Friday 18 August 2017
The singles may command much of the attention at the TOTAL BWF World Championships, but it is the mixed doubles which could steal the show.
An exciting battle is brewing in Glasgow, with the top two seeds the heavy favourites to meet in the final, but with such a strong field arriving at the Emirates Arena it is set to be a thrilling race for the title.
China, not surprisingly, have several strong pairings at their disposal – but it is top seeds Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen who begin as the favourites.
Their season has been based on consistency, reaching the final of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open and Indonesian Open before they struck gold in Australia – beating Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto in the final.
But their biggest challengers, second seeds Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong, are in the form of their lives and made six straight finals earlier this season.
They found success at the YONEX All England, the Yonex-Sunrise India Open, the OUE Singapore Open and the Badminton Asia Championships – and will be confident of adding another title to their ever-growing collection this month.
But pressure and expectation can do funny things and if either pairing fails to hit their straps then there is a gaggle of others waiting in the wings.
Korean pair Choi Sol-gyu and Chae Yoo-jung will certainly hope that is the case and they will be encouraged by the fact they beat Lu and Huang in the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup final.
The two pairs are scheduled to meet in the third round, in what could be one of the matches of the championship.
The winner of that clash is likely to face either Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen of Denmark, or Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei and Chau Hoi Wah.
A Danish test could also await top seeds Zheng and Chen, with Mathias Christiansen and Sara Thygesen on course to meet them in the third round.
In a quality field, India’s Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy have realistic goals of going far and sit in the top half of the draw – along with Britain’s Chris and Gabby Adcock, who are sure to have home support on their side.
The Adcocks have enjoyed a strong season, with semi-final appearances at the YONEX All England and Indian Open fuelling them with belief.
The pair won gold at the Commonwealth Games 2014, also held at the Emirates Arena. Perhaps Glasgow will be lucky for them once more?
Elsewhere, keep an eye out for young Japanese pair Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino, who beat Zheng and Chen in the Sudirman Cup semi-finals, and Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir – the only non-Chinese Superseries winners this season.
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Article by Sportsbeat
Photo from Badminton Photos
History was made on finals day at the TOTAL BWF World Championships as Viktor Axelsen became the first European player to win men’s singles gold in 20 years.