A look at some of the significant upsets at the recently-concluded TOTAL BWF World Championships 2019:
Yamaguchi arrived at the World Championships after winning the Indonesia Open and her home Japan Open on consecutive weeks. However, the top seed was carrying a niggling hip injury, hampering her movement and combativeness. Her second round opponent Yeo Jia Min took full toll, coming away victorious 21-14 21-18, and riding the momentum to enter the quarterfinals. It was the soft-spoken Singaporean’s time to star on the big stage, and she didn’t let up on the opportunity, beating Vu Thi Trang in the next round despite the flare-up of a back problem.
The ‘Minions’ once again failed to make headway at the World Championships, failing their first test in Basel. Having got a bye in the opening round, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo Sukamuljo ran into inspired Koreans Choi Solgyu and Seo Seung Jae. The Koreans prevented the Minions from establishing their dominance on the first three shots, and prevailing in a tense finish, 16-21 21-14 23-21.
Asian champions Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe could never shake off persistent Germans Mark Lamsfuss and Marvin Seidel in the second round. The Germans played a smart tactical game and kept their composure despite losing three of their four match points, eventually converting their fourth: 21-17 20-22 21-19.
With two World Tour victories in three weeks, Chou Tien Chen was one of the favourites for the men’s singles title in Basel. The second seed however struggled in his campaign, starting with a three-game opening encounter against Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and a coming through a third round battle against Loh Kean Yew. Chou’s doggedness couldn’t see him through in the quarterfinals against attacking Thai youngster Kantaphon Wangcharoen, who outgunned him 21-16 11-21 21-14.
Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi have been on the verge of a big result for a while now, and that came at the World Championships. The 12th seeds demolished sixth seeds Han Cheng Kai/Zhao Hao Dong in the third round, followed up with an entertaining three-game result over third-seeded compatriots Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda, and then shocked defending champions Li Jun Hui/Liu Yu Chen in the semifinals. It wasn’t so much the result, but the manner of it – 21-19 21-13 – that caused some tremors at the St. Jakobshalle.