NANNING: Four nations China, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand confirms atleast a bronze medal for their country. The biennial event which is played every odd calendar year has reached its Semifinals stage. The home favorite Chinese team were the first one to qualify followed by Thailand on Thursday evening. Then qualified the top seeds Japan along with the inaugural champions Indonesia .
It has been a week full of excitement and drama here at the Guangxi Sports Center Gymnasium, Nanning, China. The green city of Nanning witnessed some of the best Badminton so far and the action is getting better and better as the tournament reached the final two days. At the end of the week we will have a newly crowned Sudirman Cup Champions or World Mixed Team Champions.
The top two nations from each group qualified for the knockout stages and then an another draw was made for the teams qualifying for the knockouts. China was seeded No. 1 for the Knockout stages and were up against Denmark for the quarter finals clash. The tie between China and Denmark starting with mixed doubles features World No. 1 pair of Zheng Siwei /Huang Yaqiong against Mathias Christiansen/Sara Thysen.
The Dane’s were confident and put in all they have to take game 1, 21-19 but eventually lost next two sets 21-11,21-13 quite convincingly. China was 1-0 up and then came the Men’s Singles match between Olympic Champion Chen Long and Bronze medalist Victor Axelsen. The Dane was very pumped up and disposed of the Chinese challenge 21-11,21-18 in exactly one hour.
In Men’s Doubles, Chinese duo Li/Liu were facing Kim/Rasmussen for the eighth time and extended the head to head record of 6-1 to 7-1. With China 2-1 up in the tie, then came the Women Singles featuring All England Champion Chen Yufei. Chen defeated Mia Blichfeldt 21-16,21-17 in 46 minutes and helped the Chinese team to confirm the semifinal berth.
Other two teams of the first half of the draw were Thailand and Korea. The match between Thailand and Korea also ended with the scoreline of 3-1 in Thailand’s favour. Thailand took 2-0 lead by winning the Mixed Doubles and Men’s Singles, but everyone in the badminton world doesn’t want Thailand to win 3-0 to watch An Se Young play against Ratchanok Intanon which was the fourth match of the tie.
The story of the match went the same way with Korea winning the Men’s Doubles and then came the much anticipated match between the 17 year old sensation An Se Young and Ratchanok Intanon. Having defeating world No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying earlier in the tournament, An Se Young was being look after to repeat the feat again. Despite loosing 15-21,17-21 against Ratchanok Intanon, An Se Young won hearts and received a standing applause from her teammates. Young’s future looks very bright and she is surely gonna be on the flight to Tokyo 2020.
The other two matches of the Knockout stage were played on Friday morning in which second favorites Japan were up against Malaysia in which Japan won by 3-0 quite convincingly. In the match between Chinese Taipei and Indonesia, the match started with Men’s Doubles and Minions helped Indonesia lead 1-0 the next two matches were Women’s Singles and Men’s Singles which were won by Chinese Taipei. The other two matches Mixed Doubles and Women’s Doubles were won by Indonesia to qualify for the semifinals.
In semifinals, China will take on Thailand and Indonesia are up against Japan. With China and Japan being expected to reach the finals, let’s see if Thailand and Indonesia could cause an upset or two.