Photo Credit: Tang Shi
It is always interesting to see how the number 1 seeded players are doing in any tournament. Will they disappoint and lose first round, or can they live up to their seeding?
The biggest favorite to take the World Championship title in women’s single, Tai Tzu Ying from Chinese Taipei, seems to only know one way: Forward! In two straight games she sent out USA’s best hope for a medal, Beiwen Zhang, who was only really close in first game of their match, which finished 21-19 21-14 to the no. 1 seeded Tai.
It was the same scenario in the match between Carolina Marín, Spain, and Sayaka Sato, Japan. The winner only knew one way: Forward! The Spanish Olympic Champion showed no mercy against Sato and surely also wanted to revenge her defeat against the Japanese from Indonesia Open a month ago. After just 31 minutes Marín had sent Sato back home with only 20 points in the bag; 21-7 21-13.
Tomorrow’s quarterfinals offer us at least two very interesting matches since Saina Nehwal, India, beat Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon and she will face Marín in what will be a repetition of the World Championship final from 2015. And finally we will see another episode of the often very dramatic matches between Nozomi Okuhara, Japan, and India’s other darling, Pusarla V. Sindhu. The tall Indian sent out Korea’s last player from the tournament as she won in two games against Sung Ji Hyun.
Perfect birthday present
Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo gave himself the best present he could on his 22nd birthday today by giving himself and partner Marcus Fernaldi Gideon a ticket to the quarterfinals tomorrow. The two top seeded Indonesians were up against Russians Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov and just like we predicted yesterday it turned out not to be as easy as they might have hoped.
The match was extremely close all the way into the middle of second game. Only then Kevin and Marcus managed to pull away from 9-8 to 17-9, and from then they never looked back. The Russians are out and the Indonesians are in the quarterfinal against Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda after winning 21-19 21-12
Close to sensation
In the men’s single category Kento Momota was dancing on the edge of a sensational exit in the round of 16 when he played against Denmark’s youngster Anders Antonsen. Read about how this match went in our detailed article here.
Reigning World Champion Viktor Axelsen was also in trouble today, however, managed to secure himself a spot in tomorrow’s quarterfinals where he will be up against one of the local heroes from China. This was a very nice comfort for the Danes who had seen their highest ranked men’s double on the losing side in the match prior to Axelsen’s match. That’s something you can read more about here.
Momota and Axelsen weren’t the only ones to play close matches as Chen Long also had to bring out his best to beat Kenta Nishimoto from Japan. With his usual patient style and a match of 65 minutes the Chinese could finally raise his hands after winning 21-18 21-19. That brings us to a very interesting match tomorrow with the reigning World Champion against the reigning Olympic Champion; Chen Long is going to play Viktor Axelsen.
Goodbye Lin Dan?
Many people often speculate for how long Lin Dan will keep playing. It seems nobody know…
The 5 times Chinese World Champion and twice Olympic Champion was up against his compatriot Shi Yuqi today and both have been considered among the favorites for the title in Nanjing. But there was never really any doubt of the outcome of their match. Shi Yuqi proved too strong for the Chinese legend and with 21-15 21-9 he finished Lin Dan’s participation in the championships this year. Speculations say that this might be the last time we see Lin Dan at this level…
Mixed Chinese feelings
Just as it wasn’t a happy day for Lin Dan, the same was the case for one of China’s mixed doubles. He Jiting and Du Yue lost against Chris and Gabrielle Adcock from England, expected but nevertheless sad, and earlier this morning Du Yue was also beaten in women’s double with partner Li Yinhui so it’s double exit for her today. They were up against the reigning World Champions, their compatriots Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan who won the Chinese clash 21-8 21-19. He Jiting said goodbye to men’s double yesterday when he lost to the two times Mads from Denmark with partner Tan Qiang yesterday.
With Chen and Jia’s win in women’s double and Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong’s win against Indonesians Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja, all top seeded players are still in the tournament – the tops seeds are cruising on.
Last Chinese matches of the day were double up on men’s double. Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen played an extremely close match with Malaysia’s Goh V. Shem and Tan Wee Kiong who, if they won, could secure the first medal for their country as tomorrow’s opponents would be another Malaysian pair. It did however not go Goh and Tan’s way and with a tricky last serve of the match, Li and Liu secured another spot for China in the quarterfinals with 22-20 in third game.
Finally the World Champions from 2017, Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan, made their entry into Friday’s matches with 21-15 21-14 against Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe from Japan. With this result Watanabe hereby lost both his matches today.
Fun fact of the day:
The three longest matches today lasted 78, 77 and 76 minutes…
You can see all the results of the day here.