the keeper's left-hand post.

Fabregas nearly rubbed salt in the wound seconds later when he whistled a low drive across goal and beyond the far post.

On the whistle, Gibbs tapped the ball to Denilson 25 yards out. He took a touch, looked up and thumped it. Keeper Sinan Bolat, so brilliant early on, could only parry the ball into his own net. Nevertheless it was an excellent strike.

Denilson celebrates his goal

In the second half, Arsenal makes two substitutions: Gallas to Mikhail Silvestre and Nasri to Theo Walcott. However, no goals were created. At the 87th minute, Standard played with 10 men after Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez was given a red card. He had been going head to head with Fabregas.

But Fabregas was also handed a yellow card for that action.

Finally, Arsenal qualified to the next stage after winning in the first half and keeping Standard under control.

That was the only concern on a crushingly comfortable night at Emirates Stadium.
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Defending Champions Reign in Shanghai

Lee Yong-dae and his partner Jung Jae-sung celebrate win

Shanghai - Defending champions dominate China Open final as they won four events. Last year winners are Lee Yong-dae/Lee Hyo-jung, Yong-dae/Jung Jae-sung, Lin Dan, Jiang Yanjiao, and Zhao Tingting/Zhang Yawen. This time, only women's doubles winner is different - Tian Qing partnering with Zhang.

Great Lee Yong-dae

Lee Hyo-jung and Lee Yong-dae reacts during a match against Zheng Bo and Ma Jin

It was a perfect fairy-tale ending for Yong-dae in China, earning two titles from mixed doubles and men's doubles. Yong-dae, pairing with Hyo-jung, prevailed over local favorite Zheng Bo/Ma Jin who beat the Koreans four times this year.

The world number one pair claim their first title after 2-months absence with a 21-18, 15-21, 21-15 win in 1 hour 16 minutes. They always led the match in the final set as Zheng/Ma only equalized one times 14-14.

Two hours later, Yong-dae was back on court to play his second final of the day. With Jae-sung, he challenged world number one Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong.

The Koreans and Malaysians each gave their best to win the match, which featured rallies lasting even longer than the women’s doubles. Kien Keat and Boon Heong returned smash after punishing smash from the second seeds as Yong-dae/Jae-sung finally outshone the Malaysians 21-13, 19-21, 21-18 and win their second title in a row. That proves the number twos are better than Kien Keat/Boon Heong.

"Today I'm very happy that I had a great match today. It can be considered a world class game. I'm very happy of our performance even if we lost," said Kien Keat at the press conference.

Yong-dae said that the match was fun: "Koo and Tan's defense is very good and that really got the fans going. It was very tiring and if we hadlost, we would have really regretted it. Overall, it was really a fun match to play."

Yong-dae has collected 4 China Open titles.

Too Good for Jorgensen

Lin Dan poses with Jan O Jorgensen

China's best men's singles player Lin Dan was too strong for unexperienced Jan O Jorgensen. Lin Dan triumphed over the Danish in an easy 38-minute two sets, 21-12, 21-12.

"I feel that this year, compared to other men's singles players on BW circuit, my results were not the best," said Lin Dan.

'This is mainly because Bao Chunlai won four competitions and I also won four and same for Lee Chong Wei. Everything was quite balanced. But for me, in 2009, I am very happy that I had a smooth sailing year."

However, what Lin Dan said is not quite right since his teammate Bao Chunlai only won 3 titles this year.

"Winning a home is always a great feelinga nd I am glad I did as I had some injuries before the tournament. It's the end of the year and I am quite satisfied with my performance after the Olympics.

"I've grown to be a better player from 2004 to 2008, and now, I am also seking to be even better. I feel like I still have a lot in me and I would like to prepare the best I can for London Olympics," stated Lin Dan.

All-Chinese Women's Finals

Hong Kong Open finalist, Jiang Yanjiao, ends her title drough in 2009 as she gains women's singles title. She repeated her last-year success in China with a victory 21-19, 22-20 over unseeded Wang Xin.

Zhang Yawen/Tian Qing humbled 2008 Olympic gold medalists, Yu Yang/Du Jing, 21-14, 21-14. This win may delay Zhang's retirement as she has planned a retirement because of several injuries.


pictures by and internationalbadminton

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Satisfactory Saturday

Shanghai - Lee Yong-dae and Lee Hyo-jung produce a satisfying result in China Open semi-final as they reached their first final after two-month absence. Nevertheless, the top seeds had to strove hard to shatter the dream of Thailand's last and only hopes, Songpol Anukritayawan and Kuchala Worawichitchaikul.

Yong-dae (21) and Hyo-jung (28) beat Songpol/Kuchala 21-13, 20-22, and 21-15 to oppose. In fact, the Olympic gold medalists had led 20-19 in the second set, but seventh-seeded Songpol and Kuchala chased the points and won the second set 22-20. In the third set, Yong-dae/Hyo-jung controlled the match since they left Songpol/Kuchala 5-2.

Next Yong-dae/Hyo-jung will have a final showdown with world number three who are seeded second, Zheng Bo/Ma Jin.

Yong-dae Mighty Is He Lee Yong-dae

Once again, Lee Yong-dae showed how mighty he is as he and Jung Jae-sung join in the men's doubles final. Yong-dae played six sets and two deuces in a day: three sets and a deuce in mixed doubles as well as in men's doubles.
Next the world number two will give a real test for Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong whether Kien Keat/Boon Heong deserve world number one title or not.

Yong-dae/Jae-sung, two-time world championship finalists, outstripped fourth-seeded Carsten Mogensen and Mathias Boe with a tough 21-16, 19-21, 23-21 triumph in an hour 19 minutes.

The Korean pair was left behind 3-10 in the final set and trailed behind, equalizing 13-13 and 16-16 before they began to chase point after point to 23-21 win.

Contrary to 2008 All England champions' difficult victory, 2007 All England winners -Kien Keat/Boon Heong easily advance to the final after 21-15, 21-13 win over unseeded Chen Hong-Ling/Lin Yu-Lang in just 26 minutes.

“We do not have a good record against them. The last time we played against them was in the Malaysian Open this year and we were beaten in the semi-finals," Boon Heong commented about the final against the Koreans, quoted from thestar.

Seeded vs. Unseeded

Home player, second-seeded Lin Dan, will have a duel with unseeded Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark in the men's singles final. Lin Dan, who has a group of prestigious title such as Olympic gold medal, world champion for three times in a row, and four-times All England champion, mastered Korean Park Sung-hwan 21-10, 21-11.

Meanwhile, O Jorgensen, who never win even one first-rate title, made a big effort to hinder all-Chinese final as he brought disappointment to Lin Dan's countryman Chen Jin 11-21, 21-18, and 22-20.

Saturday (11/22) Semi-final Results:

Women's singles
6-Jiang Yanjiao (CHN) def. Wang Shixian (CHN) 21-17, 21-14
Wang Xin (CHN) def. Li Xuerui (CHN) 21-19. 21-19

Women's doubles
6-Tian Qing/Zhang Yawen (CHN) def. 3-Wong Pei Tty/Chin Eei Hui (MAS) 21-17, 21-8
2-Yu Yang/Du Jing (CHN) def. 4-Ma Jin/Wang Xiaoli (CHN) 22-20, 21-18

Friday, November 20, 2009

Songpol/Kuchala Challenges Top Seeds

Thailand's Japan Open winners, Songpol Anukritayawan/Kuchala Worawichitchaikul, will challenge Korea's world number one pair of Korea, Lee Yong-dae and Lee Hyo-jung, after subduing Chen Hong-Ling/Chou Chia-Chi in tough three sets, 11-21, 21-17. and 21-16.

Yong-dae and Hyo-jung cruise to the semi-final with a straight-set 21-18, 21-15 win over China's Tao Jiaming/Tian Qing in 41 minutes. 2008 Olympic gold medalists are looking for their third title of this year.

Local players Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei and world number three Zheng Bo/Ma Jin also progress to the semi-final. Zhang/Zhao beat Indonesian tough new pair Lilyana Natsir/Devin Lahardi 21-14, 14-21, and 21-14 while Zheng/Ma defeated Taiwan's Lee Sheng-Mu/Chien Yu-Chin 21-12, 21-16. Lilyana used to be Nova Widhianto's partner and Devin was Lita Nurlita's.

Yong-dae Fabulous He Lee Yong-dae

As usual, 21-year-old Lee Yong-dae has a good stamina and wonderful performance that he is able to reach two semi-finals. In the men's doubles, Yong-dae and Jung Jae-sung (27) overpowered home players, Guo Zhendong/Xu Chen 21-14 and 21- to compete against fourth seeds, Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen.

However, Yong-dae/Jae-sung's success is not followed by countrymen Shin Baek-cheol/Cho Gun-woo. Baek-cheol and Gun-woo, both of whom had been Yong-dae's partners, bowed down to Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong after giving a tough fight. Kien Keat and Boon Heong struggled hard before winning the match 15-21, 21-18, 21-18.

Singles' Semi-final-Ticket Bookers

In the men's singles another Korean player, Park Sung-hwan, has the opportunity to meet one of the world's best badminton players, Lin Dan. Sixth-seeded Park needed to pay the semi-final ticket with a marathon match against China's Du Pengyu, 23-21, 18-21, and 21-14, in an hour and 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, world champion Lin Dan just needed 37 minute to humble Indonesian Simon Santoso in a comfortable 21-12, 21-12 win. In the top half, Lin Dan's teammate Chen Jin defeated Simon's teammate, Sony Dwi Kuncoro, 21-16, 15-21, and 21-12, to take on Danish Jan O Jorgensen.

O Jorgensen, who shocked top seed Lee Chong Wei by giving Lee a first round exit, continued his success to the last four after prevailing over Thailand's number one Boonsak Ponsana 21-11, 21-19.

In the women's singles, Wong Mew Choo failed to prevent all-Chinese semi-final by surrendering to China's Wang Shixian 10-21, 22-24. Mew Choo, the China Open 2007 winner, led 11-7 in the second set and left Wang 20-19 and 22-21. Nonetheless, she could not maintain her position and let Wang equalized the score 22 all and then won 24-22.

Wang will play the only seeded player, Jiang Yanjiao, in the semi-final. In the bottom half, qualifier Li Xuerui stunned world champion Lu Lan in only two sets, 21-17, 21-19, to face Wang Xin in the semi-final.

ATP World Tour Final Opening Match

Roger Federer poses with car prize in Shanghai after winning Tennis Masters Cup 2007 against David Ferrer

British Andy Murray will open the first day of ATP World Tour Final with a match against 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in the afternoon round robin match on Sunday (11/22). The following match will be world number one and four-time Tenis Masters cup champion, Roger Federer, facing Fernando Verdasco in the evening session.

Federer, Murray, Del Potro, and Verdasco are in a Group A.

Spanish world number two Rafael Nadal will play Swede Robin Soderling in a Group B match on Monday as defending champion Novak Djokovic will meet last year finalist Nikolay Davydenko during Monday's evening session.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Shining in Shanghai

Shanghai - Lee Yong-dae and Lee Hyo-jung, who completed their revenge to Fran Kurniawan and Pia Zebadiah 21-11 and 21-14 in the first round, successfully passed the second-round test from Flandy Limpele and Cheng Wen-Hsing with a 18-21, 21-17, and 21-7 triumph. In the quarter-final, the world number one will confront Tao Jiaming and Tian Qing of China.

Lee Yong-dae also shines in the men's doubles. He and Jung Jae-sung also progress to the quarter-final following a 22-20 and 21-13 victory over Tao and Sun Junjie in just 31 minutes.

Another Chinese pair who stand in their way are Guo Zhendong and Xu Chen, who sank Indonesia's Rian Sukmawan and Yonathan Suryatama Dasuki 21-17 and 21-19.

Astonishingly, former world number one Hendra Setiawan and Markis Kido crashed out to Fang Chieh-Min and Lee Sheng-Mu 19-21, 21-11, and 21-15. The Taiwanese pair will meet fellow countrymen, Chen Hung-Ling and Lin Yu-Lang.

Another teammate clash happens in other quarter-final match. Last week Hong Kong finalists Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen will face Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen.

Meanwhile, at the top of the draw, Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong are challenged by Korea's young Shin Baek-cheol and Cho Gun-woo.

Local Favorite Lin Dan Marches On

Defending champion Lin Dan moves to the quarter-final of China Open Super Series after defeating his junior Chen Long 21-12 and 21-15 in 38 minutes. Next, he will play Indonesia's Simon Santoso.

Also through to the quarter-finals are two other local players, Chen Jin and Du Pengyu. Fourth seed Chen will meet another Indonesian, Sony Dwi Kuncoro, while Du will face the tough Korean Park Sung-hwan, who beat Wong Choong Hann 21-15, 21-16 previously.

In the topmost half, Jan O Jorgensen, who surpassed Lee Chong Wei in the first round, will play against Thailand's number one Boonsak Ponsana.

Wong Mew Choo among 7 Chinese

After an unsatisfactory run in Hong Kong, Wong Mew Choo surprisingly stunned the world number one from China, Wang Yihan, in an only straight-set match, 21-18 and 21-17. However, she is surrounded by other seven quarter-finalists, who have the advantage of playing in their own homeland. Wong will take on China Masters winner, Wang Shixian, who defeated Maria Kristin of Indonesia.

Besides Lu Lan, Wang Xin, and sixth-seeded Jiang Yanjiao, three qualifiers made it to the quarters as well. Unexpected Xia Jingyun ousted seventh seed Saina Nehwal; Wang Xin downed second-seeded Tine Rasmussen, and Lu Lan eliminated her higher-ranked junior, Wang Lin.

Four of eight quarter-final berths for the women's doubles have been captured by local players: Cheng Shu/Zhao Yunlei (seeded 1), Yu Yang/Du Jing (2), Ma Jin/Wang Xiaoli (4), and Tian Qing/Zhang Yawen (6).

The rest are taken by Ha Jung-eun/Lee Kyung-won, Duanganong Aroonkesorn/Kuchala Worawichitchaikul, Wong Pei Tty/Chin Eei Hui, and Wang Pei-Rong/Chien Yu-Chin.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An Opportunity to Revenge

Top-seeded Lee Yong-dae and Lee Hyo-jung have the opportunity to revenge against Indonesia's Fran Kurniawan and Pia Zebadiah who defeat the Korean pair in last week Hong Kong Open second round, 19-21, 19-21.

Yong-dae/Hyo-jung will face Fran/Pia in China Open first round that will start tomorrow (11/18). If they pass Fran/Pia, they will receive a challenge from compatriot Ko Sung-hyun/Ha Jung-eun or Indonesia's Flandy Limpele and Taiwan's Cheng Wen-Hsing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hong Kong Open Final

  • Lee Yong-dae and Jung Jae-sung Are Too Good

    Korean best men’s doubles pair, Lee Yong-dae and Jung Jae-sung won Hong Kong Open title with a 13-21, 21-15, and 21-8 triumph over 2003 world champions, Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen, in 50 minutes. 21-year-old Yong-dae and Jae-sung (27) were too powerful for the veterans.

    In the third set, Yong-dae and Jae-sung successfully made big gap in their points as they left the Danishes 17-3 and they ultimately ovecame Paaske/Rasmussen 21-8. This is Yong-dae's fourth men's doubles title of this year after Indonesia Open, German Open, and Malaysia Open.

  • Surprising Winners

    Mateusiak and Nadiezda Kostiuczyk of Poland surprised former world number one pair, Nova Widhianto and Lilyana Natsir, by upsetting in straight sets. 2007 world champions suffered 20-22 and 16-21 loss in 32 minutes. It was the shortest match of the day.

  • So-so Matches

    Lee Chong Wei (27) exceeded another Danish finalist, Peter Gade, 21-13, 13-21, and 21-16. Chong Wei needed to rise and fall to finish the third seed. However, his win is not surprising because he played better than Gade and his rank is higher than Gade.

    China's Wang Yihan subdued teammate Jiang Yanjiao 21-13 and 21-15. Wang Xiaoli/Ma Jin claimed women’s doubles title as they beat 2008 Olympic gold medalists, Yu Yang and Du Jing, in 58 marathon, 16-21, 21-19, and 21-12.

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First Final after Two-Month Absence

Hong Kong (11/14) - Lee Yong-dae and Jung Jae-sung cruise to Hong Kong Open final as they edged Indonesia's Alvent Yulianto and Hendra Gunawan out 21-15, 21-14 in 31 minutes at Queen Elizabeth Stadium. This is the Korean pair first appearance after their two-month absence because of Yong-dae's injury. And the world number two pair prove they have the quality of world class by achieving the final.

In the first set, Alvent/Hendra led 6-4 before the third seeds, Yong-dae/Jae-sung, turned back the points to be 18-13 and won the set 21-15.

The second set was like the first set when Yong-dae/Jae-sung was left 1-8. They chased the points and when it was 8-8, it became their turning point. After that, the 2008 All England champions always led the set, defeating Alvent/Hendra 21-14.

Yong-dae and Jae-sung will take on Lars Paaske/Jonas Rasmussen of Denmark. Paaske/Rasmussen progress to the final with a 13-21, 21-11, and 21-17 victory over eight-seeded Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah.

Tan Fook and Wan Wah failed to repeat their quarter-final successful win, blowing second seeds, Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong, out easily in just straight sets, 21-12 and 21-17. Although Tan Fook/Wan Wah controlled the third set 10-3 and 12-8, Paaske/Rasmussen equalized their score several times and even left them behind 21-17.

China Gain Two Women's Title

Hong Kong (11/14) - China clinch two Yonex Sunrise Open titles after they put all-Chinese women's final in tomorrow matches. Women's singles player, Jiang Yanjiao, began the women's Chinese domination by beating teammate top seed Wang Lin 21-18, 21-14.

Women's doubles pair, Yu Yang/Du Jing, continued China's reign as they prevailed over, Wong Pei Tty/Chin Eei Hui, in a tough 12-21, 21-18, and 21-16 match. They will take on Ma Jin/Wang Xiaoli who stunned another Chinese pair, Cheng Shu/Zhao Yunlei, 21-19, 21-14.

Wang Xin contended against women's singles world number one Wang Yihan before submitting in a three-set battle, 8-21, 21-13, and 17-21.

However, China's women's outcome is not followed by their only men's singles semi-finalists, Bao Chunlai. The unseed crashed out after a 17-21, 12-21 defeat to Lee Chong Wei. Chong Wei will meet Danish third seed Peter Gade who overthrew surprising Kenichi Tago of Japan 21-12, 21-13.

In the mixed doubles, 2008 Olympic silver medalists of Indonesia, Nova Widhianto/Lilyana Natsir, sail to the final with a 21-14, 21-13 win over countrymen Hendra Gunawan/Vita Marissa whom they beat in French Open final last two weeks. The former world number will play Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Kostiuczyk.

The Poland pair create a surprise by achieving their first super series final. They surpassed Fang Chieh-Min/Wang Pei-Rong 16, 21-16, and 24-22.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lee Yong-dae and Jung Jae-sung Breeze to Semi-final

Korea's top men's doubles player Lee Yong-dae and Jung Jae-sung breezes to Hong Kong Open semi-final after prevailing over Anthony Clark and Nathan Robertson 17-21, 21-16, and 21-16.

They will play sixth-seeded Indonesian Hendra Aprida Gunawan/Alvent Yulianto who surprsingly stopped 2008 Olympic gold-medalists Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan's journey with a 21-11, 21-18 win.

In the quarter-final, Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah will challenge second-seeded countrymen, Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, after beating Luluk Hadiyanto and Joko Riyadi in an easy match, 21-7, 21-13.

However, Tan Fook and Wan Wah's success was not followed by compatriot Chan Chong Ming/Chew Choon Eng who bowed down to Hendra Wijaya and Hendri Saputra after a 21-17, 12-21, 22-24 fight in the second round.

Indonesia Make Sure of Mixed Doubles Finalists

After Nova Widhianto/Lilyana Natsir's win over He Hanbin/Yu Yang, Indonesia make sure of a final spot since Nova and Lilyana will face either Hendra Aprida Gunawan/Vita Marissa or Fran Kurniawna/Pia Zebadiah.

In the men's singles, Lee Chong Wei survived to the semi-final after struggling to beat Muhammad Hafiz Hashim. Hafiz gave a tough fight to Chong Wei even though Hafiz finally lost 21-10, 15-21, and 22-24.

Chong Wei will take on China's Bao Chunlai. Bao Chunlai conquered qualifier Dionysius Rumbaka of Indonesia 21-15 and 21-15. Indonesia place no players in men's singles semi-final after Simon Santoso failed to beat third seed Peter Gade. Simon lost 12-21, 8-21 in 35 minutes.

China book three women's doubles semi-final tickets and make sure a final place as Cheng Shu/Zhao Yunlei will compete against Ma Jin/Wang Xiaoli. Cheng/Zhao defeated Kim Min-jung/Park Sun-young of Korea 21-11, 23-21 while Ma/Wang downed another Korean pair, Ha Jung-eun/Lee Kyung-won, 21-13, 21-16.

Ha is Kim's former partner while Lee Kyung-won usually played with Lee Hyo-jung. However, in this tournament, Lee Hyo-jung only played in mixed doubles with Lee Yong-dae. Hyo-jung and Yong-dae had lost in the second round.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Eduardo: We Can Win Trophies


Arsenal striker Eduardo believes his side can surprise many observers and end their trophy drought this season.

The Gunners currently lie in second place in the Premier League, five points behind London rivals Chelsea, but with a game in hand.

And they welcome the Blues to the Emirates later this month in a certainly vital game for both clubs as they pursue Premier League glory.

Speaking to the Press Association, Eduardo stated, "At the moment we are improving a lot and feel stronger mentally - the atmosphere inside the squad is good, we are very together.

"We are doing very well at the moment and I hope we can produce a big suprise this year."

Arsenal is in superb form now, having won five of their last six Premier League matches and scoring at an astonishing rate of over three goals per game.

When asked about his injuries, Eduardo responded, "I am feeling good. At the beginning of the season, I had a few injury niggles, but I am okay now and ready to help the team rise to the top of the table, as well as progressing in the Champions League."

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Hong Kong Open First Round Selected Results

First Round, Wednesday (11/11) Selected Results:

All mixed doubles first round matches were played on Tuesday (11/10).

Men's Doubles
1-Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan (INA) def. Fang Chieh-Min/Lee Sheng-Mu (TPE) 23-21, 21-19
Chan Chong Ming/Chew Choon Eng (MAS) def. Songpol Anukritayawan/Sudket Prapakamol 23-21, 22-20
8-Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah (MAS) def. Chen Zhiben/Shen Ye (CHN) 21-12, 21-13
Rian Sukmawan/Yonathan Dasuki (INA) def. Chen Hung-Ling/Lin Yu-Lang (TPE) 21-9, 21-19
Cho Gun-woo/Shin Baek-cheol (KOR) def. Candra Wijaya/Flandy Limpele (INA) 21-19, 18-21, 21-16
2-Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong (MAS) def. Howard Bach/Tony Gunawan (USA) 21-19, 21-16

Men's Singles
Hu Yun (CHN) def. 4-Chen Jin (CHN) 22-20, 11-7 retired
Bao Chunlai (CHN) def. Arvind Bhat (IND) 19-21, 21-11, 21-16
Kenichi Tago (JPN) def. Wong Choong Hann (MAS) 16-21, 21-19, 21-14
Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (THA) def. Sony Dwi Kuncoro (INA) 21-13, 19-21, 21-16
Dionysius Rumbaka (INA) def. Boonsak Ponsana (THA) 22-20, 21-19

Women's Singles
2-Zhou Mi (HKG) def. Fransisca Ratnasari (INA) 21-19, 21-18
4-Tine Rasmussen (DEN) def. Wong Mew Choo (MAS) 21-15, 21-19
Yao Jie (NED) def. 8-Saina Nehwal (IND) 21-16, 21-12
Salakjit Ponsana (THA) def. Maria Kristin (INA) 16-21, 21-18, 23-21
5-Pi Hongyan (FRA) def. Sayaka Sato (JPN) 21-17, 21-12

Women's Doubles
5-Ha Jung-eun/Lee Kyung-won (KOR) def. Chang Yun-Hsin/Chou Chia-Chi 21-11, 23-21
Duanganong Aroonkesorn/Kuchala Worawichitchaikul (THA) def. Jenny Wallwork/Gabrielle White (ENG) 21-18, 11-21, 22-20

Cesc Will Celebrate One Year Captaincy on November 25

Cesc points after scoring Arsenal's third goal to Wolverhampton

Cesc Fabregas insists that the responsibility of captaining Arsenal has not changed him at all.

The Spanish midfielder was just 21 when he was handed the armband by Arsene Wenger last year and will celebrate the anniversary of his first game as skipper on November 25.

A serious knee injury diluted his influence last season but Cesc has led by example this term. He tops Arsenal's scoring charts with nine goals and has helped the team to second place in the Premier League and to within a point of the Champions League knockout stages.

Cesc appears to have taken the captaincy in his stride and the 22-year-old believes his teammates have made the job easier for him.

"The captaincy hasn't changed me at all," he said.

"My teammates have done a great job for me as well, to be honest. They showed me they believe and help me with everything. There has never been any trouble so I am very happy with how things are going."

This time last year Arsenal's team spirit was questioned during the final days of William Gallas' captaincy but Cesc insists he leads a united dressing room.

"The issue with William is gone for us," said Cesc.

"We don't think about it anymore and are happy with the way things are going at the moment. The dressing room has alaways been really together and kept believing.

"Even if we didn't win anything last year, we were really close and in all the competitions right until the end. So the mood in the dressing room is always really positive."

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Lee Yong-dae Is Back

Hong Kong (11/10) - Korean doubles player Lee Yong-dae won in his first appearance after a two-month absence due to injury. He played with Lee Hyo-jung in mixed doubles first round. The world number one pair overcame Thailand's Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thungthongkam in straight sets, 23-21 and 21-13.

The 2008 Olympic gold medalists will take on Fran Kurniawan and Pia Zebadiah of Indonesia. Other Korean mixed doubles pairs, Ko Sung-hyun/Ha Jung-eun and Shin Baek-cheol/Kim Min-jung also progress to the second round. Ko Sung-hyun and Ha Jung-eun beat Koo Kien Keat/Wong Pei Tty in a tough match, 21-18, 17-21, and 21-19, while Shin Baek-cheol and Kim Min-jung easily won over Albertus Njoto/Chan Hung Yung. 21-11 and 21-15.

Lee Yong-dae, pairing with Jung Jae-sung in the men's doubles, did not need to play a first round match because their opponent, Guo Zhendong and Xu Chen, withdrew. In the second round, Yong-dae and Jae-sung will face Hirokatsu Hashimoto and Noriyasu Hirata of Japan.

Lin Dan Withdraws

Three times world champion and four times Hong Kong Open winner, Lin Dan, withdrew from Hong Kong Open due to an ankle injury. His absence will make the race of men's singles title more competitive. His place is taken by lucky qualifier Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand. Tanongsak will play Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the first round.

Besides Lin Dan, China's number one mixed doubles pair Zheng Bo and Ma Jin, seeded 2, also withdrew, giving Henry Tam and Donna Haliday of New Zealand a free second-round berth. Men's doubles world champions, Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, also withdrew.