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(Photo: Spanish Badminton Federation / Madrid 2022)
Indonesia Open 2022: The return of the queen
Date: 6/14/2022 9:27 AM
Published by : Yash Sharma
While the European Championships marked her comeback from another injury, Carolina Marin returns to the BWF World Tour in Indonesia after 15 months. 

The former Olympic and three-time world champion Carolina Marin is not getting any younger. However, an iron-will and an inexhaustible dream to be the greatest-ever drives her forward. The Spanish superstar has strongly bounced back twice from career-threatening knee injuries. While she had to sit out the Tokyo Olympics, she is determined to make Paris a reality. 

The six-time European champion resumes her inspiring journey at the Super 1000 event today. In her path to further glory will be the familiar old rivals as well as tricky young guns. The current top four players in women’s singles: Akane Yamaguchi, Tai Tzu Ying, An Se Young, and Chen Yufei have all won tournaments and are playing at an incredibly high level. 

The European champion cannot look any further than the second round yet, as she is expected to take on the Asian champion Wang Zhiyi. 

The clear favourite
The Danish world number one Viktor Axelsen seemingly has a magical touch about him. The Olympic champion is the clear favourite for another Super 1000 title. His compatriot Rasmus Gemke takes on Kento Momota, the only active player with an overwhelming 14-2 record against Axelsen. The Japanese ace has shown some glimpses of his absolute best this year.

However, his mental fortitude and the uncanny ability to suddenly play at a very fast pace extremely well is still lacking. On the other hand, the two-time world champion is perhaps the only player capable of outplaying an in-form Axelsen. Indeed, he was just four points away from defeating him in the Denmark Open final last year.

Given the depth of men’s singles at the moment, there are some exciting opening clashes. While Kunlavut Vitidsarn takes on the Masters runner-up Chou Tien Chen, H S Prannoy faces Lakshya Sen in an all-Indian duel. It will be a delight for the home fans witnessing Anthony Sinisuka Ginting up against the veteran Tommy Sugiarto.

The men’s doubles bonanza
With as many as eight out of 32 pairs in men’s doubles from Indonesia, the badminton powerhouse looks formidable in the category. It does not seem impossible to have both all-Indonesian semifinals.

The onus will be on the young pairs Leo Rolly Carnando/ Daniel Marthin and Pramudya Kusumawardana/ Yeremia Erich Yoche Yacob Rambitan to step up in front of the home crowd. However, the Olympic medallists Lee Yang/ Wang Chi-Lin and Aaron Chia/ Soh Wooi Yik as well as the world champions Takuro Hoki/ Yugo Kobayashi will be in their way. 

The Japanese resurgence
Following the heartbreak in Tokyo, the Japanese women’s doubles is resurgent. While the youngsters Nami Matsuyama/ Chiharu Shida have stepped up to fill in the gap, Yuki Fukushima/ Sayaka Hirota and Mayu Matsumoto/ Wakana Nagahara are also back. It will be great to watch the Japanese women find another gear, as they challenge the Chinese and the Korean pairs. 

Istora Senayan will be treated to a high-profile opening match. The home favourites Apriyani Rahayu/ Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti take on Matsumoto/ Nagahara. 

A hotly contested draw
In a repeat of the Tokyo mixed doubles final, the two-time world champions Zheng Siwei/ Huang Yaqiong and the Olympic champions Wang Yilyu/ Huang Dongping are expected to meet once again. They would contest the semifinal to ensure a Chinese finalist. Likewise, the Japanese Yuta Watanabe/ Arisa Higashino are favoured to reach at least the semifinals.

However, the world number ones Dechapol Puavaranukroh/ Sapsiree Taerattanachai might have their hands full. The Thais are drawn to face the in-form Koreans Seo Seung Jae/ Chae Yu Jung in the quarterfinals. 
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