Doubles Deciding Rounds at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
The Doubles event has entered the deciding round. This is after the three events -- men's doubles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles -- completed the group stage matches for badminton at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
There have been no easy matches. Everything is hard because losing means having to return to their respective countries early.
The Men’s Doubles Quarterfinals
In the men's doubles, there are no significant surprises. All the top four seeds qualify.
The top seeds from Indonesia, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya, certainly don't want to suffer a second defeat in a row. Both were humiliated by Taiwanese pair Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin 18-21, 21-15, 17-21 in the preliminary Group A. However, the defeat did not affect their status to qualify for the quarter-finals.
To reach the semifinals, the Minions, a nickname for Marcus/Kevin, will have to go through Malaysian representatives Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik. Looking at their previous meetings, the Indonesian pair is very likely to win because they have always won in their previous seven meetings. The last meeting took place in the quarter-finals of the All England 2020. However, a year of absence from all tournaments could make the meeting record meaningless. The fast play and strategy of Marcus/Kevin have been studied well by their opponents, including Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik. Moreover, the Malaysian duo are handled by a coach from Indonesia, Flandy Limpele, who already knows how to play with Herry Iman Pierngadi's -- Markus and Kevin’s coach -- team.
The winner will meet the winner of the match Li Jun Hui/Liu Yu Chen (China) with Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (Denmark). Like the Minions, Li/Liu also have a good meeting record with their opponents, which is seven wins in eight meetings.
The bottom pool is no less exciting. Here, there are two Japanese doubles players: Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe and Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda. However, both of them are competing with different opponents. Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe will play against Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin (Chinese Taipei). Meanwhile, Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda (Japan) will challenge the senior pair from Indonesia, Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan.
Previously, Endo/Watanabe have met Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin once and won. However, it’s a different story with Kamura/Sonoda, they have only won twice in their seven meetings with “the Daddies”.
The Women’s Doubles Quarterfinals
While in the women's doubles, the host also has two representatives in the quarter-finals, and they are: Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara and Sayaka Hirota/Yuki Fukushima. If both of them win in the quarterfinals, it’s almost certain that one ticket to the final round is in Japan’s hands.
However, it is also not an easy thing. Matsutomo/Nagahara have never met the representative from South Korea they’re going to play against in the quarterfinals.
On the other hand, Sayaka Hirota/Yuki Fukushima (Japan) have previously met 16 times with Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan (China). Out of 16 meetings, Hirota/Fukushima who are also the first seeds, have won 9 times.
In the upper pool of women’s doubles, the Indonesian pair Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu, who surprisingly became the group winner, will test the toughness of China's Du Yue/Li Yin Hui doubles. This matchup will be intense as both pairs have beaten each other with the result 3-3.
In the last two or three meetings, Du Yue/Li Yin Hui always won. However, seeing Greysia/Apriyani’s performance in Tokyo, they have hopes of winning. They appear smart and powerful that they have beaten world number one Sayaka Hirota/Yuki Fukushima.
Another matchup can be said that it’s not as tough as the three other women's doubles matches. Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan from South Korea will face Selena Piek/Cherly Seinen (Netherlands). Both were lucky to avoid other, tougher doubles pairs.
The Mixed Doubles Semifinals
The road to the All-Chinese Final at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is wide open. The two representatives, Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong and Wang Yi Lyu/Huang Dong Ping, both reached the semifinals.
Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong, who were seeded in first place, had no trouble beating the Indonesian representative, Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti (fourth seeds), in two straight games 21-17, 21-15 in the match in Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, Tokyo, Wednesday (28/7) morning. The second match of this pair ''only'' took 35 minutes. For Zheng Si Wei / Huang Ya Qiong, this victory was the eighth victory in 10 meetings. Throughout the game, they appeared to dominate.
On the other hand, for Indonesia’s Praveen/Melati, the story had to end at the quarterfinal. It’s unfortunate that they weren’t able to continue in the footsteps of their seniors, Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir who won gold in the mixed doubles at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Praveen/Melati's performance has not been as good as a year ago.
In the semifinals which will be held on Thursday (29/7/2021), Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong will be challenged by Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet. The semifinal ticket was won by the unseeded pair from Hong Kong after they won over Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith from Great Britain in straight games 21-13, 21-18.
Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet’s move to the semifinal was quite a surprise. It seems that their path to the final will be challenging, knowing that in the previous eight meetings, Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong won seven times against the Hong Kong’s pair.
The footsteps of Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong through the semifinals were also followed by their compatriots, Wang Yi Lyu/Huang Dong Ping. The second seed won two straight games 21-9, 21-16 over South Korean representatives Seo Seungjae/Chae Yu Jung. This result confirms the superiority of China in badminton.
However, to be able to penetrate the final is not an easy task. Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino cannot be underestimated. They're on fire. In the group stage, both of them defeated Praveen/Melati. In the quarter-finals, the pair who was ranked fifth stopped the ambition of third seed Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattachan from Thailand 15-21, 21-16, 21-14. This is the second meeting for the two pairs.
As for Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino, their meeting with Wang Yi Lyu/Huang Dong Ping will be the eleventh. They’ve only won once. However, looking at the performances from the preliminary to the quarter-finals, Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino showed us that they are not easy to beat. Both have stronger attacks and defenses than before. (*)
Mixed Doubles Quarter Final Results
Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong (China, x1) v Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti (x4, Indonesia) 21-17, 21-15
Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet (Hong Kong) v Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith (United Kingdom) 21-13, 21-18
Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino (Japan) v Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattachan (Thailand, x3) 15-21, 21-16, 21-14
Wang Yi Lyu/Huang Dong Ping (China x2) v Seo Seungjae/Chae Yu Jung (South Korea) 21-9, 21-16