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Top Players to set Manila on Fire

The 2022 Asian Badminton Championships manages to maintain its prestige. Almost all of the best badminton players on the continent will take part in the event which will be held in Manila, Philippines, April 26 – May 1, 2022.


In the men's singles, Kento Momota from Japan is a former world number one. Then, there’s Akane Yamaguchi, ranked second in women's singles. In the men's doubles category, there’s senior Indonesian pair Hendra Setiawan/Mohammad Ahsan, who is now ranked second in the world. Moreover, there is also the women's doubles Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan from China, who is also the silver medalist of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Likewise in the mixed doubles with the presence of the world's second-ranked who is also the silver medalist of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Zheng Si Wei/Huang Yaqiong.


However, as we have seen so many times, top rankings is not a guarantee that they can go easy to the finals and become champions. 


In men's singles, for example. Kento Momota may occupy the top seed. But, in recent times, he had not been at the peak of his performance. In 2022, Kento Momota has already participated in two tournaments. However, the results are not so good. At the German Open, he immediately lost to his compatriot, Kenta Nishimoto, 21-23, 9-21. Then at the prestigious All England event a week later, Kento Momota again gave up on Malaysia’s mainstay Lee Zii Jia in the quarter-finals in a three-game match 7-21, 21-13, 11-21. Zii Jia could again be a serious challenge for Kento Momota in Manila.


But keep in mind that there are also Anthony Ginting and Jonatan Christie from Indonesia and Loh Kean Yew from Singapore. Even though Ginting seems to be declining, if he’s back on his strongest technique, he’s definitely hard to defeat. Meanwhile, Jonatan Christie is currently on fire after making it to the finals in the last two tournaments, the Swiss Open and the Korea Open. 


The absence of world number one from Chinese Taipei Tai Tzu Ying did not reduce the heat of competition in the women’s singles. The two players who are predicted to meet in the final – Akane Yamaguchi, the World Champion in 2021, and South Korea’s An Seyoung, the winner of the Korea Open 2022 last week – will still have to fight hard. The women’s singles category will have P.V. Sindhu from India, the bronze medalist of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics who recently won the Swiss Open, and finalist of the Korea Open 2022 Pornpawee Chochuwong, as well as Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara. 


Meanwhile in the men’s doubles, Hendra Setiawan/Mohammad Ahsan also need to stay alert. Victory won’t come easily to them. From the draw that was just launched Friday (15/2/2022), if there were no big surprises, Setiawan/Ahsan aka The Daddies, will face Malaysian pair Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik, the pair who defeated Hendra/Ahsan in the fight for the bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. In this particular category, Indonesia deserves special attention. Although the number one pair, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya, is absent, their tough compatriots will take part in the Smart Badminton Asia Championships 2022. There’s Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto who started to rediscover their best game by qualifying for the finals in the last two tournaments, the Swiss Open and the Korea Open. There’s also the couple who made a big surprise at the All England 2022 by winning: Muhammad Shohibul Fikri/Bagas Maulana.


In the women's doubles, Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan are predicted to meet representatives of Korea or Japan in the final round. In the previous tournaments, they did not have any significant challenges. Without the Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion pair Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu, Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan is hard to beat.


However, there’s a chance that Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan could met Japanese pair Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida who won the All England 2022. This Japanese pair has beaten Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan twice in the previous six meetings.


Likewise in the mixed doubles, despite being seeded in second place, representatives of Japan Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino have great potential to become the champion. Their chance is even greater than the top seeds from China Zheng Siwei/Huang Ya Qiong. In this category there is also the All England 2020 champion pair Praveen Jordan / Melati Daeva Oktavianti. Only, in the last two years, their performances have been unstable. Even in 2022, they have never tasted the sweetness of being champions.



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