China eyes All England badminton crown

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - 09:51

Birmingham: China’s chances of winning five All-England Open titles for only the second time will be enhanced if Tine Baun loses her fight to be ready to defend the women’s singles title here this week.

The tall Dane has been battling a persistent heel injury which is threatening her bid to win the world tour’s oldest tournament for a third time in four years. It is due to begin at Britain’s national indoor arena on Wednesday.

The hard-hitting and often inspirational champion has recently been the only woman capable of resisting a Chinese hegemony which has brought seven of the last ten All-England women’s singles titles.

If there were a repeat of the clean sweep which the world’s most powerful badminton nation managed here two years ago, it would send a strong message with the start of the qualifying period for the London Olympics only a month away.

Baun has been struggling for the past three weeks, and her preparations have been badly restricted by an injury which worsened during last month’s European team championships in Amsterdam.

“It was the same story -- I am in perfect form and feel good, and then I get an injury,” said Baun, who had similar problems with a heel before the world championships in Paris in August as well.
“For two weeks I’ve had no practice at all -- I was only standing still. For a while I felt ‘oh my god it’s not possible to go to the All-England’.

“I had a lot of pain in the heel. But it improved last week so I have a little bit of faith that maybe I can do it.”

Baun will make a late decision on whether or not to try for another title in what this year has become one of the five tournaments in the new BWF Premier Series -- badminton’s equivalent to tennis’ four Grand Slams.

She may try to feed off memories of Paris where she bravely reached the semi-finals despite carrying a similar injury.

“Memories like these are keeping my spirits up,” she said. “It is tough to recover from injury but sometimes it releases something else - and then you just play.

“It’s terrible when you can’t practise. Your mood is down, you don’t have any humour, and everything is down. But when you don’t have such high expectations, you just feel happy about playing badminton,” she explained.
Baun thinks the favourite for the title is probably Wang Yihuan, who is only seeded second, but who beat Baun, then Tine Rasmussen, in the final two years ago.

“I think they all have difference styles,” Baun said of the leading Chinese players.

“Wang Shixian is very precise and very good at moving around the court but she doesn’t have the power that the other two girls have (Wang Yihuan and Wang Xin)

“I think Wang Xin is also good at moving but also at exploding and very good at reading the game.

“Wang Yihiuan is a more attacking player, and when everything is good for her she is the best player. But she also is maybe like myself: some days you don’t hit your attacks that precise and maybe make mistakes. I think she’s a similar player as me.”

Baun is the fourth seed, but when physically fit is capable of beating anyone with her fierce and steep attacking game, especially when helped by the big support she often gets from English crowds.

Baun knows that making the best of an imperfect situation is crucial to give her momentum as she moves into what may be the last 18 months of her career.

The 31-year-old hopes to continue until the 2012 Olympics, but may plan to play a few tournaments afterwards so she doesn’t have to cope with the fear that her efforts at the Games might be her last match.
China is top-seeded in three of this week’s events -- the women’s singles and doubles, and the mixed doubles.

However Olympic champion Lin Dan and world champion Chen Jin should be serious contenders for the men’s singles title which is held by Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, while world champions Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng may be capable of winning back the men’s doubles title they have won twice here before.

Bureau Report
Baun thinks the favourite for the title is probably Wang Yihuan, who is only seeded second, but who beat Baun, then Tine Rasmussen, in the final two years ago.

“I think they all have difference styles,” Baun said of the leading Chinese players.

“Wang Shixian is very precise and very good at moving around the court but she doesn’t have the power that the other two girls have (Wang Yihuan and Wang Xin)

“I think Wang Xin is also good at moving but also at exploding and very good at reading the game.

“Wang Yihiuan is a more attacking player, and when everything is good for her she is the best player. But she also is maybe like myself: some days you don’t hit your attacks that precise and maybe make mistakes. I think she’s a similar player as me.”

Baun is the fourth seed, but when physically fit is capable of beating anyone with her fierce and steep attacking game, especially when helped by the big support she often gets from English crowds.

Baun knows that making the best of an imperfect situation is crucial to give her momentum as she moves into what may be the last 18 months of her career.

The 31-year-old hopes to continue until the 2012 Olympics, but may plan to play a few tournaments afterwards so she doesn’t have to cope with the fear that her efforts at the Games might be her last match.

China is top-seeded in three of this week’s events -- the women’s singles and doubles, and the mixed doubles.

However Olympic champion Lin Dan and world champion Chen Jin should be serious contenders for the men’s singles title which is held by Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, while world champions Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng may be capable of winning back the men’s doubles title they have won twice here before.

Bureau Report



First Published: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - 09:51

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