(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
World Championships Semifinals: The Titanic Tussles
Date: 8/28/2022 10:50 AM
Published by : Yash Sharma
With the World Championships finals now underway, let’s take a look at what happened at the semifinals. Despite half of the ten matches concluding in straight games, there was no easy victory. 

As the 27th edition of the BWF World Championships reached its penultimate day, the fatigue showed in all the athletes with the slow conditions taking a toll. While there is no doubt about the hunger to win, the physical effort remaining in the finalists will be undeniably crucial today. 

Can Axelsen make it two?
Few men’s singles champions have won the prestigious event more than once. While equalling Lin Dan is too much to ask of anyone, Viktor Axelsen can make it two golds today with his first win coming in 2017. The Olympic champion is also one victory away from his 40th on trot, already a record. While he expectedly outmanoeuvred first-time medallist Chou Tien Chen 21-15, 21-17, in his way will be the three-time world junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn. 

The 21-year-old vanquished the challenge of an extremely tired Zhou Junpeng after pocketing the opener. The stark scoreline read 22-20, 21-6. With his recent style reminiscent of prime Kento Momota, anything can happen today. 

The Chinese might
Despite Junpeng’s loss, China will be contesting three finals today. Considering their no-participation in men’s doubles, it is incredible. While Chen Yufei had it easy against a frustratingly erratic Tai Tzu Ying in a repeat of the Olympic final 15-21, 21-14, 21-18, the defending champions Chen Qingchen/ Jia Yifan dominated the two-time champions Mayu Matsumoto/ Wakana Nagahara 21-13, 21-14. 

In the all-Chinese mixed doubles semifinal, Zheng Siwei/ Huang Yaqiong were a class above the Olympic champions Wang Yilyu/ Huang Dongping in the decider. They scored seven straight points to run away with the match 21-16, 12-21, 21-10. 

The home favourites 
Japan made two finals. Interestingly, they face China in both the categories. First, the last year’s runner-ups Yuta Watanabe/ Arisa Higashino destroyed the first-time and surprise medallists Mark Lamsfuss/ Isabel Lohau. The German pair seemed content with a bronze and failed to offer much resistance. The home favourites cruised through 21-8, 21-8 in under half an hour. 

Likewise, the current world champion Akane Yamaguchi held off An Se Young brilliantly in the opener. Following that, the usually eerily calm Korean looked deflated throughout the second game in face of an otherworldly retrieving by the Japanese world number one. Yamaguchi won 21-19, 21-12.

The prospect of the reigning world champion going up against the Olympic champion on home soil is salivating! 

Never too old to win
Today’s proceedings began with yet another masterclass by the Daddies, Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan. It is crazy that the latter is contesting his fifth final 15 years after the first victory with Marcus Kido. The Indonesians outplayed younger in-form compatriots Fajar Alfian/ Muhammad Rian Ardianto 23-21, 12-21, 21-16. They remain unbeaten in the tournament as a pair. 

They will take on Malaysia’s Aaron Chia/ Soh Wooi Yik in a repeat of the Olympic bronze medal match. The duo put behind their Commonwealth Games disaster to overcome the recently-crowned champions Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/ Chirag Shetty in an absorbing thriller 20-22, 21-18, 21-16. While the Malaysians seek to create history by winning their country’s first-ever gold, the Daddies will hope to rewrite history books by extending their record.
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