Doubles Preview: Indonesia, Korea Hold the Aces

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.

Leo Rolly Carnando (right) and Daniel Marthin – Indonesia’s big hopes.

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:

Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen

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.

Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik

Aaron Chia (right) and Soh Wooi Yik.

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.

Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin

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

Women’s Doubles

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.

Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu, winners of two events last season – the Indonesia Masters and the Barcelona Spain Masters – will be joint favourites with the Koreans.

Look Out For

Maiken Fruergaard/Sara Thygesen

Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai

Rachel Honderich/Kristen Tsai

Mixed Doubles

Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti

Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti.

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.

Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai

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.

Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith

England’s Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith.

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

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