Photo credit: Tang Shi
The only doubles category host nation China hasn’t been dominating during the history of the World Championships is the men’s double where Indonesia historically has proven better than the Chinese. It was time for China to get back on top of the world!
Favorites may also have been Indonesians though. With the impressive year Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo have had so far, it was difficult not to count the strong Indonesian pair among the absolute favorites to claim the title. But China and Japan wanted it differently.
Gideon and Sukamuljo fell already in the quarterfinal against Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda from Japan who were hungry for more medals after they got a bronze medal in Glasgow 2017. The Japanese had also eliminated another of Indonesia’s doubles, Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto, before they closed the party for Chinese Taipei’s Chen Hung Ling and Wang Chi-Lin in the semifinal. Chen and Wang had surprisingly beaten top Danish duo Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen earlier in the tournament.
Could China make it?
With Kamura and Sonoda making it into the final from the top draw, it was up to the Chinese pairs in the lower half of the draw to secure Chinese success in men’s double now. Both Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen and last year’s World Champions, Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan, were close to falling in the third round and the quarterfinals respectively. Goh V. Shem and Tan Wee Kiong from Malaysia were close to ending Li and Liu’s adventure in third round but fell short with a two point margin in third game.
Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan also needed three games to defeat Denmark’s Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding. The Chinese drew the longest straw with 21-18 in the decisive game. That meant Chinese success; we had an all-Chinese semifinal. Here the younger pair won fairly easily and we were ready for a final between Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda from Japan and Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen from China. And we all know how that chapter of badminton history went…
MD: Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen, China
World ranking before Nanjing: 5
World ranking after Nanjing: 2
There is more! Read about women’s double and mixed double on the next pages…