(Photo: Badmintonphoto)

China has two triple champions

8/31/2022 11:07 AM |  BadmintonEurope.com |  Yash Sharma

The badminton powerhouse enjoyed double delight as two pairs won their third World Championships title.

Zheng Siwei/ Huang Yaqiong spoiled the perfect ending for the hosts by beating the home favourites Yuta Watanabe/ Arisa Higashino. The Chinese duo came to Tokyo on a run of six unbeaten tournaments. Moreover, they needed to prove their mettle by compensating for the title loss at the Olympics here last year.

The Round of 16 scare against the unheralded Thai pair Paewsampran/ Jomkoh, where they eked out a 21-19 win in the decider, was a wake-up call. They won against the Malaysians Tan Kian Meng/ Lai Pei Jeng in the quarterfinals before dominating the Olympic champions Wang Yilyu/ Huang Dongping.

They were on fire in the finals as well. Zheng Siwei hammered his biggest smashes to breach the Japanese defence. Watanabe helped their cause by showing some ambitious display. The Chinese were quick to pocket the opener 21-13 before the home pair recovered to marginally lead 14-13 in the second.

However, Higashino, despite her best efforts, fell time and again into the effective Chinese trap. With Siwei relentlessly attacking thunderously from the back and Yaqiong making the shuttle die at the net, it was only a matter of time before the Japanese succumbed.

It was a class act by the mixed doubles best pair at the moment. They won 21-13, 21-16 to lift their third title following consecutive wins in 2018 and 2019.

A third crown for Chen/ Jia

Chen Qingchen/ Jia Yifan successfully completed their title defence today. The Chinese world number ones remarkably lifted their third World Championship trophy without dropping a game.

Chen/ Jia had shown some unsure play in Indonesia and Malaysia last month. However, they meant business in Tokyo with the goal to make up for the Olympics final loss to Greysia Polii/ Apriyani Rahayu. The Chinese started well against the surprise finalists Kim Soyeong/ King Heeyong. The Koreans have played on and off recently and did great to achieve a silver.

Despite the good start, the defending champions started being too passive in the rallies, allowing the Koreans to create a lead. One sensed that the match was headed in direction of the Olympic final. However, Chen Qingchen regrouped in time, drawing on the bad experience in Tokyo. With Jia Yifan uncharacteristically sharp at the front court this time, the Chinese got off to a perfect start. Kim/ Kong were denied the opener.

With the job half done, Chen/ Jia breathed easily and smiled for the first time during the change of ends. They played on marvellously in the second game, building upon the new-found confidence. In the end, the 92-minute marathon semifinal took toll on the Koreans. Kong’s attack slowly lost its bite and that was all the Chinese needed to run away with the match.

The world number ones won their second consecutive title in style 22–20, 21-14.

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