Thursday, 20 Jun 2024

NEWS

The All England Badminton Championships witnessed an eventful day of action today, with upsets and surprises aplenty at the Utilita Arena Birmingham. In a fast-paced display of skill, several defending champions were knocked out, creating an opportunity for new contenders to shine in 2023.

Japanese duo Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida, Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino, and Viktor Axelsen all made early exits, leaving the tournament wide open for fresh faces to claim victory. Matsuyama and Shida were the first casualties, losing to Baek Ha Na and Lee So Hee in a thrilling contest. Despite their best efforts, the second-seeded Japanese players were eventually defeated 18-21, 21-19, 21-9 by the South Koreans.

However, there is still hope for Japanese representation in the quarter-finals, as Wakana Nagahara and Mayu Matsumoto showcased their skills and eliminated Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith. Meanwhile, third seeds Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu secured a victory over Margot Lambert and Ann Tran, ensuring they remain in the competition. The eighth seeds, Apriyani Rahayu and Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti, also advanced to the next stage.

There were some surprise packages as well, with unseeded pairings Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand Pullela, and Li Wen Mei and Liu Xuan Xuan, making it to the quarter-finals. Thursday’s matches proved to be an exciting affair, raising the anticipation for the upcoming rounds.

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Watanabe and Higashino suffered an unfortunate departure from the tournament due to injury. The Japanese pair, aiming for their third consecutive title in Birmingham, were forced to retire during their match against Kim Won Ho and Jeong Na Eun. The injury-stricken Watanabe and Higashino were trailing 23-21, 13-7 when they made the decision to withdraw, making top seeds Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong the favorites for the championship.

The Chinese top seeds faced a tough challenge themselves but managed to overcome Chun Hei Reginald Lee and Tsz Yau Ng in a closely contested match, winning 20-22, 21-14, 21-18. In the next round, they will face Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo, who upset sixth seeds Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing.

The tournament saw a few seeded players stumble, with fourth seeds Thom Gicquel and Delphine Derue exiting in straight games against unseeded Indonesian duo Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto and Lisa Ayu Kusumawait. Another unseeded Japanese pairing, Kyohei Yamashita and Naru Shinoya, also secured their place in the quarter-finals, displaying potential to go even further in the competition.

The most surprising upset of the day came with Viktor Axelsen’s defeat to Ng Tze Yong. The former champion, known as the great Dane, fought hard after losing the first game but managed to dominate the second and gain a lead in the decider. Unfortunately, Tze Yong displayed incredible resilience, saving two match points and eventually securing a remarkable 21-18, 9-21, 23-21 victory. Axelsen’s exit added to the unexpected results, as 2022 runner-up Anders Antonsen also fell to Lakshya Sen in straight games, indicating that last year’s finalists did not make it past the quarter-finals.

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In the women’s singles draw, chaos ensued elsewhere, but the higher-seeded players maintained their dominance. Second seed and defending champion An-Se Young showcased her prowess with a comfortable victory over Pai Yu Po. She now faces seventh seed and former champion Carolina Marin, who made a triumphant return to the tournament with a win against Beiwen Zhang. Top seed Akane Yamaguchi, three-time champion Tai Tzu-Ying (this year’s third seed), China’s He Bingjiao, and Chen Yufei all advanced to the quarter-finals without much difficulty.

Among the surprises, Gregoria Mariska Tunjung became the only unseeded player to reach the quarter-finals. Her victory against Lalinrat Chaiwan made her the first Indonesian woman in ten years to reach this stage in the singles competition.

The All England Badminton Championships continue to keep fans on the edge of their seats as the competition progresses. With each match bringing its share of excitement and unexpected outcomes, badminton enthusiasts eagerly await the remaining rounds to witness who will claim the coveted titles in 2023.

FAQs

Q: Who were the defending champions that got knocked out in the All England Badminton Championships?
A: Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida, Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino, and Viktor Axelsen were all defending champions who were eliminated in the tournament.

Q: Did any unseeded players make it to the quarter-finals?
A: Yes, unseeded pairs Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand Pullela, as well as Li Wen Mei and Liu Xuan Xuan, managed to reach the quarter-finals.

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Q: Who are the favorites for the women’s singles title?
A: The higher-seeded players, such as defending champion An-Se Young, top seed Akane Yamaguchi, and former champion Tai Tzu-Ying, remain strong contenders for the women’s singles title.

Q: Will there be Japanese representation in the later stages of the tournament?
A: Yes, Wakana Nagahara and Mayu Matsumoto secured their spot in the quarter-finals, ensuring Japanese representation in the later stages of the competition.

Summary

The All England Badminton Championships witnessed an eventful day of action, with defending champions facing early exits and unseeded players surprising everyone with their performances. Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida, Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino, and Viktor Axelsen were among the casualties, opening up opportunities for new champions to emerge. Japanese pair Wakana Nagahara and Mayu Matsumoto impressed with a confident display, while unseeded pairings Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand Pullela, and Li Wen Mei and Liu Xuan Xuan showcased their potential by reaching the quarter-finals. The competition remained fierce in the women’s singles draw, with higher-seeded players maintaining their dominance. As the tournament progresses, fans eagerly await the thrilling matches ahead to determine the ultimate victors in 2023. Don’t miss out on the remaining rounds of the All England Badminton Championships!