Photo credit: Tang Shi
The men’s double category is the only category where China hasn’t won the most World Championship titles. Historical records show 9 Indonesian titles against China’s 7 and exactly these two countries are probably the ones we should expect to bring back the most valuable medals from Nanjing next weekend.
And it could very well be another Indonesian title this year. Top seeds Indonesians Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo – a.k.a. The Minions as they are often referred to in their home country – have had an impressive streak of Super Series finals since 2016; 14 titles in 16 finals so far and they have won all the 4 finals they have played in 2018. However, they still lack a World Championship medal in their collection and this could very well come in Nanjing.
It will not be a walkover to the final though. The Russian duo Ivan Sozonov and Vladimir Ivanov who unexpectedly took the All England title in 2016 are seeded 10 and could, despite a 3-0 head-to-head lead to Marcus and Kevin, cause troubles for the Indonesian machine in third round. In the quarterfinal the Indonesians are most likely to face a strong pair from Japan, 5th seed and no. 4 on the world ranking Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda against whom they are leading 4-3. This could be one of the key matches for Indonesia’s way to men’s double success this year.
Another key match could be waiting in the semifinal where the experienced Danes Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen could very well be the opponents. The Danes are seeded 3 and have always had some dramatic clashes with the top seeds; head-to-head says 4-4 between the Danes and the Indonesians.
China as expected?
Looking at the bottom half of the draw we have the reigning world champions, Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan, as second seeded. Should they deliver as expected they are most likely to face a Danish duo they have never played before in the quarterfinal. Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding will surely do everything possible to enter the semifinal on behalf of the Chinese pair, so it could be an interesting match waiting for us there.
It could however be even more interesting in the semifinal where another strong Chinese duo, Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, might very well be waiting. They are seeded 4 and actually lead 4-1 head-to-head with Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan but are down 0-3 against Mads and Mads. Whoever reaches the semifinal, it will for sure be a very interesting match.
But what is it people always say? Anything can happen in sport – and we will for sure also see some upsets during next week’s World Championships in China.
You can find the full draw here
Read our preview for the Mens Singles here
Read our preview for the Women’s Singles here