An Olympic Women’s doubles final without a Chinese pair is history in itself. For Denmark to win an Olympic gold would be the second time, for Japan a first. Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl lost their first match in the tournament, but have risen in level ever since. Their Japanese opponents, Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi came to Rio as the first seeds, and has proved so far that they have that seeding rightfully.
There was a lot at stake in the final today, and one thing was certain; both pairs came to court today to be a part of badminton history. Unfortunately,the Danes could not keep the lead in the third set, and Japan take the gold with the score: 21/18, 9/21, 19/21.
Pedersen and Rytter Juhl looked like winners after the first set, where their defense and a hard-hitting Rytter Juhl were the keys to success. Even though the two pairs accompanied each other on the scoreboard during most of the set, the Danes seemed to be on top and in control, fighting hard for every point.
Walking out to the second set, the pressure was on the Japanese.But they made that pressure work in their advantage. The offensive got improved and they started to win more and more rallies.
The Danes seemed unable to move, and their game did not come together. Many unforced errors gave the Matsutomo and Takahashi an even bigger lead. And in the end of the second set, they seemed to be saving energy for a third set.
Pedersen and Rytter Juhl was back at the same level as in the first set. But the lead goes back and forth, until the Danes starts to show they mean business and brings themselves to an 8/5-lead. The Japanese fight their way back up and they are even once again at 10, 12, and 14.
The edge of the net helps the shuttle onto the Japanese’s side,and the Danes can take the lead again at 16/15. Great work defensively earns them a two points, and from there they could almost taste the gold. Three more points and it is theirs.
But the first seeds will not give in, and they move closer and closer. It did not take them long, to all of a sudden get a match point at 19/20. And from there, they did not hesitate and snitched the gold right in front of the Danes.
Despite of what might seem like a shattering defeat, the Danes can proudly accept their silver medal, as the first ever Danish Women’s double to do so.