(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Doubles Preview: World Championships 2021
Date: 12/12/2021 6:17 PM
Published by : Yash Sharma
Given the absence of Wang Yil Yu/ Huang Dong Ping and the withdrawal of Greysia Polii/ Apriyani Rahayu, Lee Yang/ Wang Chi-Lin are the only Olympic gold winning pair featuring in the tournament.

Indonesia paves way for Europe
The withdrawal of men’s doubles powerhouse Indonesia has titled the balance in favour of top European pairs. The bottom quarter will likely be contested by the seventh-seeded Kim Astrup/ Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, Germans Mark Lamsfuss/ Marvin Seidel and European Champions Vladimir Ivanov/ Ivan Sozonov.

Therefore, a European pair is guaranteed to feature in the semifinals. The winner is then expected to face a Malaysian pair: either the Tokyo bronze medallists Aaron Chia/ Soh Wooi Yik, or the Rio silver medallists Goh V Shem/ Tan Wee Kiong.

The top half is more hotly contested. As a major medal for Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/ Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo still awaits, Takuro Hoki/ Yugo Kobayashi are the clear favourites in the top quarter based on picking up two big titles in Bali.

Following the form, they will square off against the Olympic champions in the semifinals. However, the Chinese Taipei stars will have a tricky quarterfinal against the winner of a thrilling early round match between Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/ Chirag Shetty and Ong Yew Sin/ Teo Ee Yi. 

Wakana Nagahara is back
Mayu Matsumoto will be keen to resume her partnership with Nagahara. They had fallen in the quarterfinals in Tokyo, losing 28-26 in the decider against Kim Soyeong/ Kong Heeyong. However, the fourth seeds have a chance to create history. While five other pairs have won consecutive World Championships, no pair has ever strung a hat-trick of women’s doubles titles. 

If they beat the Stoeva sisters in the quarterfinals, the Japanese duo will likely run into the top seeds. The Chinese Olympic silver medallists Chen Qing Chen/ Jia Yi Fan are the slight favourites to regain the trophy they won in 2017. They will also have a tough quarterfinals assignment against the in-form Japanese pair Nami Matsuyama/ Chiharu Shida. 

The other semifinal will perhaps be an all-Korean affair, Kim/ Kong taking on Lee Sohee/ Shin Seungchan. 

Zheng Siwei seeks redemption
The all-conquering and near-infallible mixed doubles Chinese pair Zheng Siwei/ Huang Yaqiong fell short when it mattered the most. The then World No. 1s lost the Olympic crown to their compatriots, despite a hugely favourable record. Zheng took the blame for faltering in the dying moments of the match. The pair faded from the limelight as Wang/ Huang led China in the team events. However, the two-time defending champions are back. 

Their path to the title is cut out: either Marcus Ellis/ Lauren Smith or Robin Tabeling/ Selena Piek in the quarterfinal, Yuta Watanabe/ Arisa Higashino is the semifinal, and the current World No. 1s Dechapol Puavaranukroh/ Sapsiree Taerattanachai in the final. The in-form Hong Kong pair Tang Chun Man/ Tse Ying Suet are likely semifinalists, if they get the better of two European pairs, Mathias Christiansen/ Alexandra Boje and Mark Lamsfuss/ Isabel Lohau. 

Elsewhere, Thom Gicquel/ Delphine Delrue are seeded eighth and can reach the quarterfinals. They will then face the third seeds Watanabe/ Higashino. 

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