The BWF World Tour rolls into Fuzhou next week for the first of a couple of trips to China over the next month, culminating in the Finals in December. After this, the focus turns towards 2020, and the All England in March, which is the last major tournament ahead of the Olympics – making it even more integral to the world’s best.
Not So Long In The Tooth
Chen Long has spent the last month proving that he’s far from finished.
Reaching the final in Odense was a great start, but his fabulous victory in Paris last week secured his first title for 12 months and showed he’s still got a lot still to give. At just 31, don’t bet against him going deep into the tournament in Birmingham in 4 months’ time.
In Fuzhou, he faces compatriot, and fellow All England royalty, Lin Dan in the first round. Dan has been struggling of late, and it would seem unlikely he will see an upturn in fortunes in his home country. Our bet for the Men’s Singles is for Chen Long to reach another final – but King Kento, with some rest following his surprising early exit in France, to strike back and claim the title.
Young at heart
From one player potentially in the Autumn of their career, to a woman who is tearing up the ground right at the start of hers. An Se Young looks a complete player, and having added a trophy to the mix at the French Open, she is climbing the rankings fast.
It already feels like she is one they all want to avoid – her defeat of Carolina Marin last week was an exhibition – and she will be confident of going deep into the competition, even though she faces a potential second round against seventh seed He Bing Jiao. It’s crazy to think she hasn’t even appeared at the All England yet!
Talking of Marin – how about this for a first round clash? Tai Tzu Ying will be her opponent, in a match which should provide a blistering start to proceedings.
They just keep going, and it just feels impossible to see how they won’t at least reach another final in Fuzhou. Kevin Sukamuljo and Marcus Gideon have incredible support across the badminton world, and they have been delighting their fans with some stellar performances over the past few weeks, culminating in adding another Super 750 title to their already lengthy accomplishments in 2019.
Who else to look out for? Looking down the list, none of the other teams jump out – partly due to the Minions continued success. The Daddies can never be discounted, and a number of homegrown pairs, such as Li Jun Hui & Liu Yu Chen will be hoping for some success on Chinese soil.
But, as always seems the case, we come back to the Beatles of Badminton as likely victors.
Chris & Gabby Adcock defied expectations last week, reaching the Semi Finals of the French Open in stunning fashion. Their reward for this? A potential Second Round clash against the winners in Paris, and their conquerors, Praveen Jordan & Melati Oktavianti. The expectation will be that a Round Two exit is on the cards for the married pair – any further will be a bonus.
The path forward looks a bit kinder to Lauren Smith & Marcus Ellis, seeded eighth. They should progress to the Quarter Finals, where Dechapol Puavaranukroh & Sapsiree Taerattanachai could lie in wait.
Either way, it’s fantastic that we’re seeing English involvement in these competitions getting towards the end of the week – long may it continue!
How do you possibly go about picking a Women’s Doubles winner at the moment? Every tournament feels wide open; of the seven Super 750 & Super 1000 events in 2019, we have had 5 different winners (though Chen & Jia have accounted for three of them, including the All England).
And that’s without mentioning that World No.1 pair Matsumoto & Nagahara aren’t actually included in that bunch, and you begin to see how difficult it is to call.
It makes it unpredictable and exciting, which is thrilling for fans and pundits alike. Who is going to emerge victorious next week? I think Chen & Jia, on home turf, will be quietly confident.
MS: Kento Momota
WS: An Se Young
XD: Dechapol Puavaranukroh & Sapsiree Taerattanachai
WD: Chen Qing Chen & Jia Yi Fan
MD: Kevin Sukamuljo & Marcus Gideon
Surprise Package: Sai Praneeth B.
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