The Unexpected Smashes in the Men's Doubles
A surprise occurred in the men's doubles event in badminton at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The pair that was said to be winning gold, Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo/Marcus Fernaldi Gideon, had been eliminated early.
They were defeated by Malaysian pair Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik in straight games 14-21, 17-21 in the quarter-final match which took 32 minutes at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, Tokyo, Thursday (29/7). This result is beyond expectations. This is because the Malaysian pair had never won in the previous seven matches.
This loss is also the second loss in a row for the Indonesian pair. In the group stage, Kevin/Marcus, who appeared as top seeds, were defeated by Chinese Taipei duo Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin 18-21, 21-15, 17-21.
By qualifying for the semifinals, Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik will follow in the footsteps of other Malaysian pairs: Razif Sidek/Jailani Sidek at the 1992 Olympics, Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah (2000 Olympics), Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong (2012 Olympics), and Goh V Shem/Tan Wei Kiong (2016 Olympics). Among all the pairs, Razif/Jailani were able to take bronze and Goh V Shem/Tan Wei Kiong won silver.
In the semi finals held today, Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik will challenge Li Jun Hui/Liu Yu Chen. The third seed from China was forced to play three games against Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, which ended with a score of 12-21, 21-14, 21-19. The result meant that Li Jun Hui / Liu Yu Chen has won eight times and only lost once to the only doubles pair outside Asia to qualify for the last eight.
The meeting between Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik and Li Jun Hui/Liu Yu Chen in the semifinals will be their sixth meeting. So far the Chinese pair have been unbeatable. However, it does not rule out the possibility of another surprise happening. The touch of the Indonesian coach Flandy Limpele changed the playing style of Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik and made them more frightening.
Meanwhile, the other semifinal pitted Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan, the second seed from Indonesia, with Chinese Taipei doubles pair Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin. In the quarter-finals, Ahsan/Hendra, who are the oldest doubles pair at the Tokyo Olympics, defeated Japan's Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda 21-14, 16-21, 21-9. This victory confirmed the superiority of The Daddies to 6-2.
But to qualify for the final, Hendra/Ahsan will have to work extra hard. They will meet Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin (Chinese Taipei), who in the quarter-finals eliminated fourth-seeded Japanese Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe 21-17, 21-19. From their meeting record, Ahsan/ Hendra have won 5-2. However, it should be noted that Ahsan/Hendra experienced two defeats in the last two meetings in the BWF World Tour Finals 2020 final and the Thailand Open 2021 semifinals. In addition, Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin are on fire as during 2021, they won three tournaments in a row.
The men’s doubles semifinal is surely going to be a very exciting one.