I just came back from Guang Zhou on a day trip. Definately I went to see a bit of badminton (who else wouldn't?)! A few things I noticed on this trip............... I found Yu Jin Hao and Gong Zhi Chao's shop in the Tian He complex amongst all the other sports shops there. All the Yonex racquets there and in other shops are branded 'CH'. No cheaper than 'SP' version. Anybody heard of a brand called 'Bonny'? Seems that they come from Taiwan. They make everything; grips, strings, racquets, tennis, golf stuff......... JR left the same morning I arrived so that was a bit disappointing we couldn't meet up. I did get a message from him saying "hi" to everybody on badmintonforum.com. I also had a quick word with some of the English team. Not sure of their names though. They looked a bit jaded and weren't very conversational. Was it because they had a late night out before or was it the surprise of a chinese person speaking in an English accent to them? Maybe it was both..... Women's doubles Quite entertaining - I wonder if the 11 point game makes the ladies more inclined to be aggressive on court. Chen Lin/Jiang ZL were attacking a lot. Huang Sui's defensive was really good. In the end, Huang Sui's smash has more penetrating power than Chen/Jiang. I think this the most obvious difference. Huang Sui is a big lady but she is really quick on the defense. In a more subtle manner, Gao Ling can use more variation in shots to create an opening knowing her partner is very dependable in consistency. Zhao Ting Ting/ Wei Yi Li had a little wobble in the middle of their 2nd game actually losing during part of the game. However, their greater experience pulled them through. Zhao looks more heavily built than before. Wei was taking more initiative at the net which is a change from her role playing with Zhang Jie Wen; then, Wei was more of the rear court player. Women's singles: Massive vocal support for Gong Rui Na. Mia Audina wasn't giving her an easy time though! Those deceptive overheads of Mia's and quick drops had Gong twisting and turning. In the first game Gong's physical condition allowed her to keep going. The 2nd game was a much closer game. It looked like Gong was going to close out comfortably but then looked a bit laboured at about 9 points up. Mia(who also looked a bit tired) started closing the gap. Gong then had real difficulty closing the game out. Mia was really making Gong work physically and not bothered by the rising sea of home support urging Gong to finish the game off. Both ladies did some great retrieving but Gong did a couple of great shots to clinch the match. I think Gong had about 4 match points though! Men's doubles: Again massive vocal support for the chinese pair of Fu/Cai. Rather cheekily, during a lull in the noise, I shouted out "Come on Malaysia!" as the game started. Of course, I used English - otherwise a few thousand people might have been breathing down my neck! One of the M'sian team was just below me filming the other men's doubles. He turned round wondering who the lone voice of support for M'sia was coming from! The crowd knew the chances of a home win were low. Chan and Chew were on top form and easily dealt with the chinese junior pair with strong defence and variation in attack. Fu/Cai have good attacks - hmm, better make that great attacks - but lack a bit of experience in varying the attack. Chew Chun Eng was controlled the game well. The result was a straightforward win for M'sia. The more interesting game was the game between Sogaard/Laugeson against Pramote/Tesena(Thai). the Thai's are an interesting contrast. Pramote is really thin and walks with his knees and elbows splayed out slightly. He's more of the control type player. Tesena has a body shape like the "The Hulk". His Yonex T-shirt stretches like it's going to rip! He's the power guy with hard smashes combined with very little body movement - this makes reading his smash very difficult. Sogaard/Laugeson went up 10-2 in the first game. They were cruising along fine and then Pramote suddenly went into action with clever little dinks, pushes (very deceptive ones as well) into spaces and into Michael's body. He really controlled the game from the net. Suddenly, the game was 10-10! Sogaard and Laugeson got a bit rattled and they really didn't have an answer. They started becoming tense and making more errors. I can appreciate their difficulty! The Thais's won that 1st set. The 2nd set started similarly with the Thai's going up 5 points. Sogaard/Laugeson managed to get a few points back but Laugeson's arm got tense from the effort of trying to get back in the game. This affected his forecourt and midcourt play making a lot of errors. Sogaard did well to keep going. Many of the points gained by the Danes were from errors from Tesena and the Danes hitting downward smashes to Tesena or slightly between the Thai's. However, I noticed that when Sogaard drop shot the shuttle on Tesena's side, the shuttle path was very straight so Tesena only had to deal with forward movement approaching the net - not diagonal. It seemed straightforward for Tesena to deal with the drops. Was it a deliberate tactic by Sogaard? Not really sure. Jim Laugeson's play was still littered with errors at the important junctures. He just couldn't get the timing right. The Danes did well to get 12 points by the end of the 2nd game. Laugeson walked straight off without waiting for Sogaard. I guess he was disgusted with himself. The M'sians were filming this match on the camcorder. They are probably watching this game as I write reviewing their game plan for the final. Men's singles. Wong Choong Hann against Kenneth Jonassen. Kenneth apparently had a great match the day before winning against Xia Xuan Ze. I heard it was Kenneth's great defence coming up tops against Xia's attacking style. This time it was different. Wong CH played patiently varying the attack well with many drops and choosing his time to smash with deliberation and change of pace. A very difficult match for Kenneth as Wong knew exactly what to do and did it well. Chen Hong vs Yong Hock Kin. Chen Hong started so fast - he's faster than Yong and went up 7-0. Anybody seen Yong Hock Kin play before? He's the defender/counter attack style. Yong's few points cam from well placed smashes and a couple of errors from Chen Hong. The game went to 13-6 to Chen Hong, then Yong turned on the style! Chen Hong did a great smash, Yong did a great retrieval. Chen (very fast coming in the net) pushed to the opposite deep corner. Yong ran to retreive needing to run out of the court to regain balance. Chen did another great smash which Yong incredibly got back. Chen did another very fast shot which Yong got back. All-in-all, Chen Hong smashed four times with Yong running all over the court(and out of it) in getting the shuttle back. That rally ended with Chen pushing a shot in the net. The crowd were oohhing at Yong's great retreival and gave great applause to Yong for that point. Chen must have got a bit rattled because he made some mistakes with Yong gaining confidence. Some of the crowd got annoyed with Chen giving points away easily (somebody even swore!). Chen managed to close the game out with not without the help of a lucky net cord here and there. Unfortunately, I couldn't watch the 2nd game as I had to take the train back to HK. That meant missing the mxd doubles as well. Hope you guys enjoy reading this report. It's a bit long though!