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    Default AE 2008 SF Review

    So I missed yesterday, but went today in the hope of buying some tickets outside the stadium and managed it.....hopefully tomorrow will work the same!

    Today had some good matches, but I have to say most were just so so.

    CTF/LWW Vs LYD/JJS:

    In the first game the KOR pair blew MAS pair away, they were far superior throughout. During the second game MAS pair were more focussed and cut through the KOR defence well. During the third game CTF/LWW were on top for almost all the game, the KOR had little idea how to win points, and most of these points came from MAS errors..KOR defending most of the time. But as always, as soon as they get the game point they think they have won the match. On one of the early matche points (2nd or 3rd) they had may oppurtunities to put the shuttle away, but somehow KOR got it back. As soon as this point finished I told my partner KOR would win. MAS felt they should have already won it and lost their focus. The errors came in and the result was never in doubt!

    To put this into perspective LYD was Yelow carded (rightly so) for dissent - in which he barracked the umpires stand and went eye to eye with a linejudge - which was totally unacceptable. If I remember rightly this happend when MAS were 4 points clear on 19 points. The next point it was like nothing happened. That is the kind of focus MAS pair will never have.


    ZB/GL vs XZB/ZY:


    A walk over would have been better. The first game was pretty poor from ZB/GL with not much effort apparent, then the second game was a rout, with XZB in particular obviously not trying. Then just as the Umpire called for the players to return to the court for G3 they shook hands and went off....no obvious event or injury apparent.

    Of note during this "match" and Thursdays play however it was apparent that GL does not attack the net as much as she used too (I think I said this last year too) and often loses some advantage as a result. See the review of INA vs ENG for a plus side of this.

    Lu Lan Vs Xu:


    Not very interesting, Xu making mistakes and tired from yesterday.

    CJ vs LCW:

    This was also dissapointing for me. I noted on thursday that LCW was looking lethargic and has reverted to deception now. In the first Game IMO He played completely the wrong tactics. He was rallying with CJ, with no speed or aggressiveness. as CJ is not super Quick (like LD for ex) he can play like this all day, he simply matched LCW up to 15-15 then injected some pace and attacking play and LCW did not respond. He simply seemed resigned to losing the first match.

    In the second there was again no sign of the effective LCW, fast, powerful and attacking, he simply used deception on every shot he played, hoping CJ made a mistake and when he started to tire in the rally he himself made a mistake. He is far less potent like this than as speedy agressive player. He awoke once h was 17-14 down, and CJ was under pressure when he speeded the rallies up. CJ was playing behind himself and LW was Moving forward, but LCW seemed confused as to what he can acheive and how he should be playing.

    CJ really is an unconfortable watch for me. He has good fight, covers the court well, but has no real weapons, his smash, net play, deception, drops are all so so. He also seems to have no idea as to what he is trying to acheiv, he just plays to whatever his opponent does and plays the same way. He needs to stamp his authority on his matches.

    Nova/Natsir vs Robertson/Emms:

    Quite an easy victory really. What really Irks me about Robertson is that he only plays for half a rally. He is fine if the shuttle is in front of him or around him he smash fairly well and attack the net, but when it is pushed to the rear court, or he is made to move side to side he cannot do anything with the shuttle. The first game was played very well by INA pair. They simply retuned the smashes which frustrates the ENG pair and then Killed the shuttle when they had chances.

    The second game was very poor. Robertson was trying hard in the first half trying to put effort into the attacking play, but once the interval came the impetus had gone and they were never in it. Both side made many mistakes.

    On a tactical point in XD it seems the ENG pair are the only top pair who play with the Female almost exclusively at the net, Gail very rarely defends from the side, and because of standing so close to the net, she makes some kills which look good, but the amount of oppurtunities which a missed because 50/50 shots pass her by limits their potency. Additionally Gail is very limited in the rea court, when pushed back she can really only clear back or drop. When Gao/Natsir/LHJ/KRY are at the back they can be incisive and force a mistake from their opponents, ENG simply are struggling until they are back in position.

    This is taken to the extreme with ZB/GL when Gao spend quite a lot of time either at the side or at the back compared with other pairs.

    LD vs BCL:

    Not very good. LD is far better than BCL now. BCL is still near textbook with his footwork and placement, but makes too many errors, is limited in his defensive ability and gets nervous. There is no substitute or Mental strength and pure will to win at this level where skill levels are similar.

    Tine Vs HYY:

    Should have been a good game, but Tine was very impressive and dominated the court, HYY could not cope with the power of Tines' attack nor the retrieval of her shots, and HYY lacked the firepower to penetrate.

    I am Sure Mag will be smiling that TR has finally acheived something. I think she will win tomorrow. Her biggest weakness is errors however. She must have given HYY 50% of her points in unforced errors hitting the shuttle out.

    LHJ/LKW vs Yang/Zhang:

    To my surprise the KOR pair deservedly won. Lee KW was as consistent and fit as ever, and Lee HJ maintained the consistency that she often lacks, she stayed focussed throughout the match even at critical points, and if LHJ plays the ame tomorrow then they will win the title.

    LJJ/HJM vs Ikeda/Sakamoto:

    This was not really exciting. the JPN pair are alright, but KOR always looked like the victors. JPN are quick in attack but lack power. Their defence is what got them to the SF, but this was a game too far.

    Du/Yu vs Wei/ZHang:

    Another dull affair. Du/Yu despite their size are very powerful. They play much more angles than is typical in WD, which makes it interesting to watch, but as a contest, it was not so interesting.


    So My final Predictions are:

    MS: LD

    WS: TR

    MD: LYD/JJS

    WD: LHJ/LKW (even though I do like Du/Yu to watch)

    XD: ZB/GL but in reality it is 50/50 either way I really want to see Gao attack the net more, against INA pair who play quite a number of net shots it has to be the way to play.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesd20 View Post
    SoNova/Natsir vs Robertson/Emms:

    Quite an easy victory really. What really Irks me about Robertson is that he only plays for half a rally. He is fine if the shuttle is in front of him or around him he smash fairly well and attack the net, but when it is pushed to the rear court, or he is made to move side to side he cannot do anything with the shuttle. The first game was played very well by INA pair. They simply retuned the smashes which frustrates the ENG pair and then Killed the shuttle when they had chances.

    The second game was very poor. Robertson was trying hard in the first half trying to put effort into the attacking play, but once the interval came the impetus had gone and they were never in it. Both side made many mistakes.

    On a tactical point in XD it seems the ENG pair are the only top pair who play with the Female almost exclusively at the net, Gail very rarely defends from the side, and because of standing so close to the net, she makes some kills which look good, but the amount of oppurtunities which a missed because 50/50 shots pass her by limits their potency. Additionally Gail is very limited in the rea court, when pushed back she can really only clear back or drop. When Gao/Natsir/LHJ/KRY are at the back they can be incisive and force a mistake from their opponents, ENG simply are struggling until they are back in position.

    This is taken to the extreme with ZB/GL when Gao spend quite a lot of time either at the side or at the back compared with other pairs.
    i alway see gail as the weak link in this pair. I sometime wonder what if the ENG put together the best players from the ENG team, like trying the combination of Kellogg and Robertson. Kellogg can smash and handle well if pushed to the rear. If ENG team want to make any headway against the asian opponents, they have to pair up their best players.

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    I think they both have their weaknesses and strengths. I Actually think RObertson/Emms over acheive on their capabilities. Nathan has his weaknesses too court coverage, fitness, mental etc.. I can't see a Kellog/Robertson combo doing any better than WC, OG Silver and AE champs

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    Going back to MD the drama of the finish somewhat distracted me from talking about LYD, who really is in a class of his own at the net now. He took apart LWW at controlling the net. From his serve and oppnents return he dominated this area.

    He is reminding me more of KDM everytime I see him. His patience in attacking play, strong service & shot selection is remeniscent of the great man. It is strange however he has not translated this into XD play as yet. LHJ is perhaps the reason. She is strong from the back, but not so at the front. If KOR can find a good Female front player they can dominate this discipline again too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesd20 View Post

    CTF/LWW Vs LYD/JJS:

    In the first game the KOR pair blew MAS pair away, they were far superior throughout. During the second game MAS pair were more focussed and cut through the KOR defence well. During the third game CTF/LWW were on top for almost all the game, the KOR had little idea how to win points, and most of these points came from MAS errors..KOR defending most of the time. But as always, as soon as they get the game point they think they have won the match. On one of the early matche points (2nd or 3rd) they had may oppurtunities to put the shuttle away, but somehow KOR got it back. As soon as this point finished I told my partner KOR would win. MAS felt they should have already won it and lost their focus. The errors came in and the result was never in doubt!

    To put this into perspective LYD was Yelow carded (rightly so) for dissent - in which he barracked the umpires stand and went eye to eye with a linejudge - which was totally unacceptable. If I remember rightly this happend when MAS were 4 points clear on 19 points. The next point it was like nothing happened. That is the kind of focus MAS pair will never have.
    Nice write up and that's something I don't understand about CTW/LWW either. They should be very experienced for their over 10 years of badminton career but even amateur like us can easily seen their problem for not trying hard at crucial moment.

    It has been countless of time that they lost after first reaching game point and often with few points of margin. It is a shame because I actually believed they had a good chance to grab the title when they are the highest seed left in the draw and I think they deserve it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesd20 View Post
    I think they both have their weaknesses and strengths. I Actually think RObertson/Emms over acheive on their capabilities. Nathan has his weaknesses too court coverage, fitness, mental etc.. I can't see a Kellog/Robertson combo doing any better than WC, OG Silver and AE champs
    i attribute to Nathan's mental weakness from lack of trying only after when he see gail making errors after errors at the front.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cooler View Post
    i attribute to Nathan's mental weakness from lack of trying only after when he see gail making errors after errors at the front.
    I Disagree really....and even if this was the case, it shows mental weakness that this should affect his game too.

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    Default A bit off topic-Speaking of controlling the net..

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesd20 View Post
    Going back to MD the drama of the finish somewhat distracted me from talking about LYD, who really is in a class of his own at the net now. He took apart LWW at controlling the net. From his serve and oppnents return he dominated this area.
    ...
    ..this brings my memory back to last yr's WC in KL. As i watched, during the MD Semifinal match between LWW & CTF vs. MK & HS, i noticed the MAS pair was reluctant to play and get themselves "immersed" in playing the net. For some reason, they seemed uncomfortable playing around the net against the INA pair. And if there were, i didn't see much of it...I thought, LWW's & CTF's "vulnerability" in their game is playing around the net..
    *Btw, thanks again for your review, James-
    Last edited by ctjcad; 03-08-2008 at 11:32 PM.

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    Interesting write up James. About LCW and Chen Jin; I think this is one of those examples that confirm to me that Lee Chong Wei is a rhythm and intuition based player. I believe he plays his best game within the flow of the rally. By this I mean he doesn't win games and points through detailed tactical play or conscious use of strategies. You put him on court and his natural skills and talent expand and he develops the rallies organically.

    So when things are working his play seems effortless and his opponents cannot read his strokes or intentions. It is like trying to predict the movement of wind and rain. When the rhythm is on LCW is an incredibly tough play.

    When things aren't working though, or he cannot develop his rhythm the match falls apart. Not the same player. What is normally a strength becomes a weakness. His ability is hindered to develop a conscious recovery strategy or tactics when his intuitive play breaks down.

    For the SF against CJ it sounds like it was one of those days where his rhythm was off and he couldn't recover. I believe it's apart of the make up of a player like LCW, he is going to have these lapses. Against someone else he might have recovered enough, but CJ has efficient footwork, defence and tends not to make too many offensive errors.
    Last edited by hollywood_t; 03-11-2008 at 09:11 AM.

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    agree with you on that

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    I am beginning to wonder if Lee Chong Wei is indeed one of those players touted for his skills and stamina yet never manages a Major title. Always frozen on the big stage. I really would love him to prove me wrong.Sigh!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hollywood_t View Post
    Interesting write up James. About LCW and Chen Jin; I think this is one of those examples that confirm to me that Lee Chong Wei is a rhythm and intuition based player. I believe he plays his best game within the flow of the rally. By this I mean he doesn't win games and points through detailed tactical play or conscious use of strategies. You put him on court and his natural skills and talent expand and he develops the rallies organically.

    So when things are working his play seems effortless and his opponents cannot read his strokes or intentions. It is like trying to predict the movement of wind and rain. When the rhythm is on LCW is an incredibly tough play.

    When things aren't working though, or he cannot develop his rhythm the match falls apart. Not the same player. What is normally a strength becomes a weakness. His ability is hindered to develop a conscious recovery strategy or tactics when his intuitive play breaks down.

    For the SF against CJ it sounds like it was one of those days where his rhythm was off and he couldn't recover. I believe it's apart of the make up of a player like LCW, he is going to have these lapses. Against someone else he might have recovered enough, but CJ has efficient footwork, defence and tends not to make too many offensive errors.
    Sounds plausible.
    How do you explain his play against TH in QF or LD in HK07 where he thrashed LD in G1? He got into his rhythm straightaway when facing TH and LD? How do you explain LCW's strategy when he took apart CJ and BCL on consecutive days in FO07? You don't think LCW has control over how he wants to play a match? In FO07, he was carrying a fresh injury and he had no choice but to adopt a strategy that finished off his opponents in double quick time.That's why sometimes it's good to have no choice;then there's no chance of decision-making error and just must be 100% focussed.With his array of weapons, backed up by super fitness and stamina, LCW has plenty of options in terms of strategies and tactics.He also has guts, as shown in JO07.
    Maybe in AE, the brain deserted coach Misbun temporarily and that got passed on to LCW.Hopefully they learned from there and made this brain-tripping malaise extinct.

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