The Badminton World Championships 2019 has provided some huge upsets over the past couple of days. Top-seedings have lost to underdogs and legends have dissapointed – what has happened on day 3? Find out here!
Top-seeds and world no. 1 not through to next round
After Akane Yamaguchi, the women’s singles top seed was beaten by unseeded Yeo Jia Min, doubles division’s top seeds Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon succumbed to a similar fate at the hands of the unseeded duo of Choi Sul-Gyu and Seo Seung Jae from South Korea. However, the result wasn’t as one-sided as Yamaguchi’s match yesterday. In fact, it was probably one of the most exciting matches in this year’s World Championships. After breezing through the opening set 21-16, a bout of complacency coupled with an inspired performance by Choi Sul-Gyu rattled the pair from Indonesia and left the match on a knife’s edge as they stepped into the third game. With only a one-point difference at the mid-game interval of the final game, it was certainly a nail biter of a match for badminton fans around the world. Though the Indonesian pair had both experience and skill on their side, a very evident lack of consistency let them down.
Trailing 14-17, Marcus Gideon took the game by the scruff of the neck to draw level at 17 apiece. But whenever Gideon turned on the heat, Sukamuljo went into hibernation, and vice versa. They simply could not bring their best to the fore. It was this inconsistency that led to their downfall. However, they were still good enough to reach match point to take advantage. Their failure to land the final blow gave Choi and Seo a chance to claw their way back into the match. Soon, the Korean pair had a match point of their own at 21-20. A seasoned fighter that he is, Kevin Sukamuljo was not one to go down without a fight. He hit a clinical smash off a flick service to level the game once more at 21 apiece. But the pressure was on and proved to be the undoing for the top seeds, especially Gideon, who was caught napping with a flick serve off the last point of the match. The Korean pair registered a most memorable win, courtesy of a 16-21, 21-14, 23-21 scoreline to go one up over the tournament favorites from Indonesia. It remains to be seen if this edition of the World Championships will present more unbelievable upsets in the days to come.
German shock for fifth seeds
Germans Mark Lamsfuss and Marvin Seidel blew open the third quarter of the men’s doubles draw, taking down fifth seeds Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe. With the two upsets ringing through the St. Jakobshalle Basel, it looked like a dangerous session for other favoured players. Lamsfuss and Seidel got a lead and held it in the decider. The Japanese found their sharpness too late, coming to within a point of equalising, but the Germans showed great opportunism on their fourth match point, dashing to the net and grabbing the winner at 21-17 20-22 21-19. “We just kept our focus. I was really tired as I had two tough matches yesterday, but it was just about keeping on fighting till the end,” said Lamsfuss. “If you’re mentally ready for this, it’s quite good,” added Lamsfuss, speaking about the slow conditions. “And with this slower hall, we can play a lot of defence. We don’t have to rush so much, because we can just play high from close to the floor, so I like to play here.”
Sindhu advances into third round
PV Sindhu was made to word hard before getting past Pai Yu Po of Chinese Taipei 21-14, 21-15 in the women’s singles second round. Though the scoreline may suggest a complete domination by the Indian the story is a bit different as Sindhu was tested by her opponent. Pai played well in patches and troubled the India with her fast paced drives and smashed. However, there is nothing much to worry about Sindhu’s performance as the lanky Indian always takes some time to get into the groove. In most of the tournaments Sundhu toils in the first couple of rounds even if the opponent is lower ranked than her. But once she settles in, she finds her length and is back at her best. Even against the world No. 45 Sindhu lost momentum in the second game. Leading 6-1 Sindhu started making mistakes and that helped Pai to close gap at 10-10. Pai even went into the break with a one-point lead at 11-10- However Sindhu regained control with a couple of powerful smashes. She even played well at the net.
From 15-13 Sindhu powered ahead to 18-13 securing three consecutive points. With a forehand drive to the back of the court Sindhu secured the win and warm up for the tougher battles ahead. The four-time medallist at the World Championships will face Beiwen Zhang of USA who defeated Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen of Australia in straight games 21-14, 21-13. The world No. 5 Indian has a 4-3 record against Zhang. In 2018, Zhang won the first two matches while Sindhu clinched the next two. It will be a tough outing for the Indian but of late she added several new strokes to her armoury and is expected to prevail over the American.
Saina and Srikanth makes positive start
Eighth seed Saina Nehwal also made a positive start to her campaign, defeating Netherlands’ Soraya De Visch Eijbergen 21-10, 21-11 to set up a clash with Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt. Kidambi Srikanth on the other hand survived a scare but bounced back to beat Misha Zilberman 13-21, 21-13, 21-16. Having lost the opening game, Srikanth took an early lead and maintained his domination to force the match into the decider. In the third game, Srikanth raced away with a five-point lead and although the Israeli did well to close the gap, the Indian sealed the match without any further hiccups. Srikanth will now face Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen in the next round.
See all the results of day 3 here