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R16: The Younger Stars Are Showing Off

Age affects us one way or another. Many senior badminton players have gone home before reaching the quarterfinals of the Smart Badminton Asia Championships 2022. 


Among those who have been eliminated are veterans such as Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam in the men's singles and Saina Nehwal of India in the women's singles. This also includes the top seed in the men's doubles Hendra Setiawan/Mohammad Ahsan from Indonesia.


This year, Tien Minh is 39 years old, and Saina Nehwal is 32. Meanhhile Hendra is 37, and his partner, Mohammad Ahsan, is 34. For a long while they’ve been the top badminton players in the world. 


As they grow in age, the four of them are bound to meet opponents who are far younger. In the round of 16 matches held in Manila, Philippines, on Thursday local time, Tien Minh, who was once in the top 10 world rank, lost easily 9-21, 10-21 to 26-year-old Kanta Tsuneyama. 


Meanwhile, Saina Nehwal, who was once ranked first in the world, lost in three games 21-12, 7-21, 13-21 to Chinese representative Wang Zhi Yi, who is still 22 years old. This result left Saina, who is now ranked 23rd, without a win in two encounters with Wang Zhi Yi, who is currently ranked 16th in the world. Before this tournament, their first meeting took place at the New Zealand Open 2019.


Of all losses that happened to the senior star players, the most shocking defeat was the fall of Hendra/Ahsan “the Daddies”. Even though they are not young anymore, both of them are the first seeds and are still in ranked #2. In the second round, they were easily defeated by the Chinese pair Ren Xiang Yu/Tan Qiang in two games 9-15, 15-21. Ren Xiang Yu was only 24 and his partner was also the same age. Previously, the two partners had never met.


In the women's singles, two potential champions, Akane Yamaguchi, the first seed from Japan, and the second seed An Seyoung are still standing. In the second round, Akane Yamaguchi was pushed to play three games 21-23, 21-9, 21-19 by Indonesian badminton player Komang Ayu Cahya Dewi. Meanwhile, An Seyoung beat China's Zhang Yi Man 21-7, 21-19.



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