Indonesia and Korea are expected to reap a good harvest in doubles at the Asian Leg, which begins tomorrow with the YONEX Thailand Open.
With China and Japan missing the Asian Leg, the Indonesians and Koreans will fancy their chances of dominating the three back-to-back events of the Asian Leg, which includes the TOYOTA Thailand Open and the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020. Not only have the two teams had unbroken training stints through most of 2020, they arrive with most of their top pairs.
The notable exception are the men’s doubles No.1 pair Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, who had to withdraw after Sukamuljo tested positive for COVID-19.
Indonesia have two strong pairs in Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan and Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto, and their fans will also keenly follow the fortunes of World Junior champions Leo Rolly Carnando/Daniel Marthin.
The other main contenders are:
The Danes had to swallow a bitter pill at the Denmark Open, falling to younger compatriots Joel Eipe/Rasmus Kjaer, but on their day can be very hard to beat. Their one memorable result last season was winning the Barcelona Spain Masters. They will have to be on their toes in the opening round, for they face Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin.
The Malaysians are an exciting pair to watch and have become consistent in recent times. Last season they were thwarted thrice by the Minions, including at the quarterfinal of the All England. They take on familiar rivals Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong in their opener, followed possibly by Russians Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov.
A steady pair who had a series of strong results before the season was disrupted in March 2020. Lee/Wang made the semifinals of the All England following a runner-up finish at the Barcelona Spain Masters. The previous season they were semifinalists at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals.
Look Out For
Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov
Kim Gi Jung/Lee Yong Dae
Marcus Ellis/Chris Langridge
With three strong pairs, Korea have an edge in women’s doubles. Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan, the highest seeds in the absence of the Japanese, always play a physically intense style of badminton, and being well-rested, should be in their best condition. Kim So Yeong/Kong Hee Yong and Chang Ye Na/Kim Hye Rin are not far behind either, and both pairs were on song in the early part of the 2020 season.
Look Out For
Maiken Fruergaard/Sara Thygesen
Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai
Rachel Honderich/Kristen Tsai
A lot hinges on Jordan, of course, who’s possibly the most unpredictable player in mixed doubles. The Indonesian can be quite erratic at times, but when he gets his game together the pair ascend to a different level. This was seen in October 2019, when the Indonesians won back-to-back titles in Denmark and France. At the All England in March 2020 too they blitzed the opposition, driven by the power and placement of Jordan’s smashes.
The World Championships 2019 silver medallists have become a more solid pair in recent times, and this has reflected in their results. Their last international outing was at the All England, where they became only the second Thai pair to reach the final. The top seeds might have a tricky second round, where they are due to face Malaysians Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Lai Jemie.
The England duo made the most of their opportunities in 2020, winning the Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters, and making the last four at the All England and the Denmark Open. However, they are in a difficult quarter, likely to face Mathias Christiansen/Alexandra BØje in the second round and Jordan/Oktavianti in the quarterfinals.
Look Out For
Robin Tabeling/Selena Piek
Mathias Christiansen/Alexandra Boje
Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue
Mark Lamsfuss/Isabel Herttrich