Photo credit: Tang Shi
Just like in their first match on Wednesday, the Minions a.k.a. Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and yesterday’s birthday boy Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo were in trouble in their quarterfinal against Japan’s Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda.
It was the Indonesians who had won the last battle between the two pairs when they qualified for the final of the Superseries Finals in Dubai last year with a win in three games over the Japanese.
Kamura and Sonoda were off to a rocket start and had a 15-6 lead on the way before Gideon and Sukamuljo delivered quite a comeback. This, however, wasn’t enough to prevent the Japanese from taking first game 21-19. Second game started just as bad for the Indonesians and just as good for the Japanese. It was very identical to first game with 11-4 for Kamura and Sonoda at interval and even 18-11 later. It began to look more and more like now or never for the top seeded Indonesians who had an amazing 24-1 win-loss statistic from 2018 before waking up today. And just like in first game Gideon and Sukamuljo delivered a great comeback – at 18-18 hope was back. But you got to give credit to the two Japanese who had Gideon and Sukamuljo right where they wanted them. Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda won 21-18 and sent out the third top seeded players of the day.
It ain’t over till it’s over…
The man who eliminated 5 times World Champion Lin Dan yesterday, China’s own Shi Yuqi, was one of two Chinese hopes in men’s single. He was leading 2-0 head-to-head in his previous matches against Chou Tien Chen from Chinese Taipei so the local fans probably expected another win for their compatriot. And it was the Chinese who started best. Shi Yuqi had several 3-point leads during first game but 7 consecutive points from Chou mad him take the game 21-16. Second game was a different story. Shi Yuqi was in front all the way and this time he was the one to take 7 consecutive points, and despite a comeback from Chou the game went to the local hero with 21-15. A third decisive game was waiting.
Here it seemed that Shi Yuqi had used all his energy in the two first games. Chou was rocking, Shi was shaking. Chou was leading 12-4 and 15-7 and it looked very much like the Chinese Taipei no. 1 would was just moments away from securing himself his first World Championship medal ever. But suddenly Chou slowed down his speed and Shi made an amazing comeback to 16-16 and even gained the lead at 19-17. To the sound of thousands of loudly cheering Chinese spectators Shi Yuqi took the victory with the shuttle just rolling over the net; 21-18 for the Chinese after 72 minutes of play. It’s the Chinese who secured himself his first World Championship medal instead of Chou.
Three of four top seeds have been eliminated in the quarterfinals so far. How will it go Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen later in his match against Chen Long from China? We will know that when the second session of the quarterfinals is played later today.