Sorry to make you read another report on the All England, but I visited the event from Fri-Sat, and watched at least one of the matches that were going on from time to time. If you are running late, then come back and read later, as it will probably a long one! MS: As always I am mainly intrested in MS, since it is my favourite event, so I tried to watch all of the games. I cannot comment on anything before the quarter finals, so I am only commenting on what I have seen from then on. QF: First up on friday was LCW Vs Roslin. I was expecting a LCW win, and was excited to be seeing LCW play live, since I have heard a lot of good things about him. The match was a bit of a disapointment really, since LCW controlled Roslin throughout, was never really in trouble, and both made simple unforced errors. The Sato/WCH was a intresting match, although to be honest the not very exciting. Sato played very well, and is really very quick, but lacked technique in basic strokes such as drops and netplay that would have helped him beat WCH. Bao Vs Chen was the Best match of the day in MS it was played to a very high standard, with few mistakes from each side. A recurring theme in this report will be the way Chen hong played. I was expecting him to be his usual predictable self, smash at every oppurtunity and play the net at the front. Instead he has changed his style to a much more patient style whereby he drops much more (with high quality shots too) and flicks off the net more. Bao played very well, and I cannot fault him really. Chen simply held his game together. Previousley when chen plays long matches he starts as he did here, but then reverts back to smash/net style. this time he peservered, and eventually Bao ran out of ideas, and was unable to penetrate the Chen defence (of which I have been very critical of before, but wa very good throughout). Lin Vs LHI This was quite a boring match really, since lin wsas his usually confident (some may say cocky) self, and lee was his usual patient self. I have noticed a trend in Lins play that is very predictable however. In his first game, he often starts defensivley, then moves to a more attacking style of play. He may win, or lose. Then no matter win or lose in the 2nd game he plays as fast as he can to build up a lead, then at around 8 points he reverts to a more counter attacking/defensive mode. He has played this way in EVERY game I have seen him live (AE 2004, TC2004, AE2005, german, danish, china opens too). Nothing really to say about this match except not very impressive. SF's: Chen Vs LCW After the disapointing performance in the previous round I was looking to LCW to show his skills in this match. It didn't happen. Chen played the patient attacking style he had played before, except LCW was not able to penentrate his attack as much as bao. I look forward to see LCW again. His footwork and physical state is quite good, but his shots seem not so good. Maybe when he first cam on the scene the top players were fooled by his deception, but not now(?) I cannot say, as I havent seen his earlier games (2004). Chen hong has lasting deception as his shots are played as fast drops, and seem to fool people and still remain quality. LCW tended to do "floaty" deception, which at this level, seemed to get him out of trouble when under pressure, but not win points when in control. Lin Vs WCH Lin played the same tactice as I mentioned previousley. WCH played very well, but was for most of the time being controlled by lin rather than dictacting himself. He managed to contain Lin in his 2nd game "rush" then gain points when he slowed the pace. In the Third game WCH was very tired, playing many back hands and even when walking round the court was walking very heavily. If WCH can get fitter (maybe difficult at his age) then I have no doubt he has the weapons to defeat Lin (despite his 5-0 record so far) The Final: Actually I havent read what others have commented as yet, so I may be repeating some peoples point/arguing with others, but here goes. IMHO It was a classic case of Raw speed against Technique. By technique I mean the whole package of Strokes and footwork combined. Lin is well ahead in speed stakes, since he is a lighter build than Chen. Chen has great stamina though (as proved in numerous matches he has played in), and is by far lins' superior in footwork and Strokeplay. I Thin now Chen seems to have improved his defence, he can take on attacking players much better. I look forward to his next encounter against Gade and Taufik (although I think taufik will still win, he may beat Gade) if he continues in this vein. In the 1st Lins speed set him apart, they could both rally with no one in particualar in control, but when lin upped the pace, then Chen could not keep up. I repeat again he is a much better player when he plays more drops, clears and pushes from the net. In the 2nd Lin tried to play quick right from the begining, you will see his eyes are focussed, and his legs simply move much quicker. Chen was refreshed after the break, and did enough to keep in the game. Then when Lin had to slow, chen upped the pace himself, and took the game comfortably. towards the end of the game in fact Lin seemed to run out of ideas. Normally lin can rally, rally rally, wait for an oppurtunity, then pounce. In this case lin could didnt get the chance, as chen was stable in his play, kept his control unerringly, and when Lin did try to counter, was equal to him. In the third game, the pattern of the end of the second repeated. Lin simply had no ideas to turn the game around. His "quick" gear had gone, so his ability to change pace was nuetralised. Chen kept his mind, gave lin no chances to counter, and it was as simple as that. So there you have it, no secrets to beating Lin, just have the best footwork, quality strokework, decent defence, and keep your head. I truly believe had Chen reverted to his smash/net style of play he would have lost, as lin would predict the net shots, block the smashes, and counter from midcourt. MD: This year there were several great games and the rest were good. QF: Eriksen/luungard against Yim/Ha. I was surprised by the result actually, the overview of the game would be that the danish had a bad day, and the korean defence was very good. I think Ha seems to have lost his killer smash, but his defence play has stayed. Yim is a good player, and solid in most aspects of the game, but maybe lacks a certain skill at the net. Cai/Fu Vs Flandy/Eng was a good game, but in a game of speed against speed the younger pair prevailed. Cai/Fu were excellent defensivley throughout the tournament, and Engs' trickery was not enough to fool them, nor flandy' smash big enough to break through. Luluk/Alven Vs Mogensen/boe To be honest, Luluk/Alven looed a class apart, although I didnt watch the game intensley, whenever I did mogensen/boe never looked likely to win. JR/Lars Vs SY/ZB wa sthe best match of the day. From an early stage I could see JR was there for winning. They can match them for speed, and defence, and skill but have an added weapon of being able to vary the angles/pace of their attack. SY/ZB vary the pace of their attacks, but do not use angles as well. Very high quality game that was tight throughout, and ebbed and flowed, until DEN got it at the end. Pure entertaintment! SF: Cai/Fu vs Ha/Yim was similar to their match previousley. Cai/Fu showed better cooperation between them than Ha/Yim, they had better speed, defence, and attack. A good game, but CHN never in real trouble. JR/Lars Vs Luluk/Alven. Actually I was suprised at this result too. I felt the INA pair have everything, good attack, good holding shots (drops, nets), solid defence. They differ from other INA pairs in that they do not like to sit back and play high defence like Sigit/candra Ricky/rexy used to, they are always focussed on attacking when in control, and getting the attack back when defending, by using flat shots a lot. JR/Lars are very good at the net however, and many time they trieds to push the smashes back, and lost out. Another tuly exciting game, where the INA pair just fell short with a bit of variety. They have speed, attack, skill, but lack in varying their defence IMO. The Final: Cai/Fu proved me wrong, I though JR/Lars would take it, as I feel the CHN pair are too predictable. They have added a few slower shots into their game, but rely on their speed and attack a little too much still (IMHO). JR/Lars played well, and it only really came down to a few unforced errors here and there that lost them. Unlucky to JR, but his form is coming back for the WC defence! Womens Singles: Another category I am intrested in. With the QF line up I was expecting many good games, and excitment, but my expectations were not quite mathed, and th Xu v Hirose, Mia/Mori, XXF/SYH And ZN v jun jae youn matches were all one sided. so straight to the semis. Mia V XXF again this disapointed, as XXf was just too skillful. Mias shots were not as penetrating/deceptive as previousley, and XXF has a slice that is unbelievable. ZN V Hirose. I was expecting Hirose to be a runner, but in fact she is very attacking in her play, always smashing and droping. She has lots of energy and speed. ZN did not seem as quick in this tournament, and was patient, may be too patient? but in the end her class showed. The final: XXF was in control all the way. She was too quick, her strokes too good (especially that slice), and Even when ZN tried to rally fast to stopp her playing these pentrating strokes, she hung in there and found other shots to use. The scoreline says it all. ZN made many errors ealry on as well. I think she wanted the title too bad. I was a little sad, as she is so piao liang in her play to me, and she may not get another chance to win AE. XXF proved she wasnt a choker though, but she is not as pretty to watch in her play. WD: Again many on sided QFs, and despite MAL getting game point against zhao/wei my partner didnt think they wouldlose, they just started too slow. The SIN pair against the Thailand pair was a very good game, the thais are very skillful, with many turnarounds coming from their defence. The SIN pair are solid, but ran out of ideas with the Thais trickery. The semis were not one sided, and Gao/Huang V Yang/Zhang was a brilliant match, full of class rallies, and quality. When Z/Y held match point it seemed it was alover, but Gao/Huang fought through i think 5 match points and wern't to be denied in the tie break. A great match. The other semi was another story, Saralee hurt her knee, and was clearly restricted in her movement, although I think if they were both fit, then they are a good match for wei/zhao. The final, although not well watched after the XD final, was very high quality again,but Gao/Huang are a class above wei/zhao, with more paitience. Huang sui was the best player on the court, Gao actually played not to her best, but Huang took contol from the back and front! XD: I didnt watch alot of the XD Quarter finals, so cant report too much on these. From the semis the matches were of low quality, with many mistakes from both sides. what I can say is that Laybourn is a tremendous athlete, and is very agile. Sometimes though I think his selection is his weakness, but you cant argue with a final place. The final was a rubbish game with mistakes from all players, and nerves were clearly playing a part, as ENG had the pressure of the crowd, and Laybourn/juhl the pressure of the crowd against them, and lack of final appearance experience. As to the results, it was a fair result, although I dont like the ENG pair (I am Anti Attitude) I hope it will spur them onto wanting the winning more, so they can improve badminton in UK. I question the message role models like this give however. They questioned many decisions to change the shuttle (overuled by the umpire). I feel the loss of KDM/Ra has had a sever negative effect on the level of XD, as many pairs seemingly have had their goal changed from "beating Kim/Ra" to "winning" and the level of play was, unfortunatley lower than it has been before. Man that has taken me so long to write out, I really should get some work done! Hope you enjoyed it, and remember it is only my opinion, you are entitled to yours!