Queen Carolina Dethroned – Day 5: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

Carolina Marin’s three-year reign at major championships came to an end at the hands of Nozomi Okuhara in the quarter-finals of the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 today.

The Spaniard, winner of the last two Women’s Singles World titles and the Rio Olympics gold, was worn down by the retrieving brilliance of the diminutive Japanese, who outlasted her 21-18 14-21 21-15 in 93 minutes.

Okuhara faces India’s Saina Nehwal, who withstood a high-intensity challenge from local hope Kirsty Gilmour, 21-19 18-21 21-15.

The Marin versus Okuhara contest, as expected, was a fierce battle of wills. The opening game was as dramatic as anything seen on the day. Momentum shifted unexpectedly. Okuhara shot off to a 17-7 lead, but Marin buckled down, getting 11 of the next 13 points to nearly catch up with the Japanese. Okuhara wriggled out to take the game, but Marin was in her element, and she grabbed the reins to take the second and an early lead in the decider.

With the match hinging on small margins, the two tested each other in marathon rallies, wary of attempting the risk of all-out attack. Scores were level at 14 when Okuhara, like an expert marathoner timing her break from the pack, decided to make a dash in the home stretch. The Japanese started to go for the lines, and immediately the momentum shifted. It was Marin, uncharacteristically, who began to wilt under the Japanese’s late assault, and the end came without her trademark fightback.

“It’s tough for me to lose in the quarter-finals,” said Marin. “I have to learn from that. The key was when I was leading 15-14 in the third game, and I lost focus.”

“In the second game my speed was down, and she kept her speed and power,” Okuhara said. “I told myself to keep fighting. I have my target set on the gold medal.”

Nehwal took on an inspired Kirsty Gilmour, and it was all Nehwal could do to stay level as the Scot surprised her with her all-out aggressive game. The exertion, though, began to tell as Gilmour went behind early in the third and never recovered. India were soon assured of their second medal.

“I was expecting a tough fight, but I was surprised she was playing so quick,” said Nehwal. “There were a lot of difficult rallies. She was pepped up and motivated, she put up a great show. I didn’t expect she would last so long in the third game.”

Nehwal had stumbled out early in the Rio Olympics a year ago, and the semi-final marked her return on the big stage.

“Only I know what I went through. I shouldn’t have gone to Rio, I didn’t know I had a major injury. The belief of my parents and coach helped me get back. I still have tendinitis in the (right) knee…

“I wasn’t sure of a medal, I had a difficult draw. Reaching the semi-finals is a great feeling, but tomorrow will be a tough match.”

Meanwhile, Men’s Singles defending champion Chen Long stayed on track for his third straight World title, besting compatriot Tian Houwei 21-12 21-17. Up next for the champion is Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, who fought his way past Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen in three games.

Tense Win for Danes

The doubles saw several close contests; the closest being Danes Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl’s tense victory over Japan’s Shiho Tanaka/Koharu Yonemoto, 21-5 18-21 27-25.

The Japanese recovered from a first-game mauling to force a third, which teetered on the brink with each pair sniffing victory, only to have their opponents draw level each time. The Japanese saved two match points and earned the next three; Pedersen and Rytter Juhl didn’t let them get away and drew on all their resources to stay alive. It finally went the Danes’ way on their fourth match point.

“With the many match points that we had, we were just telling ourselves that we needed to keep on attacking and not be passive, and in the end I am happy that it worked for us,” said Rytter Juhl.

The Danes face another Japanese pair, Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota (featured image), in the semi-finals; the Japanese having prevailed in yet another thriller over Korea’s Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee, 21-14 25-27 21-19.

China Strike it Big

​Men’s Doubles saw unexpected results, with China shocking the No.2 and No.3 seeds.

The year’s most successful pair, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, fell in a tense three-game affair to China’s Chai Biao/Hong Wei: 11-21 21-19 22-20.

Sometime later, Liu Cheng/Zhang Nan survived a match point to overcome Denmark’s Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen, 20-22 21-11 22-20. With the two Chinese pairs facing each other in the semi-finals, China are assured of at least a silver.

In a session of marathon matches, the exception was Mixed Doubles. England’s Chris and Gabrielle Adcock recovered to dominate Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet, 16-21 21-13 21-16, while China’s Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen had it all their way against Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto, 21-16 21-12.

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World Championships News

Wrap: Great Matches – TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

Wrap: Great Matches – TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

29 August 2017
Okuhara Prevails in Epic – Singles Finals: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

Okuhara Prevails in Epic – Singles Finals: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

28 August 2017
‘Four’ Sure! – Doubles Finals: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

‘Four’ Sure! – Doubles Finals: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

27 August 2017
Lin in Seventh Final – Semi-Finals: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

Lin in Seventh Final – Semi-Finals: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

27 August 2017
‘Axel-lent’ Job! – Semi-Finals: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

‘Axel-lent’ Job! – Semi-Finals: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

26 August 2017
Hong Kong’s Doubles Delight – Day 5: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

Hong Kong’s Doubles Delight – Day 5: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

25 August 2017
Chung/Kim Stay in Hunt – Day 4: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

Chung/Kim Stay in Hunt – Day 4: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

25 August 2017
Top Seed Tumbles – Day 4: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

Top Seed Tumbles – Day 4: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

24 August 2017
Tremors Hit Men’s Doubles – Day 3: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

Tremors Hit Men’s Doubles – Day 3: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

24 August 2017
Mama Mia – Europe’s Hopes Rise!  – Day 3: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

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23 August 2017
Singles Seeds Stumble – Day 2: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

Singles Seeds Stumble – Day 2: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

22 August 2017
Lee Stunned in Opening Round – Day 2: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

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22 August 2017
No Mercy for Merrilees – Day 1: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

No Mercy for Merrilees – Day 1: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017

21 August 2017
Bumpy Start for Michelle Li – DAY 1: TOTAL BWF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2017

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21 August 2017
Ready for Liftoff!

Ready for Liftoff!

21 August 2017
Ahmad/Natsir Brimming With Confidence

Ahmad/Natsir Brimming With Confidence

20 August 2017
Marin Lays it On the Line

Marin Lays it On the Line

20 August 2017
Twist in the Script? – Men’s Singles Preview

Twist in the Script? – Men’s Singles Preview

20 August 2017
Welcome to Glasgow!

Welcome to Glasgow!

19 August 2017
Too Close to Call – Women’s Singles Preview

Too Close to Call – Women’s Singles Preview

18 August 2017
Energy Versus Guile – Men’s Doubles Preview

Energy Versus Guile – Men’s Doubles Preview

16 August 2017
Japan Have the Edge – Women’s Doubles Preview

Japan Have the Edge – Women’s Doubles Preview

14 August 2017
Form Favours China – Mixed Doubles Preview

Form Favours China – Mixed Doubles Preview

12 August 2017
‘Worlds’ Blockbuster On The Cards

‘Worlds’ Blockbuster On The Cards

9 August 2017
Son, Yamaguchi Top-Seeded for Worlds

Son, Yamaguchi Top-Seeded for Worlds

6 August 2017
Son Has Tail Up with No.1 Ranking

Son Has Tail Up with No.1 Ranking

2 August 2017
Injury Dashes Jorgensen’s Hopes

Injury Dashes Jorgensen’s Hopes

1 August 2017
12BET an Official Partner of World Championships

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24 July 2017
China Ace Qualification for Worlds

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21 July 2017
Thomas Composes a World Championships Winner

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7 July 2017
Li Xuerui’s Hopes Alive for Worlds

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9 June 2017
Tan Kim Her for World Coaching Conference

Tan Kim Her for World Coaching Conference

17 May 2017
Top Guns Confirm Places

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16 May 2017
Chen Long Gets ‘Worlds’ Wild Card

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4 May 2017
Chen Long’s Fate in the Balance

Chen Long’s Fate in the Balance

28 April 2017
Lin Dan Stakes Glasgow Claim

Lin Dan Stakes Glasgow Claim

20 April 2017
Jorgensen, Tai Lead Race to Glasgow

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24 February 2017
Badminton ‘Worlds’ Going to Glasgow in 2017

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14 November 2014