Saturday, August 24, 2019
TEXT BY GAYLE ALLEYNE | BADMINTONPHOTO
Much to China’s chagrin, the status quo in men’s doubles and mixed doubles was rocked tonight in St. Jakobshalle.
Their demise came at the hands of lesser-accomplished rivals, Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi, who achieved what their higher-ranked teammates have often struggled to do – and they did it in some style!
Throughout their 21-19 21-13 feat, Japan’s third-ranked men’s duo looked in control and comfortable in their first crack at a World Championship semifinal. If anything, it was the Chinese stars across the net who were out of sorts, later admitting they failed to lift their performance to meet the challenge.
As for the 24-year-olds who pressured them into submission, it was all smiles as the cameras rolled.
“We’re really glad to win and reach the final. We want to win tomorrow. We are motivated to get the gold,” declared Hoki.
“We want to get more points at big events to improve our ranking and be among the top players.”
That shock was preceded by another two-game surprise as Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai added another installment to Thailand’s badminton history, becoming the first pair from that nation to contest a World Championship final. The No.4 seeds prevailed over last year’s silver medallists, Wang Yi Lyu/Huang Dong Ping, 21-16 21-16, to thwart an all-China showdown. They will now meet defending champions and top seeds, Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong, for the mixed-doubles crown.
“We controlled the match and didn’t have to defend too much,” assessed 27-year-old Taerattanachai.
“We’re excited and we’re serious about the final, but we want to enjoy it also.”