ASIAN GAMES 2018 Finals – Another silver for Olympic gold medallists

Olympic gold medallists Matsutomo/Takahashi had to be satisfied with another Asiad silver medal after being defeated by 21-year-olds Chen and Jia as China took the first two golds in Jakarta. […]

Olympic gold medallists Matsutomo/Takahashi had to be satisfied with another Asiad silver medal after being defeated by 21-year-olds Chen and Jia as China took the first two golds in Jakarta.

Story: Naomi Indartiningrum, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta
Photos: Raphael Sachetat  / Badmintonphoto (live)

The Chinese badminton team succeeded in adding two more gold medals to the men’s team gold after their two remaining representatives won the first two finals at the 18th final at Istora Senayan, Jakarta.

First, Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan (pictured right) won over Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi from Japan.  The 2017 World Champions managed to claim the women’s doubles gold medal after winning 22-20, 22-20 in an hour-long match.  Chen/Jia’s appearance in the final round deserves a thumbs up.  They managed to use their defense to set up attacks that were too difficult for their opponents to penetrate.

Chen/Jia lead 11-10 at the first game interval through many mistakes made by the Japanese pair but lost their focus and had to play catch-up after the Olympic champions reached game point at 20-17.   The Chinese pair 5-point run could not be stopped by their veteran opponents and a hard smash by Jia Yifan closed the opening game at 22-20.

In the second game, Matsutomo/Takahashi appeared to dominate and again pushed out to a late lead at 17-14.  But the young Chinese players again showed their mental toughness and they slowly begin to shorten the gap, and despite being caught this time at 20-all, they took it home with another 22-20 score.

“It has been while since we were against such a strong Chinese team,” said Takahashi.  “But we did well today.  It indicates some progress that we were able to fight back against a Chinese pair in top form.”

“They played very well and put us under pressure,” said Matsutomo.  “Even though this is difficult to take, we have to move forward and be better.”

With this result, Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi (pictured left) must be satisfied again to win another silver medal at the Asian Games.  4 years ago, the world #2 pair also had to settle for silver after being defeated by Greysia Polii / Nitya Krishinda Maheswari in the Incheon final.

All alone at the top

Meanwhile in the mixed doubles final, top seed Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong (pictured) did not encounter significant difficulties against Hong Kong representatives, Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet.  Zheng and Huang were already alone in the badminton world in claiming both the title of World Champions and world #1 this year.  Now to that they have added the Asian Games gold medal and they did it in double-quick time.

The Chinese pair controlled the rhythm throughout the match, which came in at just 30 minutes.  Zheng/Huang managed to confirm themselves as the clear winners after the scoreboard showed 21-8, 21-15 as the winning score.

“Although it might have looked easy, actually for us this match was still not easy,” said Zheng Siwei afterward.

“When we won the first game, we didn’t want to just get too confident.  In fact, we were wary, knowing that they would make changes in the second game.  We are glad that we could still succeed in taking the lead and keeping it until the match was over,” added Huang Yaqiong.

After the match, Tse Ying Suet (pictured left, with Tang Chun Man and their coaches) admitted that she appeared under her best performance due to perceived fatigue after the semi-final match the previous day: “We didn’t have the performance today because we have played some tight matches and it’s really tiring.  I could not sleep because I was too excited about the final,” said Tse.

“Our speed in the first game was so slow and we didn’t have the chance to attack,” she added.

Zheng/Huang’s success extended China’s mixed doubles record at the Asian Games.  In the event held in 2014 in Incheon, China also managed to bring mixed doubles gold through Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei.

Monday final results:
WD:  Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan (CHN) [3] beat Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) [2]  22-20, 22-20
XD:  Zheng Siwei / Huang Yaqiong (CHN) [1] beat Tang Chun Man / Tse Ying Suet (HKG) [4]  21-8, 21-15

Click here for complete Monday results

Naomi Indartiningrum

About Naomi Indartiningrum

Naomi began as a Badzine Correspondent in 2015, while still a Business Management student living in Jakarta. A badminton enthusiast since 2007, she mostly spends her spare time writing about local badminton events and also maintaining one of largest badminton twitter accounts in Indonesia.