Can We Hope for an all-Asian Gold?
Asia has all the best players in the top seeds of the Yonex Thailand Open. It was expected that the final round of the Yonex Thailand Open 2020 will have Asian players competing against other Asian players.
It almost happened.
Of all five events in the final round, there are only three events (men's doubles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles) where the duel will be between Asian badminton players.
For the men's doubles, Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong from Malaysia will challenge Lee Yang / Wang Chi Lin from Chinese Taipei. Shem/Kiong, who were not favorites in the tournament, stopped the series of surprises from the young Indonesian pair Leo Rolly Carnando/Daniel Marthin with two straight games 21-19, 21-10. In the semifinal, Yang/Lin shut down Choi Solgyu/Seo Seung Jae from South Korea 15-21, 21-14, 21-14. In the quarter-finals, the Korean pair defeated the second top seed from Indonesia Hendra Setiawan/Mohammad Ahsan.
In the women's doubles, there will be a duel between an Indonesian and Thai pair. Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu will compete for the medal against Jongkophan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai. Polii/Rahayu won the final ticket thanks to a three-game victory 15-21, 21-15, 21-16 over Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan. Kititharakul/Prajongjai won the rubber game over another South Korean double, Kim Seo Yeong/Kong Hee Yong 21-17, 17-21, 22-20.
The all-Asian format will also happen at the mixed doubles final. Thailand's top seed Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai will be challenged by Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti from Indonesia. Puavaranukroh/Taerattanachai was forced to play their hardest over three games 17-21, 21-17, 22-20 by their opponent, Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yu Jung. Unlike them, Praveen/Melati "only" played two games and won 21-16, 23-21 to defeat Thom Gicquel/Dephine Delrue.
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles and men’s singles, it will be an Asian player competing against a European Player. After defeating South Korea’s An Se Young in the semifinal 18-21, 16-21, Spain’s Carolina Marin cleared her path toward the final match where she’ll meet Tai Tzu Ying from Chinese Taipei.
The most challenging gold to aim is at the men’s singles event. Viktor Axelsen, who is on fire, was able to fight his way to the final round. He got through one of his toughest opponents, Antony Sinisuka Ginting from Indonesia. The Danish representative won three games 21-19, 13-21, 21-13.
In the final match, Axelsen, who is seeded fourth, is challenged by Ng Ka Long Angus from Hong Kong. In the semifinals, Long Angus beat Chou Tien Chen from Taiwan, 17-21, 21-18, 21-15.
Axelsen was the champion of the last tournament held by BWF, namely the All England in March of last year in Birmingham.
While we couldn’t have all-Asian finals, we can still aim for all-Asian champions, can’t we?