Sunday, September 8, 2019
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTON PHOTO
Here are some of the best matches that were seen at the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2019 in Basel:
WS Quarterfinals: Pusarla V Sindhu vs Tai Tzu Ying
Tai Tzu Ying has had a jinxed relationship with the World Championships. Despite being the top player over the last three seasons, the Chinese Taipei star doesn’t have even a medal to show. This time it was brilliant stonewalling from Pusarla V Sindhu that sealed her fate. Tai produced scintillating badminton in the opening game, befuddling Pusarla with her deception, but the Indian responded by playing the waiting game, relying on her deep clears and holding back from getting committed. It was a tight battle until the end, with the Indian clearing her biggest hurdle (12-21 23-21 21-19) on the way to her first gold.
The match will be remembered as one of the longest ever, stretching over two hours. Li Yin Hui repeatedly suffered cramps in the third and was tended to; the Japanese somehow were unable to capitalise. From 9-all in the third, neither side manage a lead of over a point, until the Chinese finally broke away after 23-all and saving one match point. The score: 23-25 21-18 25-23.
WD Final: Matsumoto/Nagahara vs Fukushima/Hirota
The closest of the five finals. Fukushima and Hirota held off a late charge to take the second game and keep the contest alive; the roles reversed in the third as they sensationally had match point from five down. Nagahara and Matsumoto’s last-ditch effort came to their rescue as they retained the gold: 21-11 20-22 23-21.
A sparkling contest, with Intanon’s sharpness cutting up Okuhara in the opening passage. But once the Japanese turned the match into a battle of attrition, with her sensational retrievals, Intanon had her back to the wall. The second game was touch-and-go; the Thai faded out in the third: 17-21 21-18 21-15.
WD Quarterfinals: Polii/Rahayu vs Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan
A tense, hard-fought battle all the way, with the Indonesians prevailing 25-23 23-21. The Chinese had been taken the distance in their previous match by Korea’s Kim/Kong, but did well to stand up to the challenge of the long-drawn exchanges against the Indonesians, only failing narrowly in a match that went past the hour.
MS Round 3: Lee Zii Jia vs Kenta Nishimoto
Men’s singles didn’t see many close matches at the World Championships; the third round between Lee Zii Jia and Nishimoto was one of the few. The Malaysian had three match points, only for the Japanese to draw level, but Lee did well to grab the initiative in the last two rallies and take the match 21-15 11-21 22-20.
MD Round 2: Lamsfuss/Seidel vs Endo/Watanabe
The Germans’ upset featured among the early significant results of the World Championships. Lamsfuss and Seidel ran the fifth seeds close in the second game and kept up their intensity, refusing to be shaken off even as the Japanese scratched out three of four match points. The upset was accomplished in the 69th minute: 21-17 20-22 21-19.