Photo credit: Tang Shi
Once you say Japanese dominance in women’s double you also have to say Chinese dominance in mixed double. The hosts had three pairs in the semifinals of the mixed double category. The question was if they could do like Japan’s women’s doubles and take gold, silver and bronze.
Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet from Hong Kong were the only ones who could prevent China in taking the gold. It would require a win against the second seeded Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping in today’s semifinal and obviously also a win tomorrow. But they were up against the Chinese wall…
Nothing worked out for the Hong Kong pair, ranked 4 in the world, one spot lower than Wang and Huang. Sadly they ran into an off-day today against the Chinese who seemed like they just wanted the job done as fast as possible. With a very comfortable win of 21-6 21-10 in just half an hour it was concluded that China would take gold, silver and bronze on home ground in Nanjing.
It will be the first World Championships medals for all four players though. Wang Yilyu did however win gold in mixed double as a junior back in 2012, and Tse Ying Suet got bronze in women’s double in 2009, also as a junior. But as seniors it’s a first. For Hong Kong it’s the second consecutive bronze medal as Lee Chun Hei and Chau Hoi Wah got bronze in 2017.
Ni hao, final!
China has taken gold, silver and bronze in mixed doubles before, last time in 2015, and now they successfully repeat this on home soil. The second semifinal was between Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong and Zhang Nan/Li Yinhui, the number 1 seeded against number 5. And this became a much closer match than the first mixed double.
At no moment there was more than two points’ difference between the two sides during the very close first game. Both pairs really wanted this badly and Zheng/Huang who were leading most of the time but it was Zhang/Li who won first game 21-19.
Now Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong stepped up not just one but several levels. They were eager to prove why they are currently number 2 in the world and they started off like rockets in second game. They quickly gained a lead of 9-3 but were nearly caught up with again, however, only to bring themselves up to a 7-point lead before closing the game 21-12. The first ever match between the two Chinese pairs was going to be decided in three games.
And the final game was one-way traffic from Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong who with the help from 8 consecutive points turned off all hope for compatriots Zhang Nan and Li Yinhui. The second ranked favorites won 21-10 and will play the all Chinese final tomorrow. Zheng Siwei was runner-up with Chen Qingchen last year while it’s first time Huang Yaqiong gets a medal from the World Championships.
Japan rules women’s doubles – China rules mixed doubles! Who will rule the other categories?
You can see the results of all the semifinals here