WORLD JUNIORS QF – Indisputable Indians, Dazzling Danes

If these World Junior Championships are an indication on who will dictate badminton in the future, China might start to worry.  The ever so dominant powerhouse has just one contestant […]


If these World Championships are an indication on who will dictate badminton in the future, China might start to worry.  The ever so dominant powerhouse has just one contestant left in the singles, and an uncharacteristic three teams left in the double events.  Rivals such as Korea, Malaysia and Denmark all seem ready to dethrone the current number one.

By Elm Vandevorst, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: BadmintonPhoto (archives)

Alongside these three countries also India and Japan are still in the race, at least in the singles.  Especially Sai Praneet B. has been unstoppable so far.  The Indian youngster hasn’t lost a single game so far and disposed all of his opponents in less than 25 minutes.  An all-Indian final is still possible as also his compatriot Prannoy H.S. won his quarter final, against Kai Lu 17-21, 21-19, 21-15.  If both shuttlers win in the semis, Prannoy can take revenge for his lost final at the National Junior Championships of India, where he lost 14-21, 17-21.

However Viktor Axelsen (pictured), as well as Kang Ji Wook will give it their best to prevent the Indian party.  Axelsen was slightly better than reigning Asian Junior Champion Huang Yuxiang 21-12, 11-21, 21-16.  Again Huang fell a game behind, but was this time unable to win both of the remaining games.  Also Kang Ji Wook is still a candidate to be Tian Houwei’s successor.  The Korean had to play a whopping six matches on Friday – three round of 16 and then three quarter-finals – and will also appear in the mixed doubles semis alongside Choi Hye In, with whom he has already won two German Junior mixed titles.

They’ll bump into Ow Yao Han and Lai Pei Jing.  The Malaysian pair, who lost in the quarter-finals last year, this time defeated Danish duo Kim Astrup / Line Kjaersfeldt 10-21, 21-8, 21-18.  Nevertheless, Europe has still one prospect left with Max Schwenger and Isabel Herttirch.  Both teenagers also play together in the German competition for Bayern TSV Lauf.  Their next challengers had to come from an all-Chinese clash between first seeds Liu Cheng / Bao Yixin and outsiders Chen Zhuofu / Ou Dongni.  Although both sides are very familiar with each other, the title favourites Liu/Bao just needed a quarter to crush their compatriots 21-12, 21-15.

Suo.DieA gifted generation of Japanese girls is showing the entire world that they can follow into the footsteps of their male compatriot Kenichi Tago.  Both Naoko Fukuman and Misaki Matsutomo overcome seeded opponents and advanced to the last four.  Fukuman surprisingly beat Europe’s top talent Carolina Marin 17-21, 21-14, 21-13.  An even bigger challenge lies ahead as she comes across titleholder Ratchanok Intanon.

Matsutomo normally trains and plays in Japan but her first ever international finals came in her first appearance in an EBU tournament, in September 2009.  At the Belgian International she lost the singles against living legend Yao Jie, but won the women’s doubles together with her partner Ayaka Takahashi.  A first place in the singles is still an option at the World Juniors but Asian Junior Champion Suo Di (pictured) will be a very tough adversary.  Second seeded Suo had to fight for an hour to defeat Sindhu P.  V.  from India 13-21, 21-17, 21-15 and is the only Chinese player left over in the singles.

Back to Kang Ji Wook, who had already participated and triumphed in five matches earlier that day.  Unfortunately his sixth contest of the day was too much.  Kang and Choi Seung Il couldn’t keep up the fight for three long games against Hong Kong pair Lee Chun Hei / Ng Ka Long and ended up losing 18-21, 21-7, 11-21.  This means the current Asian Junior Champions are already out of the tournament in both boys’ disciplines.  The early exit for the Koreans is good news for their rivals Ow/Yew.  The Malaysian pair has lost repeatedly to dark horses but can now try to go all the way.  First things first as Kim Astrup and Rasmus Fladberg can still prevent this from happening, if they prevail in the semis.  The young Danes, both born in 1992, were too strong for another European twosome Christopher Coles and Matthew Nottingham from England 21-18, 21-14.

It’s not all doom and gloom for China as they still stand strong in the girls’ doubles.  With the two top seeded pairs in their line-up, we can expect China to claim at least one gold medal.  Top seeds Tang Jinhua / Xia Huan, as well as Bao Yixin/Ou Dongni were successful in straight games.  The first duo will meet Koreans Choi Hye In / Lee So Hee, while Bao/Ou will face Sandra-Maria Jensen and Line Kjaersfeldt from Denmark.

For complete quarter-final results from the 2010 Bimantara Cup World Junior Championships, CLICK HERE


About Elm Vandevorst