New Pairs Set Pace – HSBC Race to Guangzhou: Doubles

Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen’s first title together – the Yonex-Sunrise Dr. Akhilesh Das Gupta India Open 2018 – saw them climb 12 places to No.4 in the HSBC Race to Guangzhou.

The Danes (featured image), who only came together as a pair last October, were in the finals of last season’s Tahoe China Open and the Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open but could not clear the last hurdle. Early this month, however, Christiansen and Pedersen were on target at the India Open, lifting the title without dropping a game. The 9,200 points they gained, after second-round finishes in Malaysia and Indonesia, brought their cumulative tally to 16,400 – 1,480 points behind leaders Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai.

Top-ranked Goh/Lai have emerged from the shadows of their compatriots as Malaysia’s best pair currently; successive semi-final finishes in Malaysia and Indonesia were followed by a quarter-final in India. Not far behind are Indonesia’s new combination of Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti – semi-finalists in Indonesia and runners-up in India – while the third spot is occupied by China’s Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong, winners of the Daihatsu Indonesia Masters.

The big movers in Mixed Doubles are India’s Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Sikki Reddy, who climbed 34 places to No.12 following a semi-final finish on home turf. Just ahead of them are Indonesia’s new pairing of Ricky Karanda Suwardi/Debby Susanto, who climbed 12 places to No.11.

Malaysia have three representatives in the top ten – apart from Goh/Lai, Olympic silver medallists Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying (No.5) and Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing (No.7) have performed consistently. Others in the top ten are Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet; Indonesia’s Hafiz Faisal/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja and Yantoni Edy Saputra/Marsheilla Gischa Islami, and Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Puttita Supajirakul.

In Men’s Doubles, the pair that dominated 2017 continued to make early waves this year. Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo won both events in which they competed – the Indonesia Masters and India Open – to accumulate 18,400 points and move atop the rankings.

Indonesia have four pairs in the top ten – Gideon/Sukamuljo are followed by Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto (No.3); Berry Angriawan/Hardianto (No.8) and Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pankaryanira/Ade Yusuf (No.9). Alfian and Ardianto surprised higher-rated pairs on their way to the title in Malaysia, and have quickly emerged among this season’s ones to watch.

Another pair that has shot into the reckoning is Thailand’s Tinn Isriyanet/Kittisak Namdash (No.5), who won their home Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters.

Also in the top ten are Malaysia’s Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong (No.2) – runners-up in Malaysia; China’s Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen (No.4) and Liu Cheng/Zhang Nan (No.10); Chinese Taipei’s Lu Ching Yao/Yang Po Han (No.6) and Denmark’s Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, who shot up 19 places as runners-up in India.

Sikki Reddy’s meteoric rise in Mixed Doubles is matched by her similar rise in Women’s Doubles. Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa jumped 25 spots to No.10 following their quarter-finals run in front home fans in New Delhi.

The top spot is occupied by Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl, who have been a model of consistency so far this year with a victory in Malaysia followed by semi-final finishes in India and Indonesia. In second spot are Thailand’s Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai – winners in Thailand and runners-up in India – who are 2,240 points behind the Danes.

Indonesia’s Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu came together last May and have proven a formidable combination in quick time; reaching the final in Indonesia and going one better in India, to climb up nine places to No.3.

Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi ceded ground to their compatriots late last year, but they hit form in Indonesia, picking up a title after four months. The Japanese are followed by Indonesia’s Della Destiara Haris/Rizki Amelia Pradipta (No.5); Korea’s Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan (No.6); Indonesia’s Anggia Shitta Awanda/Mahadewi Istirani Ni Ketut (No.7); China’s Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan (No.8) – runners-up in Malaysia; and Korea’s Chae Yu Jung/Kim Hye Rin (No.9).

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