Photo credit: Tang Shi
The men’s double quarterfinals offered a really interesting match between the Chinese World Champions and the Indonesian silver medalists from Asian Games. It took more than an hour to find a winner.
Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen were crowned World Champions on home soil little over a month ago when they defeated Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda from Japan in the final. Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto grabbed the silver at the Asian Games in Jakarta few weeks ago. Today the two pairs were up for a rematch from the Asian Games where the Indonesians won in the semifinal.
The ingredients for a close match were present. Li and Liu were up 3-2 head-to-head against the Indonesians and both pairs belong in the very top of the men’s double. There was surely something good to expect for all the spectators in Musashino Forest Sport Plaza in Tokyo.
As predicted first game was a very close affair. The maximum gap between the two sides was 4 points in favor of Li and Liu, but things were soon all even again. Alfian and Ardianto came back and got the first game point at 20-19 but they couldn’t close it and the Chinese won 22-20.
In second game we saw nearly a similar development but with the Indonesians on top. Up 18-13 it looked like a win for the Asian Games silver medalists but Li and Liu set in a streak of 5 points to level the score. This didn’t prevent Alfian and Ardianto from taking second game though; 21-18 and a third decisive game was on its way.
Interesting semifinal awaiting the winners
Here there was no the same power left in the Indonesians. Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen kept on pressing their tired opponents and as the game went by, they slowly increased the lead. 11-6 at interval and side change set the base for a solid win of 21-14. The Chinese World Champions got their revenge while Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto had to accept that the quarterfinal was the end this week.
Li and Liu will be up against the winners of Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin from Chinese Taipei and Kim Won Ho/Seo Seung Jae from Korea. The Taiwanese won bronze at the World Championships and the Koreans were promoted to the main draw after the withdrawal from a German pair.
Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen, China (2) vs. Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto, Indonesia 22-20 18-21 21-14
Total point score: 61-55
Total points played: 116
Length of match: 69 min
Average points per minute: 1.68
Average seconds per point: 35.69 sec
Stay tuned! There are more Japan Open updates on the way…