WORLD JUNIORS 2015 QF – China shut out of singles again

Natsuki Nidaira beat Youth Olympic gold medallist He Bingjiao to help deny China the girls’ singles title for the 8th straight time at the World Junior Championships.  China still looks […]

Natsuki Nidaira beat Youth Olympic gold medallist He Bingjiao to help deny China the girls’ singles title for the 8th straight time at the World Championships.  China still looks strong to sweep doubles while Japan has semi-finalists in all five events.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Raphael Sachetat for Badmintonphoto (live)

China’s Lin Guipu and He Bingjiao came into the 2015 World Junior Championships in Lima, Peru as overwhelming favourites.  Both were Asian Junior Champions this year.  Lin won the world title last year and the man who pre-empted him for the Youth Olympic title has graduated to the senior divisions.

He Bingjiao was runner-up last year at the World Juniors, then beat the champion later in the year for the Youth Olympic gold, and had her way cleared for this year when Akane Yamaguchi elected to play the China Open instead.

Even without Yamaguchi, the Japanese still seemed to have some threats for the girls’ singles title but most eyes were on Moe Araki – who was semi-finalist at the Asian Juniors after beating Yamaguchi in a domestic event in the spring – and Saena Kawakami, the youngest player to win Grand Prix and Grand Prix Gold titles this year.

However, the one who stole the show on quarter-finals day in Lima was Natsuki Nidaira.  The youngest of Japan’s four entries in the event, Nidaira had beaten both Kawakami and Araki last winter, when she won the Korea Junior International title.  This time, the 17-year-old came back from one game down and then from 10-16 down late in the decider to beat China Masters champion He Bingjiao (pictured top) in three.

Moe Araki also did her part in ridding the draw of Chinese competitors, beating Gao Fangjie in the quarter-finals, after eliminating her compatriot Kawakami in the previous round.  The semi-final round will be all Japan and Malaysia.  Goh Jin Wei beat 2014 Asian Junior runner-up Chen Yufei in two close games while Lee Ying Ying took out the last European in the draw, Denmark’s Julie Dawall Jakobsen.

In the boys’ singles, Lu Chia Hung (pictured above) won the longest match of the day when he became the first to beat a defending champion.  He won out over Lin Guipu 21-18 in their deciding game.  Lu will now take on Japan’s Koki Watanabe.  Watanabe, who also beat Lin in the mixed team competition has already beaten the only other junior to have beaten the defending champion when he eliminated Cheam June Wei earlier in the week.

The other singles surprise came with the loss of top seed Firman Abdul Kholik of Indonesia to Adulrach Namkul.  The Thai now takes on India’s Siril Verma.

Japan sweep vs. Chinese doubles sweep

Japan is now the only remaining team with semi-finalists in all five disciplines.  Chiharu Shida is the only non-Chinese player still going in two events.  She and girls’ doubles partner Nami Matsuyama helped to whittle down the Chinese participation to two pairs, by beating Chen Lu / Zhou Chaomin (pictured above), but the Chinese are still looking not only for a doubles sweep but they are keen to set up three all-Chinese finals in doubles.

China also has four players who are still going in two events each.  Chen Qingchen is still going with Jia Yifan, with whom she is the girls’ doubles defending champions, and Zheng Siwei, with whom she won the Asian Junior title this year.

Zheng is also going in boys’ doubles with He Jiting, who is also playing mixed with Asian Junior girls’ doubles winner Du Yue, who is also still going in girls’ doubles with Thai Open winner Li Yinhui (pictured right).  Zheng Siwei and He Jiting will have a rematch in their semi-final against the pair that beat them in the mixed team event, Japan’s Kenya Mitsuhashi and Yuta Watanabe, no relation to boys’ singles semi-finalist Koki Watanabe.

Also in the boys’ doubles is the last European pair in the competition.  Denmark’s Joel Eipe / Frederik Søgaard Mortensen (pictured bottom) beat Korean 17-year-olds Lee/Lim and will now take on Asian Junior runners-up Han Chengkai / Zhou Haodong in an attempt to prevent an all-Chinese final.

Click here for complete quarter-final results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @