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Can Indonesia Give China a Surprise?

The quarterfinals of the Uber Cup Finals 2022 immediately have the world’s #1 against #2 in the battle between Japan and Chinese Taipei that will be held today in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Akane Yamaguchi who is defending Japan will meet Tai Tzu Ying. This meeting will be the 19th meeting between the two badminton players. As of today, Tai Tzu Ying is still 10 victories ahead. However, in the last two meetings, Akane Yamaguchi won the 2021 World Championship final and the 2019 Indonesia Open semifinals.

However, there was a surprise for Akane Yamaguchi ahead of the prestige-laden party. In the final match of Group A on Wednesday (11/5/2022), Akane Yamaguchi was defeated by Indonesian women's singles, which is ranked 333rd in the world, Bilqis Prasista with two straight games 19-21, 19-21 in 35 minutes. Fortunately, this defeat did seem to affect her fellow teammates, and Japan was able to reverse the position to become a 4-1 victory. While the first women’s singles match will be tight, Japan has the upper hand for the remaining four matches against Chinese Taipei.

Meanwhile, China who qualified for the quarterfinals with the status of Group B winner will meet Indonesia. Even though Indonesia has a non-seeded status because they only send their young badminton players, Indonesia should not be underestimated. Indonesia was able to pick a landslide victory 5-0 over France and Germany. They were able to subdue opponents whose individual rankings were much higher. In fact, when facing Japan, the third single which was upgraded to become the first single because of her strength, Bilqis Prasista, who was the daughter of the 1993 men's singles world champion Joko Suprianto, was able to defeat the women's singles world number one from Japan, Akane Yamaguchi. However, the power of Japan and China cannot be equated. In the women’s singles, China has the Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medalist Chen Yufei, who is also ranked #3 in the world. She will be supported by He Bingjiao (9), and Wang Zhi Yi (15). In addition, in the women’s doubles, China relies on the world's #1 pair Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan, the silver medalist in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. With the second doubles, China has Zheng Yu/Li Wen Mei, ranked 14th in the world. These are the power that Indonesia will have to face with their top four singles players only ranked in the world’s 300. 

Another interesting match in the quarterfinals will occur when the host Thailand as the winner of Group C meets India, the runner-up of Group D. Thailand has three strong singles with good rankings namely Ratchanok Intanon (8), Pornpawee Chochuwong (10), and Busanan Ongbamrungphan (12). Meanwhile, India's strength is not as evenly distributed as they only have Pusarla V. Sindhu (7) who is at par with the Thai singles squad. Sindhu will be supported by Aakarshi Kashyap (54) and Ashmita Chaliha (64). Three wins in singles will secure Thailand through to the semifinals. There’s a chance that the third single doesn't need to be held because Thailand still has the tough doubles of world #8 Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai. If Ratchanok can win over Sindhu, it will surely pump up the spirits of her teammates – and she has a pretty good winning record with Sindhu which is 7 victories from 11 meetings.

In the other quarterfinal, there will be Korea which has the power to stop the move of the only non-Asian representative, Denmark. Korea has a solid composition in both singles and doubles. In the first singles match, Korea will rely on world #4 An Se Young. As for two doubles, there will be world number #2 Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan and #4 Kim So Yeong/Kong Hee Yong. The match could probably finish in less than five parties as Denmark relies on Mia Blichfeldt (14) and for the pair Sara Thygesen/Maiken Fruergaard (16).



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