SUDIRMAN CUP QF – Tie to Thais

Denmark’s established talents are concentrated in four disciplines while Thailand’s have good enough dibs across all five and it showed in Thursday’s Sudirman Cup quarter-final. By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent […]

Denmark’s established talents are concentrated in four disciplines while Thailand’s have good enough dibs across all five and it showed in Thursday’s quarter-final.

By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in Gold Coast.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Thailand losing the men’s doubles meant playing all five matches would decide whether they or Denmark march into Saturday’s semis.  The inability of the Danish women’s doubles Rio Olympic silver medallists to outwit scratch pairings two evenings in a row delivered the tie to Thailand 3-2.

There were no surprises in the singles categories, both were sealed in straight games and split one way each.  Viktor Axelsen (pictured right) captured the men’s category through many untouchable sharp half smashes and dropshots which left his opponent flat footed.  Thailand’s 2013 World Champion Ratchanok Intanon made Line Kjaersfeldt twist and turn to cover the all corners of the court.

Men’s doubles: The one the Thais wanted

As world rankings went, it  wasn’t an upset when men’s doubles #8 Mads Conrad-Petersen / Mads Pieler Kolding pipped Nipitphon Phuangphuapet and Bodin Isara (pictured) to the post 15-21, 21-18, 21-16.  Nor was it considering the Danes were 1-0 up in their head-to-head record going into the match.  But Thailand would chalk it down in their estimation as owing to the depth of talent and distinctiveness about their top pair.

Both pairs possess salient obvious qualities that would make a gap in the rubber difficult to come back from just because of the fear factor sitting on the mind of each: that being Isara’s smash and Kolding’s towering reach.  These were intelligent country selections for a great match-up.

When the aforementioned critical juncture arrived, without discussion Isara began to surreptitiously step in front of Phuangphuapet and let the rallies play out naturally at the same pace.  Up until then, Phuangphuapet had been executing forecourt blows to Denmark with ever so nuanced varying of strength to try and catch out their deep defence stance with over-hitting or under-hitting the shuttle into Isara’s domain.

Even though the Thai’s didn’t give it away, lacking the sting in Isara’s smash after the rubber game interval meant a two-point gap grew to six and then literally out of reach of the smash of Kolding, the tallest currently in badminton at slightly over 2 metres.

Women’s doubles: The one the Thais got instead

In women’s doubles, the Danish world #2 Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl (pictured right), who did so well against a never before seen Indonesian pairing yesterday, couldn’t find comfort dealing with the same sort of tactical move by Thailand.  Having practiced their new partnership against the Chinese world #5s, Jongkolphan Kititharakul / Sapsiree Taerattanachai (pictured bottom) were a tighter fit this time around.  Kititharakul, in particular, found a lightness of movement and minimised the weak part of her own game, the dropshot unforced errors.

Everybody knows the one card Denmark will play in women’s doubles.  The Rio Olympic silver medallists having established themselves within the top 5 prior to the London Games makes them one of the most studied pairs.  We will never know whether employing Christinna Pedersen in her other long term partnership – as one half of London bronze medallist pair in mixed with Joachim Fischer Nielsen – would have been the right established pair to play instead.

In coming up short in mixed doubles and women’s doubles, Denmark hadn’t converted the one extra tie point from categories they normally depended on.  Like Chinese Taipei who lost tonight, Denmark didn’t roster their reliable player twice and Christinna Pedersen was unable to make it count in her one opportunity on court.

Click here for complete results from Thursday’s quarter-finals


Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @