Home2022Avenging the Loss at the Olympics

Avenging the Loss at the Olympics

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics women's singles final will most likely recur at the Malaysia Open 2022. However, it won’t be in the final round. Chen Yu Fei of China, who is seeded in fourth place, will meet the second seed of Chinese Taipei Tai Tzu Ying in the semifinals. Previously, in the quarter-finals, Chen Yu Fei won 14-21, 21-18, 21-18 over sixth seed Nozomi Okuhara from Japan. Meanwhile, Tai Tzu Ying was also forced to play three games 13-21, 21-15, 21-13 against P.V. Sindhu from India.

At the last Olympics, Chen Yu Fei surprisingly defeated Tai Tzu Ying who was seeded in first place in a tight three-game match 21-18, 19-21, 21-18. Whereas, in the previous 18 matches, Chen Yui Fei had only won three times. Actually, since then Tai Tzu Ying has defeated Chen back two times, at the final Thailand Open 2022 and the semifinals of the Indonesia Open 2022. However, Olympic gold is still far more prestigious than any individual championship.

Another women's singles semifinal, Wang Zhi Yi of China will be playing against the eighth seed from Thailand Ratchanok Intanon. In the quarter-finals, Wang Zhi Yi won three games 9-21, 21-10, 21-17 over Denmark's Line Kjaersfeldt, and Ratchanok Intanon defeated another Chinese representative Han Yue 22-20, 21-12. Ratchanok Intanon has the advantage because she has only lost once in four matches and she won the last meeting in the Round of 16 at the Thailand Open.

Thailand's representatives who have a great chance of reaching the final are in the mixed doubles. Top seeds Dechapol Puavaranikroh/Sapsiree Taerattachai will play against Chinese doubles Wang Yilyu/Huang Dong Ping, who is also seeded fourth. In the last meeting of the two pairs in the semifinals of the Thailand Open 2022, Puavaranikroh/Taerattachai won 16-21, 21-12, 21-16. However, if the Thai pair loses, there could be a final between the Chinese pairs. As the second seed, Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong is predicted to have no trouble defeating the Danish doubles Mathias Christiansen/Alexandra Boje. Their two meetings have always been won by the Tokyo Olympic silver medalist's doubles from China.

Meanwhile, in the women's doubles, a big surprise happened. The top seed and silver medalist of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan, failed to reach the semifinals after losing 21-14, 13-21, 16-21 to the unseeded doubles from Indonesia, Apriyani Rahayu/Siti Fadia. This victory was for Apriyani Rahayu/Siti Fadia, who are still categorized as a new pair, to avenge the final result at the Indonesia Masters 2022. At that time, they lost 18-21, 12-21. In the semifinals, Apriyani Rahayu/Siti Fadia will meet Jeong Na-eun/Kim Hye-jeong, who in the previous round also defeated Chinese doubles Du Yue/Li Wen May 21-13, 21-15. Apriyani Rahayu/Siti Fadia and Jeong Na-eun/Kim Hye-jeong have never met. One more final ticket is up for grabs between Japanese doubles who are fifth seed Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara, two-time world champions in 2018 and 2019, and Zhang Shu Xian/Zheng Yu from China. The two pairs met once in the semifinals of the Thailand Open and won by Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara 21-18, 21-14.

Apart from the women's doubles, Japan's hope is in the men's singles. The former world number one, Kento Momota is starting to find his power back. To be qualified for the semifinals at the Malaysia Open is his best achievement so far in 2022. Kento Momota made his way forward to the semifinals after his opponent in the quarterfinals, Shesar Hiren Rustavito from Indonesia withdrew due to injury in the first game when the score was still 13-6. Kento Momota who is also the world champion of 2018 and 2019, will face Kunlavut Vitidsarn from Thailand who in the quarter-finals defeated Lu Guang Zu of China in three games 15-21, 21-10, 21-17. Interestingly, Kento Momota and Kunlavut Vitidsarn have both won the junior world title. Kento Momota first won the title back in 2012 while Vitidsarn won it three times in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Previously, the two have only met once, during the 2019 Korea Open and Kento Momota won 21-17, 21-13.

The winners of Kento Momota vs Vitidsarn will also have a tough match in the final. Possibly, they will meet the fiery first seed Viktor Axelsen from Denmark. The gold winner of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has just won titles in Indonesia, namely the Indonesia Masters and Indonesia Open 2022. In the semifinals of the Malaysia Open 2022, Viktor Axelsen will meet Jonatan Christie from Indonesia.

In the quarter-finals. Viktor Axelsen defeated bronze medalist Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the rubber game 18-21, 21-17, 21-12. Meanwhile, Christie, seeded in the seventh position, won 21-18, 21-16 over Prannoy H.S. from India. In seven meetings with Jojo, Viktor Axelsen won five times.

The men’s doubles is the only category for the host country Malaysia to win a title. In this category, Malaysia has two representatives namely Goh Sze Fei/Nur Izzuddin and the bronze medal pair of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik. To be able to make the All Malaysian Finals, Goh Sze Fei/Nur Izzuddin must be able to beat the fourth seed from Indonesia Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto, and Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik, the fifth seed, must be able to win over Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi, the second seed from Japan.

In the six meetings, Fajar/Rian was only lost once. Meanwhile, Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik will also need an uphill battle as they only won twice in their six meetings with Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi.


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