Photo credit: Tang Shi

Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo from Indonesia sit firmly on the top of the world ranking so they are top seeded for next week’s Japan Open. The two Indonesians are title holders from last year. Will they simply press the repeat button this year?

There are 32 entries in the men’s doubles category, 8 of which are seeded. One of the seeded pairs is from Indonesia and that’s the top seeded Minions as they are often referred to in their home country; Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo. The two won the title at Japan Open in 2017 after only losing one game in five matches. Having missed out on the World Championship title a month ago they grabbed the gold at the Asian Games on home court, and the two Indonesians are eager to repeat being on top of the podium again.

Gideon and Sukamuljo are up against the strong Russians Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov in first round. Since their amazing title at the All England in 2016 the Russians haven’t managed to maintain the same high level and they are also down 0-4 head-to-head against the Indonesians. If Gideon and Sukamuljo make it to the quarterfinal they can expect a potential clash with Danes Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen, seeded 5, who are a pair they have had several dramatic encounters with already. The Danish duo must surpass two Germans in first round and the winner of a Dutch and a Chinese pair before the quarterfinal is a reality.

World Champions are second seeded

The second seeded men’s double pair is the Chinese duo Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen who claimed the gold at the World Championships in Nanjing last month. They have a Korean pair in first round and will face the winners of Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe and Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan in second round. It would be a very interesting clash between the current Chinese World Championships and the former Indonesian World Champions. But let’s see how first round goes before we start dreaming about that.

In the quarterfinal of this part of the draw it is most likely that another Danish duo – Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding – will be up for a good fight. They too however must surpass good opponents before they come that far and despite being seeded 6 at Japan Open they still have to bring out their best on court. In first round they face Lee Jhe-Huei and Lee Yang from Chinese Taipei and the winner of this match is up against either Malaysian or Indonesian opponents in second round.

Double up on seeded pairs

China has two seeded pairs in the draw, the other one being Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan who are seeded 4. They have been drawn to play Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi in their first match and should they make it to the quarterfinal another Japanese pair might very well be waiting for them. That’s the runners-up from last year, 7th seeded Takuto Inoue and Yuki Kaneko. Inoue and Kaneko are facing two other Chinese in first round, He Jiting and Tan Qiang, and will probably have the pleasure against Malaysians Goh V. Shem and Tan Wee Kiong in second.

Also the host nation has two seeded pairs in men’s double. The third seeded pair is Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda disappointed at the Asian Games by losing in second round after returning from the World Championships with silver medals. They are facing Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty from India in first round and the two Indians have been teasing the Japanese duo once before; they played three games at Korea Open 2017.

Most seeded entries: Denmark

Finally we have the country with the most seeded pairs in men’s double this year, and that is Denmark with three pairs. The 8th seeded are Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen who are drawn first against Indonesian opponents and then against a pair from either Thailand or Chinese Taipei.

Should we pick some outsiders who can really tease the seeded pairs we’ll mention Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto from Indonesia. They were just millimeters from claiming the Asian Games gold as they lost 22-24 in third game of a very dramatic final against compatriots Gideon and Sukamuljo. In the semifinal they had eliminated the World Champions from China so the two seem to be in very good shape these weeks.

 

You can see the full men’s double draw at Japan Open here

 

Results from Japan Open 2017:

Final:
Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, Indonesia vs. Takuto Inoue/Yuki Kaneko, Japan 21-12 21-15

Semifinals:
Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, Indonesia vs. Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen, Denmark 21-15 21-14
Takuto Inoue/Yuki Kaneko, Japan vs. Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov, Russia 12-21 21-18 21-19

Results from Japan Open 2016:

Final:
Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen, China vs. Kim Gi Jung/Ko Sung Hyun, Korea 21-12 21-12

Semifinals:
Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen, China vs. Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan, Indonesia 21-13 18-21 21-15
Kim Gi Jung/Ko Sung Hyun, Korea vs. Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda, Japan 17-21 21-15 21-18

Results from Japan Open 2015:

Final:
Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong, Korea vs. Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan, China 21-19 29-27

Semifinals:
Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong, Korea vs. Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi, Indonesia 21-16 21-16
Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan, China vs. Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa, Japan 21-15 21-14

 

* * * Hint: Click on Lee Yong Dae’s name four lines up (or here) to see our portrait of the legendary Korean player * * *

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